London’s Victoria & Albert Museum will host an exhibition on Hollywood Costume in Fall 2012, examining the design process and the integral role of clothing in bringing characters and stories to life. Spanning the past century, the exhibit will cover the most iconic characters in Hollywood film history from 1912 – 2012 with 100+ costumes, many of which have never before been publicly displayed. Three distinct sections will explore the scope of costume design and its impact both in communicating a moment in history and helping actors to ‘get into character.’ Deconstruction will focus on the role of historical research and thematic development; Dialogue will explore the “intimate creative collaboration of great filmmakers and their costume designers with four pairs of especially commissioned on-camera interviews,” including actors Robert de Niro and Meryl Streep, and the third and last section, appropriately titled Finale celebrates the famous actors and actresses that made an indelible mark on pop culture, with a series of iconic characters ranging from Bette Davis in The Virgin Queen to Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl.
In cinema as in life, it is worth noting the influence of the on-screen wardrobe in defining the sartorial legacies and public image of many performers’ off-screen style; Marlene Dietrich’s provocative embrace of men’s tailoring following her tuxedo-ed turn in the 1930 film Morocco comes to mind, as well as virtually any film with Marilyn Monroe– the racy, figure-flattering dresses worn by the bombshell only amplified her enduring sex appeal. Below, a series of roles to be featured in the exhibition. In the meantime, Stylesight subscribers interested in costume design in current film can check out our Screen Style reports; recent film subjects include Moonrise Kindgom & My Week With Marilyn.