2006 Review

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FIDM 2006 Review

14th Annual Exhibition - The Art of Motion Picture Costume Design at FIDM

Once again we (those of us living in Los Angeles) get a chance to see costumes from some of the most amazing films of the year. This marks the 14th year that the costumes have been displayed by the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.  They are filling  the three rooms of their 10,000 square foot  Museum Galleries on the Park.

Monday, February 6 - Saturday, April 29, 2006
(Closed Easter weekend, April 14-16)

A Quick Review and Some Costume Details

FIDM's 14th annual exhibition of "the Art of Motion Pictures Costume Design" is a treat for the eyes as always.  The same basic layout as the Star Wars exhibit has been reused but most of the rooms have been given a makeover to present the best of the 2005 movie costumes.  This year, 24 movies are represented by over 100 costumes.  Anything from 3 to 10 items represent the movies.  For the 2nd year, props have been included in some of the displays.

As you go in the front door you see a few of the women's costumes from "The Aviator", last year's winner.  What catches your eye immediate though is the large display from one of this year's Academy nominations, "Memories of a Geisha".  The kimono are a rich riot of color and texture.  There are multicolored decedent brocades right next to fantastic embroidery.  One that resembles the sea trains for a couple of feet.  It's length is arranged undulating waves magnifying it's beauty. 

Around the corner, vaudeville and show girls dominate.  Another Oscar nominee,  "Mrs. Henderson Presents" and "The Producers" share a set.  Each have a mundane dress of their era, but most are the showgirl outfits, er, feathers, in some cases.  Henderson outfits are finely jeweled and beaded on flesh net.  The ostrich feather fans are large and  beautifully dyed in shades of blue and turquoise.  In contrast, "The Producer" has girls in cheesy large gold beads and pearl drops, perfectly matching to the over-broad strokes of it's story.

Directly opposite the dancing girls is a display from Peter Jackson's "King Kong".  This is one of my personal favorites for the year, so I spent more time with this display.  There are 5 outfits and a couple of props.  Carl Denham's rumpled island adventurer outfit is there with his hand cranked camera.  Jack Driscol is represented with the distressed and bloodied version of the remains of suit he wears from the beginning of the movie though the entire island romp.  Three outfits represent three very different sides of Ann Darrow.  The first is her New York dinner outfit, 3 shades of blue in crepe and knit.  The blouse has details not seen in the movie - delicate buttons down the front and decoratively stitching that might be pin tucks.  (It's great to get as close as a couple of feet to the costumes, but  you always want to get just a couple of inches away. )  From the ship, is the beautiful beaded gown from the sunset movie scene.  Small copper beads on neck form a delicate trim on the back as well as the  textured straps.  The gown is so well constructed it's almost impossible to find any of the seams.  In the final scenes, Ann is a beauty wearing a bias cut off-white dress.  The surprise is that her dress is a very fine vintage silk velvet.  The sparkly bits are silver hot-fix appliqués in sunburst patterns.

The 3rd room of the display is very dark.  This sets a nice mood for "Batman Begins" and probably protects the latex and plastic of these suits.  However, this is also the room that all the Star Wars costumes are in.  Hopefully, you saw the costumes at the big exhibit last year, because you will not be able to see anything here.  The display is lit by the red floor lights.  Details and colors are non-existent.  They end up looking more like a group of mannequins stuffed in a dark corner instead of part of the display.  Hopefully this will be adjusted as the exhibit runs its course.

On the edge of this room, getting a bit more light, are the wonderful costumes from "Serenity".  The whole crew is represented in a wide variety of texture, fabrics and colors.  There's no need to even read the tags to identify the crew since each is a unique personality.  The nice thing is the close up detail as well as the bigger strokes on pattern lines.

From there, the costumes move into fantasy.  "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" are represented with the children and Willy Wonka's outfits/  The corduroy of Willy's outfit is amazing.  The children are colorful.  A large group are costumes are present form "The Chronicles of Narnia". They were well tailored and the Winter Queen's dress fabric was interesting to see up close, but seemed standard medieval-fantasy.  Also, the choices from "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" did not have the depth of detail that some of the other HP films have had.  They have fun twists on mundane clothing, especially the formal dance outfits.  They are representative of the movie, but just not as "textured" as in the past years.  While in this room, don't forget to turn around and check the wall.  "The Corpse Bride" displays 8 of the stop-motion puppets from the movie.

