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SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN designed by Colleen Atwood. Photographs courtesy of the FIDM Museum & Galleries.

The Art of Motion Picture Costume Design

costume arts



Now in its twenty-first year, the annual “Art of Motion Picture Costume Design” exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) is one of L.A.’s awards season traditions. Timed to showcase the Academy Award nominees for Best Costume, it assembles more than one hundred costumes from twenty 2012 films, including two costumed by FIDM alumni. While a movie ticket at the nearby L.A. Live entertainment complex will set you back fourteen dollars, the exhibition is free to the public.

The importance of costume in creating character is demonstrated by three black suits on display. Though they are uniformly plain, even generic, there can be no doubt about who wore them. The lean, rumpled frock coat accessorized by a stovepipe hat could only belong to Abraham Lincoln (who was actually a few inches taller than Daniel Day-Lewis, named Best Actor for playing him). The suit with the paunchy silhouette and black undertaker’s tie is the signature look of Alfred Hitchcock, as played by Anthony Hopkins in Hitchcock. The sleek, suave tuxedo is James Bond’s—a classic, iconic style subtly updated by Tom Ford, working with Skyfall costumer Jany Temime, in a departure from Bond’s traditional Savile Row tailoring. The tux is actually dark navy—a more modern shade and one more flattering to Daniel Craig’s famous blue eyes.



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