2008 Review

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FIDM 2008 Review

16th Annual Exhibition - The Art of Motion Picture Costume Design at FIDM

An exhibit review, costume details and picture links

Our Exhibit Index

bulletInfo for 2008 Movie Costume Exhibit (on this page)
bulletList of 2008 movies represented
bulletReview of 2008's exhibit
bulletPictures of the exhibit from ExperienceLA
bulletExhibit basic information

2008 FIDM Movie Costume Exhibit Review

(For you hard core costumers, I'm going to hyperlink some of the films to more research on the costume... so click away for more research. A full list of the movie costumes on this exhibit, see the chart at the bottom.)

Once again the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising has setup a great exhibit to showcase movie costumes of the past year.  While there are fewer films represented than some years (21 plus last years scrumptious Oscar winner for Best Costume, Marie Antoinette)  they have staged over 100 costumes for us to admire from afar and examine in close detail.

FIDM's exhibit space is continuing to evolve.  This year they set the stage by greeting us with giant, glittering film reels, a sparkling screen showing previews of the showcased costume movies and a couple of mannequins dressed only in artistically spiraled jewels.  A tight turn and  we are treated to a hall exhibit of the posters of the represented movies.  One more turn and the sharp angles end.  The main costume area's curves smoothly leading from one room to the next creating a smooth viewing flow. 

The first room is devoted to historical flicks and has some of the most talked about movies costumes of the year, including two of this year's Oscar nominations for Best Costume.  Your eyes travel across luscious drapes of silk and wonderful tailoring. 

The eye is quickly drawn to "that" green gown from Atonement.  Glowing a magical custom dyed green, it's bodice is cut on the bias, minus a back, of course, and the shirt is cut on the straight, cascading into a wonderfully wide rippling train.  The bodice, while giving a flavor of the 1930's is decorated with pure 21st century styling - instead of beads around the bodice neck, the design is laser cut.  Worn at an iconic moment in the film, already Keira Knightley's green dress is being compared Audrey Hepburn's little black dress from "Breakfast at Tiffany's".  While this dress is already being seriously documented on line, it's still something to see in person.  Pictures do not do full server to show it's delicate nature.

Turn around and enter a much darker kind of costume magic - Sweeny Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. where "the costumes are another character in the movie".  They are all dark with a limited color palette, but bit of color jump out and set the mood.  While Sweeney's Butcher outfit is darkest of the 7 costumes representing the movie, it's texture brings it to center.  His thigh length black leather coat is finely striped, laser cut. His vest is course brown linen and the trouser (from the beginning of the firm) are dark brown denim with heavy mud spattering (tan paint).  Since Johnny Depp owns all his own costumes, and this outfit is being shown by special arrangement, this is a rare opportunity to see this costume in person.

Mrs. Lovette is represented by a couple of costumes -- the red and white stripped dream outfit and her opening bakery number.  The shear patterned black lace overlaying most of the gown, and the collar is heavily decorated with copper chips instead of beads.  Her bodice is decorated with bits of blood red net.

Contrasting the darkness,  is Joanna's aqua gown with the diamond cut outs on the bodice and sleeves.  Note, those areas and the skirt's scalloping edges are finished with 1/8 inch binding and just a bit of gathered lace.  It gives the silk dress a clean innocent, yet elegant look when compared to the rough earthly-ness of the rest of the costumes from the movie.

The centerpiece of the next room is last year's Oscar winner for Costume Design, Marie Antoinette.  Marie's gown was  white and silver with the large panniers, and Louie's matching suit.  Stunning.  As mentioned last year, the tailoring is perfect.

The rest of the movies in this room are fantasy.  The Harry Potter costumes reflect the darkness of this last year's movie - the Order of the Phoenix.  Lot's of black and grey texture and quilting for the Death Eaters, Lord Voldermort, and Sirius Black except for the crazy pink suit of Delores Umbridge.  It's a variegated pink knit with yarn fringe, pink velvet buttons, a kitten pin and other crazy little details including an odd length waist and 3/4 length sleeves with a wacky cuff.  Lucius Malfoy's robes are quilted silvery black wile the Death Eater robes are painted on a textured canvas fabric with a thick cord design.    There is lot of detail to study on all the outfits from this movie.