The next room has modern films.  "Bewitched" dominates one wall.  Two of Endora's gowns are the highlight.  They are beautifully tailored and detailed with delicately beaded.  The only costume from Samantha is her green and black witch outfit, just as precisely tailored.  It is on a mannequin sitting on a broom and rises about the other costumes in the room.

Their largest display room has a number of period costumes.  "The New World" is marvelously laid out across one whole wall decorated as a forest background.  The Indian costumes are wonders of leather, shells and other natural items.  You can spend 5 minutes just studying the shell patterns worked onto the chief's cloak.  Pocahontas  is represented though numerous periods of her life.  One outfit is just a few scraps of leather and many, many stands of beads.  Her winter outfit is a complex combination of furs minimally constructed, yet warm and sexy at the same time.  Among the props that include even a shack, we see her "English" clothing as well - fine formal court clothing to a simple corset, chemise and skirt outfit that looks like it's been worn in the woods for 5 years.

The "Kingdom of Heaven" costumes were a nice surprise.  While not necessarily authentic fabrics, they were rich and fill with lots of interesting details... and very beautiful besides.

The final display room is small and dimmer, but there are fun science fiction costumes on both sides.  There are a number of surprising details to look at for both "Aeon Flux" and "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

At the final end is the theater setup.   There you get a chance to see the trailers and watch the costumes in motion on bodies.  Because the dark theater is at the end, they are not using that door as an exist this year, so reverse your path for a 2nd look at the outfits.

Accessibility notes:  There are no benches inside.  When viewing the exhibit, and you need to take a break, there are chairs in the theater, or you must exit to the benches in front of the building.  Because of the single directional setup from the previous exhibit... there is no short cut to the back.  And when you're done with the exhibit, you must wind you way back to the front to exit.  The advantage on this exhibit, you do not have to pay even the service fee to get back in because everything is free.

Parking has gotten tougher at FIDM on both the weekends and week days, be prepared to circle around a lot to wait for curb parking to clear.  Be careful of hours and tow restrictions.

Exhibit Details: 

bulletMonday February 6 - Saturday April 29, 2006
bulletClosed Easter weekend - April 14-16
bulletMonday - Saturday, 10:00am to 4:00 pm
bulletGroup docent tour may be arranged.
bulletWhere: Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) - Museum Galleries on the Park
             919 South Grand Ave - 1st Level
             Los Angeles, CA 90015
             213-624-1200 x2221
bulletGallery information and map:
bullet http://www.fidm.edu/resources/museum+galleries/index.html
bulletAdmission is Free! 
bulletParking under the building is $6,   Saturdays, $3.
bulletThe only way to get into the lot is on 9th street going east from the 110 freeway.  (Just passed Flower and Hope, on the right side.)

2006's Exhibition Showcase:

There are over 100 costumes from best movies of 2005.  These will represent 24 films, including Academy Award nominated films.  Here is their list...

2005 Movies


Aeon Flux Beatrix Aruna Pasztol  
The Aviator Sandy Powell Winner 2005
Batman Begins Lindy Hemming  
Bewitched Mary Zophres  
Brokeback Mountain Marit Allen  
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Gabriella Pescucci  Nominee
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe Isis Mussenden  
Cinderella Man Daniel Orlandi  
Corpse Bride Tim Burton / Carlos Grangel  
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Jany Termine  
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Sammy Sheldon  
King Kong Terry Ryan  
Kingdom of Heaven Janty Yates  
The Legend of Zorro Graciela Mazon  
Memoirs of a Geisha  *Winner* Colleen Atwood  Nominee
Monster In Law Kim Barrett  
Mr. and Mrs. Smith Michael Kaplan  
Mrs. Henderson Presents Sally Powell  Nominee
The New World Jacqueline West  
Pride and Prejudice Jacqueline Durran  Nominee
The Producers: The Movie Musical William Ivey Long  
Serenity Ruth E. Carter  
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith Trisha Biggar  
Walk the Line Arianne Phillps Nominee

bulletNote: the garment district is right near by.  After you see the costumes, go on over to Maple and 9th and hit the fabric shops while details are fresh in your memory.
bulletPark on Maple just north of 9th... go up the ramp.
bulletFind out more ACS LA garment district information

We're talking about the exhibit over on the F-Costume Discussion List.  Come join us!  Also check when we have group visits planned.

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This page last updated 11/21/09


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