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The Dress Says Everything - Hollywood Costume Exhibition Favorites



Few days ago my friends and I head over to the Federation Square to check out the Hollywood Costume Exhibition (entry was 15.50 AUD for students!). It was fantastic! The only downside I could say was that it was a pretty small exhibition. I was expecting it to be a little bigger. However, I got caught up with analyzing the details, reading the designer's comments, appreciating their work and so forth that by the time I took a peek at my watch for about the second time, one hour flew by just like that. Costumes hitting from Breakfast at Tiffany's and the famous The Seven Year Itch worn by Marilyn Monroe to the first ever Superman outfit! 

The reason why I am dedicating this post specifically about this event is because I want to promote the great efforts that these costume designers gave. I read through their comments about what they had to go through making/designing the costumes and it was unbelievably amazing how some designers could endure the pressure and reach the expectation that was wanted by many. Some had extremely picky divas to work with where by they had to scrape the entire wardrobe due the actors (sometimes even directors) changing their mind or being just picky. Some fortunately had flexible and laid back actors to work with which made it much more easier for the designers. Which ever the case, I believe they all deserve to be heard and appreciated. Whether it is a high end cost budget costumes to low ones, in the end, they all aim to achieve one thing and that is to show the realization of authentic people in the story (film) - the dress says everything!

So here are some of my favorite costumes from the exhibition! P.S Nobody was allowed to take photos in the event so I stole some press photos off the internet! So the photos aren't mine ya! :)


SAMSON & DELILAH (1949)
Character: Delilah played by Hedy Lamarr
Costume Designer: Edith Head, Dorothy Jeakins, Eloise W. Jenssen, Gile Steele, Gwen Wakeling


This was the first dress I thought that was amazingly put together. I know the aren't much details on it but unlike most classic shows where there are mostly filled with beads and embroidery, this dress is actually actually made out of real peacock feathers (according to the description by the designers). I was so tempted to feel the feathers! Hedy Lamarr looks incredibly gorgeous sitting there and I feel she's giving me a real 101 lesson on how to tempt guys the correct way. Haha. In the beginning it felt a little Bollywood movie ish but then I realized how peacock feathers resembles unique beauty and character. Definitely kudos to the designers for assembling real feathers to make this wonderful dress come alive! 


ANGEL (1937)
Character: Maria 'Angel' Barker played by Marlene Dietrich
Costume Designer: Travis Banton


UGH. This dress just makes me want to create a time machine and travel back to those days where sparkly dresses and lace were a hit! I could just put this on any time and any day I can guarantee you, guys be fighting over me. :P I haven't watch the movie yet but I bet Maria's character was really made to look like she's a living and breathing angel! With that dress I believe even an ogre would look like an angel. Quoting from one of the movie's scene, one of Maria's partner said to her as they entered the opera,

"Everybody seems to be here tonight, everybody seems to be looking at us.... looking at you, rather".

I bet in Maria's big head she's screaming "Oh, shucks, STOP IT YOU!"

CLEOPATRA (1934)
Character: Cleopatra played by Elizabeth Taylor
Costume Designer: Travis Banton


So royal, simple, silky and so Cleopatra. The thing I love about the exhibition is that they show you the colors that classic movies weren't able to show you. I would never thought that dress would be in green, it could have be in white, or a any pastel color and heaven's know I wouldn't have guessed what the real color was. But after seeing it in front of me just makes me go "Wow girl, you work that dress and no wonder they remember you till now, you go girl!". Elizabeth Taylor's cheeky expressions make me wonder why they chose her to be Cleopatra! :P Cleo's a little sneaky woman, that's why. Heh. 

LADY IN THE DARK (1944)
Character: Liza Elliot played by Ginger Rogers
Costume Designer: Edith Head


This is like the red carpet version of the dress in Angel. The details might almost be similar but you can tell that this dress shows more shazamz. And unlike like the one in Angel, this dress is a little more showy and more vibrant. Hmmm, I bet you don't even need to watch much of the show and you can distinguish the difference in character by just looking at the dress, yes? :) Ginger Rogers gave me some of her sassyness just by looking her in that dress!

SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (1998)
Character: Viola De Lesseps played by Gwyneth Paltrow and Queen Elizabeth played by Judi Dench
Costume Designer: Sandy Powell




Amazingly beaded and laced up dresses. Both dresses here shows total contrast of details and though the style are similar, the colors and design shows their own strong character! Unbelievable! Gwyneth couldn't look more gorgeous and she looks absolutely glowing. 

ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE (2007)
Character: Queen Elizabeth I played by Cate Blanchett
Costume Designer: Alexander Byrne 


Red - I think it just shows a lot. Passion, fire, anger, love? Shows what a true fighter this woman shows! Loving how the velvet details creep all the way down starting from the top of the dress. Not much on other attachment details such as beading or jewels but the vibrant red definitely speaks for itself. No wonder she needs that fan, girl too hot need them feather fans to chill a little. 

ATONEMENT (2007)
Character: Cecilia Tallis played by Keira Knightley
Costume Designer: Jacqueline Durran

Simple and minimal. The photo above was how it was exactly displayed and seeing how it drape down like water makes her look like she was a waterfall of perfection. Keira pulled that dress off which had little laser cut details on the front and it works too well with the hair and make up! Slick and powerful. 


102 DALMATIONS (2000)
Character: Cruella De Vil played by Glenn Close
Costume Designer: Anthony Powell


I laughed so hard when I saw this but Cruella couldn't pull it off any better! Who would have thought that she would be all over the houndstooth before it was cool? This definitely brought back some memories of great childhood shows! I love just how much that this pattern has been going on strong recently and honestly, I think whenever I see this pattern now, it'll always be Cruella De Vil's office attire :P 


THE GREAT GATSBY (2013)
Character: Jordan Baker played by Elizabeth Debicki
Costume Designer: Catherine Martin
Elizabeth Debicki playing Jordan

Carey Mulligan playing Daisy


Okay, so they didn't really showed Jordan's dress up in the exhibition but they only showed Daisy's, Gatsby's and Nick's. Either way, I am actually in love with the WHOLE costume, hair, make up and the set ups from the whole movie. I was completely in love with it! I watched it recently and I couldn't get my eyes off from all the details on the costumes and I honestly have to say I was absolutely obsess with Jordan's dress! She looks incredibly stunning with her long slick body and she rocked the classic black so well! Even the music for the show was amazing and though the scenes was a little exaggerated, I loved it from top to bottom. :P This is the ultimate dress I'd love to be wearing at a fancy occasion! (give that God magically transforms me into Elizabeth Debicki)

Well! Those are the favs from the exhibition. Most of the movies I posted I actually have not watched them yet so I might start making a list! So, if you're around Melbourne go ahead and check it out! Especially if you want to see one of your fav actors' costumes up close and personal. Not forgetting, giving some acknowledgement to their designers who did so well!

I'm going to have my baby standing over a grate. What would I give her to wear that would be blow in the breeze and be fun and pretty?
 - Travilla (costume designer for Marilyn Monroe's famous dress in The Seven Year Itch.)


Cheers,
Emery



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EMERY JOY
Chocolates and sweet desserts are happy pills. Art watching is therapeutic. Musicals are fun to boogie to. Fashion gives superpowers.
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