FIDM's 24th Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition

By Brianne Gillen - February 9, 2016

Every year, the FIDM Museum presents its impressive showcase of the past year's most memorable moments in film costume design. This year's exhibition, which opens to the public on Tuesday, February 9, is another stunning example of the fine work the museum's curators. On display you’ll view a huge variety of costumes, ranging from lavish fantasy period pieces like Cinderella to the modern chic of Pitch Perfect 2. In addition, all five of this year's Academy Award nominees are included, as well as many of the Costume Designers Guild award honorees. Museum Director Barbara Bundy stated that when planning the exhibition, their goal is "to show the breadth of what went on in the movies the year before." She also mentioned that the process of bringing this wonderful display to the public is a tremendous undertaking: "The day that this opens we will start planning for next year." The museum's efforts certainly pay off, as each year the exhibition grows and is even better than the last.

24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages) 

Upon entering the gallery, visitors are immediately dazzled by Sandy Powell's Oscar-nominated costumes for Cinderella. The blue gown worn by Lily James as the title character is equally as stunning in person as it was on screen. FIDM Fashion Spokesperson Nick Verreos explained that nine versions of the blue gown were created, each one involving 270 yards of fabric. He said that "they added up the hems of all nine and it came out to three miles!"

 Cinderella - Costume Designer Sandy Powell - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Also on display are costumes worn by Cate Blanchett, Holliday Grainger, and Sophie McShera as Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters. Verreos shared some of Powell's inspiration in creating the look of the film, which technically takes place in the 1830s. Powell "wanted...to do it [as] if a 1940s Hollywood film would do 19th century." Blanchett's beautiful costumes in particular were inspired by the looks of screen legends Joan Crawford and Marlene Dietrich.

Cinderella - Costume Designer Sandy Powell - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Cinderella - Costume Designer Sandy Powell - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

 The gallery's first room also includes a range of other period pieces. Courtney Hoffman's gritty designs from The Hateful Eight stand alongside the wonderful textures of Jacqueline Durran's Macbeth costumes (Check out Tyranny of Style's Interview with costume designer Jacqueline Durran on her designs for Macbeth.)

Macbeth - Costume Designer Jacqueline Durran - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Mad Max: Fury Road - Costume Designer Jenny Beavan - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Beasts of No Nation - Costume Designer Jenny Eagan - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Far From the Madding Crowd - Costume Designer Janet Peterson- 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

The designs from Far from the Madding Crowd (by Janet Peterson) and Suffragette (by Jane Petrie) are strong, traditional, historical pieces. Kate Hawley infused her designs for Crimson Peak with fascinating and unexpected details. One standout is the belt worn by Mia Wasikowska's character - featuring a haunting pair of sculpted, folding hands in the center of the waist.

 Crimson Peak - Costume Designer Kate Hawley - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Crimson Peak - Costume Designer Kate Hawley - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Brianne Gillen)

The Hateful Eight - Costume Designer Courtney Hoffman - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

The Hateful Eight - Costume Designer Courtney Hoffman - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

 

For The Revenant, Oscar nominee Jacqueline West created multi-layered designs, including leathers, pelts, and closures made from animal claws. West graciously spoke with Tyranny of Style at the exhibition's opening about her fascinating design process for the film. She was thrilled to be able to work with director Alejandro Iñárritu, and said that designing for the film was "a real philosophical process for me." In working with Iñárritu, she revealed "it was my goal to give Alejandro the look for each of these characters that would create the emotionality that he was going for. All these costumes had to invoke for him the complexity of the character and invoke a certain kind of feeling from the audience." West also had to be on set for most of the filming, ready to adapt costumes, as the filmmakers only used natural light, which could change at a moment's notice.

The Revenant - Costume Designer Jacqueline West - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

 The Revenant - Costume Designer Jacqueline West - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

As visitors travel into the next section of the gallery, they will find a mix of fantasy, contemporary, and period pieces. One particular highlight, sure to draw crowds, is the display of Michael Kaplan's costumes from Star Wars: Ep. VII - The Force Awakens. The full range of Kaplan's work is represented, from the textured layers of Daisy Ridley's Rey costume to Gwendoline Christie's wonderfully gender-neutral armor as Captain Phasma.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Costume Designer Michael Kaplan - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Also on view is the Storm Trooper suit worn by John Boyega's character. Verreos shared that Kaplan's subtle updates to the classic uniform were inspired by the way Apple has "slowly through the years streamline[d] their [product] designs," in order to reflect that the Storm Troopers have also moved forward thirty years, but are still fundamentally the same. (Check out Tyranny of Style's interview with Kaplan about Star Wars: The Force Awakens here.)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Costume Designer Michael Kaplan - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Costume Designer Michael Kaplan - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Costume Designer Michael Kaplan - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Brianne Gillen)

 

A range of mid-20th century costume designs are represented in the exhibition - from the sophistication of Daniel Orlandi's designs for historical Hollywood in Trumbo to the simpler, day looks created by Odile Dicks-Mireaux in Brooklyn. The other half of double-nominee Sandy Powell's work this year, Carol (again starring Cate Blanchett), is another beautiful example of this time period, with each look distinctively capturing the essence of the characters.

Carol - Costume Designer Sandy Powell - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Trumbo - Costume Designer Daniel Orlandi - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Brooklyn - Costume Designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Bridge of Spies - Costume Designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

The Danish Girl - Costume Designer Paco Delgado - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

 

There are also wonderful examples of the year's contemporary costume design highlights to view. Salvador Perez's costumes from Pitch Perfect 2 incorporate excellent details unique to each character (those rhinestoned shoes!), while Kelli Jones brings to life iconic looks from the 1990s in Straight Outta Compton. It is also wonderful to see up-close the details of the tailored menswear from Kingsman: The Secret Service. (For more on Arianne Phillips' design process for the film and its corresponding line from Mr. Porter, click here.)

Pitch Perfect 2 - Costume Designer Salvador Perez Jr. - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Pitch Perfect 2 - Costume Designer Salvador Perez Jr. - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Straight Outta Compton - Costume Designer Kelli Jones - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

 Kingsman: The Secret Service - Costume Designer Arianne Phillips - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

As always, the FIDM Museum has created an extraordinary look back at the year in costume design for film, and a wonderful tribute to the hard work of these acclaimed costume designers. For those in the Los Angeles area, it is not to be missed. (And be sure to stop into the adjoining gallery for the museum's current fashion history exhibition, featuring a display of some stunning fans from the last few centuries.)

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation - Costume Designer Joanna Johnston - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Jem and The Holograms - Costume Designer Soyon An - 24th Annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition, FIDM Museum (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

 

The 24th Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition runs February 9 - April 30, 2016, Tuesday - Saturday, 10a.m.-5p.m. Admission is free. The museum is located on the campus of FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, 919 Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90015. For more information, please visit www.FIDMmuseum.org.