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From Queens to Superheroes, Film Costumes Find Hollywood Home

  • Reuters

Press preview of the "Hollywood Costume" exhibition which features costumes worn in films by Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, superheroes and others, Sept. 29, 2014, in Los Angeles.

Press preview of the "Hollywood Costume" exhibition which features costumes worn in films by Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, superheroes and others, Sept. 29, 2014, in Los Angeles.

Dorothy's famous ruby red slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” have found their way home again as one of the highlights in a new Hollywood exhibition that showcases iconic costumes in film.

The Hollywood Costume exhibit, opening Thursday in Los Angeles and curated by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and London's Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), will house more than 150 costumes spanning decades of cinema.

It has been expanded from a 2012 V&A exhibit in London, and includes 40 new costumes, including those worn by Oscar-winner Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club,” Jennifer Lawrence in “The Hunger Games” and Harrison Ford's “Indiana Jones.”

“This landmark exhibition reflects the Academy's mission of celebrating and preserving the past, honoring the present and shaping the future of world cinema,” said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the president of the Academy, the film organization that hosts the annual Oscars ceremony.

The exhibition at the Wilshire May Company Building, where the Academy's film museum will officially open in 2017, spans four rooms that follow the journey of a costume from sketch to final product.

From the glamorous, such as Marlene Dietrich's Persian-inspired embroidered gown from 1937's “Angel,” to the ordinary, such as Jesse Eisenberg's gray hoodie and flip flops from his role as Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network,” each outfit is accompanied by a breakdown of the character and outfit choices.

“This is not an exhibition about clothes, this is about the movies,” said exhibition curator Deborah Nadoolman Landis, the costume designer behind “The Blues Brothers,” “1941” and “The Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Landis said she hoped the exhibit would help people understand “what a costume designer contributes to every single production,” as well as how a costume can help audiences become invested in a movie character.

Highlights include a pair of the original ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in 1939's “The Wizard of Oz,” Marilyn Monroe's iconic white halter dress from 1955's “The Seven Year Itch,” Christopher Reeve's Superman suit and Cate Blanchett's regal golden gown from her role as Queen Elizabeth I in “Elizabeth.”

The exhibit spans all genres of film, from Darth Vader in “Star Wars” and Christian Bale's Batman suit, to Kate Winslet's “Titanic” dress, Amy Adams' cleavage-baring “American Hustle” gown and Robert Pattinson's Edward Cullen suit in “Twilight.”

Iconic costumes from the Golden Age of cinema to the present are on display at the press preview of the "Hollywood Costume" exhibition, Sept. 29, 2014, in Los Angeles.

Iconic costumes from the Golden Age of cinema to the present are on display at the press preview of the "Hollywood Costume" exhibition, Sept. 29, 2014, in Los Angeles.

In one room, long black tables and chairs have videos projected onto them, resembling a roundtable discussion with actors such as Tippi Hedren, directors including Alfred Hitchcock and Quentin Tarantino, and costume designers such as Oscar-winning Edith Head discussing key costumes.

Three-time Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep, a former student of costume design, has her own section housing many of her key film outfits and video projections of her discussing the choices made for her characters.

Tickets for the exhibition, which will run until March 2015 and will be accompanied by special events including panels with costume designers, are priced at $20.

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