The much overlooked movie, Stardust, is represented by four costumes.  They are fun to stare at up close for all the wonderful detail.  The Princely brothers are represented by Primus.  (Each brother's number in line to the throne are repeated throughout their costume in roman numerals.  The fabric is custom woven; buttons are belts have been cast custom for each brother and his retinue.)  Tristan's hero outfit is there - from the fabulous white linen jacket to the protecting charm glass flower in his lapel.  His outfit also has great detail from the mini "Jack Sparrow" buckle on his sword belt to the elaborate fabric buttons with star embroidery.  The falling star herself is represented by her dark blue Victorian gown. Yvain's gown is shot taffeta and with the bodice having velvet accents and piped edging.  Lamia's dark green gown with the sari trim is also on display.  It is the version that has started to fray and sag as her power is expended in the chase for the fallen star.

There are only 3 outfits from Enchanted... but the whole area has been done up as a fun little cartoon from shinny red apple to magical cottage.  Prince Edward's plum prince outfit dominates - rich velvet, lots of gold embroidery on the panes, gold edging, beautiful cream and gold undersleeves.   Giselle wears a white gown from the middle of the movie.  The fabric is thickly decorated with glittering designs.  The vilan queen's outfit is fun.  wonderfully reptilian, iridescent fabric.  Stomacher and crown are chromed.   Much more texture and detail than we see on most Disney films.  Yummy fabric though out.

The Golden Compass is represented by 6 outfits.  Most are the winter outfits.  What "reads" as embroidery in the film, is elaborate painting, much of it is floral.  Our vilan, Mrs. Coulter, is decked out in her most elegant - golden silk bias cut dress with an over layer of small golden sequins.  This form fitting top ends at mid hip on a diagonal cut.

Elizabeth: the Golden Years, winner of this year's costume Oscar is the center point of the final room.  The 8 costumes are on a  semi-circle stage allowing you to get a look at the back of many of the dresses -- which have almost as much detail as the front since the standard closures have been removed from these dresses and hidden in the front. (No, that's not a hidden zipper, it's a hidden laceup.) There is a nice selection of characters from the movie, both English and the Spanish, including the little Infanta's costumed Elizabeth doll and the very textured Walter Raleigh's suit. Besides Elizabeth's dressing gown, corset and underpinnings, they have her wonderful gold gown which is fun to study for the placement of the beads using the lines of a fabric's brocade pattern but not being forced to only bead in a certain area.  The more sever purple gown of silk-moiré .  (For detailed pictures of these gowns and notes about the layered trims, etc, see our Arclight exhibit pics.)

Across from Elizabeth is the absolutely silly Blades of Glory costumers, Costume Designers Guild Winner for Contemporary Film.  The skating costumes, while almost practical for real skating are just slightly twisted.  They're a fun mix of sequins and metallic pink leather, powernet and tulle, appliquéd spandex and little odd bits that push the costumes over the top.... and would make then dangerous for real skating.

Displayed side by side are two pseudo-historic (er fantasy) films that rely on heavy computer enhancement.  The costumes from 300 have a fair amount of texture.  These are done by a combination of fabric and painting.  Most of the armor and extra bits of "leather" are actually cast latex.    This is most pronounced on the elaborate jewelry of the Persian King.  However, in the film it looks like he's decked out in heavy metals.  

In contrast, Beowulf has intricately detailed outfits.  Ursula's cream linen gown has a heavy overdress/open surcoat.  Its trim is thickly textured cord with sliver thread and turquoise beads interwoven.  The underdress is a light crinkled fabric that peaks out at neck while the sleeves are embroidered.  King Hrothgar's maille and leather armor is just as magnificently detailed. For the film, all the costumes were build and then scanned while being worn by the actors.

There are many more costumes from 2007 films to enjoy.  Check out  a full list just below.  ExperienceLA.com has a selection of pictures from the exhibit.  Remember, the exhibit is free and open through April 12, 2008. (Full details here)

2008's Exhibition Showcase:

Movies Exhibited  Designers List of Costumes * Awards
Marie Antoinette Milena Canonero Marie Antoinette- white/silver gown with large 'toaster' pannier, Louis XVI- complimentary white/gray/silver coat, wasitcoat and breeches Oscar Winner 2007


Michael Wilkinson Persian Emissary; Immortal; Xerxes; Leonidas Costume Designers Guild nominee, Fantasy Film
3:10 to Yuma Arianne Phillips Emily Nelson - Brown stripes & red knit petticoat; Ben Wade - black velvet jacket, leather riding trousers; Grayson Butterfield - Grey suit; Alice Evens - green-grey calico gown, quilted petticoat; Charlie Prince - white leather jacket, suede trousers; Dan Evans - distressed canvas cotton  
Across the Universe Albery Wolsky Clown band; Blue Meanie; Hendersons Oscar Nomination in Costume Design


