As someone who enjoys period films, I knew I would like seeing the fancy gowns, costumes and wedding dresses from some of my favorite movies at the "Fashion in Film" exhibit. So earlier this week, I headed to Allentown Art Museum and took a guided tour.
I was interested to learn that the exhibit is on loan from U.K.-based Cosprop, one of the world's leading costumiers, and that it was created to show costume design as an art form. I also never realized the important role costumes played in creating a feeling of authenticity and setting the mood of a scene.
During my tour, the phrase I kept thinking of was "attention to detail" as I learned that most costumers produce more than one of each highly detailed gown for a film and that each one has to be identical to the other.
Most of the dresses on display were hand beaded, embroidered and stitched together from scratch, while others were vintage dresses that had details added to them for a particular movie.
Some of my favorite gowns on display were: - Nicole Kidman's in "Portrait of a Lady" (pictured above) - Kristin Scott Thomas' white silk evening gown with black velvet trim from "Gosford Park" - Queen Gertrude's scandalous white wedding gown from "Hamlet"
Another thing I learned during the tour is that costumes are rarely used once. They are often re-dyed, re-trimmed and altered to be used again. For instance, the coat and turban from "Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom" worn by the Little Maharaja character was re-used "The Secret Garden."
The exhibit runs through August 9, and I want to go back to spend more time actually reading all the placards for each piece. Will you go to see "Fashion in Film"?