Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Hollywood Costumes Exhibition

To quote Huey, It's February already?!?!!

January was a wild whirlwind of final uni assignments and theatre trips amongst other things (trips to Paris come to mind)

The amongst other things also included a trip to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London to check out the Hollywood Costumes Exhibiton that was residing there from October to January, I would have loved to have seen it much sooner than i did but it proved very popular and booked out much quicker than I anticipated, thanks to having to fit so many other things in, I realised it was January or never and i knew i'd be cursing myself for ever if i missed it! I'd hoped originally to see it on the 10th of January but it sold out between me checking it and then deciding to book my train ticket first.. (I spent a lovely afternoon at the Maritime Museum while my bf was in meetings however!) so i booked for the 15th Jan and combined it with the evening showing of Cabaret (limited season at The Savoy Theatre).
Small tip however cold it is outside wearing full skiwear to museums is not a good idea!! I had several issues getting accross London thanks to an accident on the Underground and was already warm when I reached the V&A where they had the heating on full, fortunately despite my ticket stating that if you were late the museum had the right not to let you into the exhibiton, they were understanding, they did point out that 45 minutes was perhaps not enough time and offered to let me change my ticket but as i'd come solely to see Ginger's dress from 'Lady in the Dark' I was fine with the time available to me :)

The exhibition was spread out over three rooms, split into different sections, some themed, others not. My memory of what other costumes were in the exhibiton is limited, although I did stop to look at a few including a scene of 'Royalty' that included one of Katharine Hepburn's costumes from 'Mary of Scotland' (the movie that Ginger wanted to do), i also saw the dress Marilyn Monroe wore in 'The Seven Year Itch' in the scene where she stands above the subway grate, the blue checked dress Judy Garland wore in 'The Wizard of Oz', the outfit Kate Winslet wears at the beginning of Titanic and the outfit Leonardo Dicaprio was wearing, an outfit from The Artist worn by the female lead (I noticed this specially because they had a mini exhibition on 'The Silent Movie' all apart from The Artist were made in the 1920s), Barbra Streisand's gold dress from 'Hello Dolly' and several other dresses worn by actresses that I'm familiar with from the 1930s but can't remember the names of or the names of the movies.. I was able to buy a book for the exhibiton in the shop afterwards but the exhibition had a strict no photography or sketching rule.

The piece de resistance for me in the exhibiton was the red dress with the mink that Ginger wore in 'Lady in the Dark' according to the display at $35,000 it is the most expensive costume made in Hollywood History, according to everything I've found on google this still stands :)

For some odd reason and I can't work out why considering its a colour movie and all I only have b&w photos of Ginger in the dress, the movie poster however does show it in colour :)

N.B The shoes are reproductions of the original


  1. Great you got to see all that! I bet seeing the Lady In The Dark gown was awesome in person(no pun intended).

    I still find it amazing that it's considered the most expensive in Hollywood history even today!!

    KIG :D

  2. It was fabulous, it was set back slightly above various other gowns so it could be seen in all its glory!! I stood and stared (only way to describe it really lol) and admired it for about 10 minutes straight and then did my utmost best to encourage everyone else passing me to show similar admiration ;) with some people it worked!

    It cost $35,000 when it was made in 1944 which according to a website i found is approx $456,000 in today's prices :O
    From what i have found through searching google the next most expensive costume in Hollywood History is the gold dress that Barbra Streisand wore in 'Hello Dolly' which costs $8000 in 1969 or approx $50,000 in today's money.

    I guess they spend far too much money on special effects today to spend much money on costumes in comparison and the fur alone probably cost a lot of that $35,000!!

  3. ...totally...just...well, what else can ya say about this thing? It truly among Ginger's all-time most iconic costumes... her 'number' in this is just so great to me...I love it...honestly, I'm not that big a fan of LITD, film-wise, but... this one scene is worth watching the whole thing for...

    SO cool you have seen it, Kat! Hopefully it will be taken 'on tour' around the states sooner or later... and good work on passing by all that other stuff to get to the 'destination' costume... I would have probably just jumped ahead to it, and walked out looking at the other stuff...but then again, I'd want THIS to be last thing etched in my mind... that;s why it was hard to leave the BU exhibit...wasn't sure where to 'leave it', as it were...I.e. - couldn't find a 'stopping place'!! :-)

    Our Gingerologist tendencies are self-evident, I suppose... ain't it COOL?

    KIG, Kat!!!


    1. the exhibition tours a lot so hopefully it'll get to your neck of the woods at some point!! I didn't know until i reached the dress where it was going to be in the exhibit so i was really grateful it was in the final room, i very quickly browsed through the rest only stopping to look at outfits i recognised! and then the Lady in the Dark dress was in the last lot so i could just stand and stare at will, there was a lot of people in the exhibiton however!!

  4. Really awesome! I'd love to have a chance to look at that dress too. I'm glad you were able to work it all out so you made it in to the exhibit before it was too late.

    Congrats on finishing up with uni. I'm sure you are glad that is all dusted and you can move on to the next BIG thing... whatever that may be :)

  5. Wasn't that exhibition just awesome!
    I went before Christmas, on a whim, and had to queue for two hours to get in, but it was worth it!

    The only disappointment was the dress wasn't angled, or in front of a mirrored background, enabling you to see all of it, front and back - I don't think many people knew just how much mink there was. I was delighted to see it, though, and it was a lovely surprise as I had gone to see the 30's and 40's costumes belonging to Claudette Colbert,Carole Lombard and Katherine Hepburn, so the Lady in the Dark dress was a wonderful extra!

    It was such a shame there was the strict 'no photography' rule (although I appreciate why) as the was no postcard available of this dress, but hey, I've seen it, so I'm happy!

    1. Gee 2 hours :O!!!
      I got a tipoff from a fellow Ginger fan via facebook otherwise knowing my luck i would have missed it..

      I enjoyed the other costumes i saw although as I went to see Ginger's dress specifically and i didn't have a lot of time my viewing of the rest of the exhibiton was fairly sketchy..
      I did buy a copy of the Hollywood Costumes book and the V&A magazine Hollywood Issue, mainly because of the no photography and no postcards available, it did occur to me at the same time that Lady in the Dark doesn't seem to have had a dvd release either! (has the US had one anyone?)

    2. ...nope... would be nice...I believe Paramount is owned by Sony at this point, and I think they did bring SOME 'classics' out a few years back, but nothing lately...

      dang, I would think ALL of those costumes would be on a turntable, especially one like 'Jenny', with all its detail...