Jacqueline Duran Briony Tallis- Nurse outfit; Cecilia Tallis- green gown; 'fountain' skirt, top and camisole; nurse outfit; Robbie- work outfit and soldier's uniform Oscan Nomination in Costume Design
Beowulf Gabriella Pescucci Aescher- purple robes; Black Warrior; Ursula- cream linen dress; King Hrothgar- chain mail/brown leather outfit  

Blades of Glory

Julie Weiss Jimmy MacElroy- peacock suit; Chazz Michael Michaels- flame suit; Fairchild Van Waldenberg- pink tuttu; Sranz Van Waldenberg- pink pirate suit; Mascot Costume Designers Guild Winner, Contemporary Film
Eklavya: The Royal Guard Raghavendra Rathore Eklavya; Rajjo; Princess Nandini; King Jaywardha; Jyotiwardhan  

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Alexandra Byrne Mary Stuart- red chiffon dress with black robe (I do not believe that this is the same configuration as it was in the movie); Phillip II, the Infanta (check out her doll!); Walter Raleigh- 'pirate lord' outfit; Elizabeth Throckmorton- light blue gown; Elizabeth I- stays and dressing attire;  purple gown; gold gown Oscar Winner in Costume Design & Costume Designers Guild nominee, Period Film
(ACS exhibit pics)


Mona May Prince Edward- plum price outfit; Giselle- white gown, but not the wedding dress; Narissa- rainbow alligator dress Costume Designers Guild nominee, Fantasy Film

The Golden Compass

Ruth Myers Ma Costa; Serafina Pekkala, Lyra- Winter outfit; Lord Asriel- winter expedition; Marisa Coulter- gold beaded gown; Lee Scoresby Costume Designers Guild winner, Fantasy Film


Rita Ryack Penny Pingleton- light blue 'curtain' dress; Tracy Turnbland- red/blue plaid skirt with white top; Girl Singer- orange dupioni dress; Amber Von Tussle- black/white plaid dress; Velma Von Tussle- pink/white gingham dress  

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Jany Temime Sirius Black; Nymphadora; Delores Umbridge- pink fuzzy jacket adn skirt; Death Eater; Lord Voldemort; Lucius Malfoy- Death Eater Costume Designers Guild nominee, Fantasy Film

La Vie En Rose

Marit Allen Edith Piaf- black dress with lace sleeves, turquoise dress with a 'V' seam on the chest; black dress with a sweetheart neckline Oscar Nomination in Costume Design & Makeup  & Costume Designers Guild nominee, Period Film

Love in the Time of Cholera

Marit Allen Juvenal Urbino- cream jacket, plaid pants; Florentine Arizo- black silk suit  

Lust, Caution

Lai Pan Chih-Ying Chu- light blue/tan/cream striped Mandarin dress; Wang Chia Chi- Navy overcoat with blue dress; green plaid overcoat with blue dress; Lee; Mr. Yee (ACS exhibit pics)

Nancy Drew

Jeffrey Kurland Nancy- detective outfit; Mod dress; modern outfit  


Ha Nguyen Bobby Lee Swagger- civilian outfit; desert ghillie suit  


Carlo Poggioli Herve Joncour- brown suit; Helene Joncour- purple/white/pink striped dress; blue embroidered robe with a cream colored nightgown  


Sammy Sheldon Primus- purple robes; Tristan- cream linen jacket, black pants (The 'makeover' outfit. Be sure to check out the mini-Jack Sparrow belt buckle); Yvain- dark blue gown; Lamia- dark green dress with black/gold jaquard bodice  

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Colleen Atwood Judge Turpin; Pirelli; Sweeney Todd- striped leather jacket, barber's coat, brown linen vest, neck tie, linen shirt, dirty pants from beginning of movie (hard to give it a name since it seems like they threw everything up there); Joanna- light blue gown; dressing outfit; Mrs. Lovett- shabby 'original' outfit; red/white striped dress Oscar Nomination in Costume Design, Costume Designers Guild Winner, Period Film
Youth Without Youth Gloria Papura Veronica- SS uniform; cream robe with black swatstika lingerie (check out the embroidery); Dominic- cream colored outfit; black jacket with mink collar; Laura- early 1900s dress  

* Thanks to Lisa for the detailed list of costumes in each exhibit.

Basic FIDM Museum Information for 2008

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/ 
bulletJanuary 28 through April 12, 2008
bullet10:00a.m. - 5:00p.m
bulletOpen President's Weekend, closed Easter weekend
bulletAdmission is Free! 
bulletParking is under the building.
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.)
bulletNow-a-days this lot is full.  There is some on the street parking, but be very careful of the posted sign for all the restrictions.  There are lots across the street from FIDM.

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 for our favorite parking spot.
bulletMore info from Alley Cat Scratch on the LA Garment District

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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