VMFA's "Hollywood Costume" will delight film buffs and fashionistas!

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Exhibition is now on view through Feb. 17, 2014


by Janel St. John

It was as though my childhood collided with my present! I was totally overwhelmed by the iconic costumes in VMFA’s exhibition, Hollywood Costume. Organized by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Hollywood Costume makes its U.S. debut at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. A major coup for Richmond and VMFA, this is the exclusive East Coast venue and one of only four cities in the world, to host the show.

The journey through more than 100 costumes from the silent era to the social media era, includes my all time childhood favorite, The Wizard of Oz, and many others, including, Cleopatra, The Blues Brothers, Shakespeare in Love, Out of Africa, Titanic, Casino Royale, Dreamgirls, and my favorite Sci Fi, The Matrix.

The soundstages, vignettes, projected images, photo stills and videos produce an amazing multi-sensory experience that allows you to explore the collaboration between directors, actors and costume designers that gave life to some of the most unforgettable and beloved screen characters.

Hollywood Costume boasts something for everyone. Kids, of course. But historians, film buffs and fashionistas will revel in the behind-the scenes details of each costume, which are provided on an accompanying plaque. Quotes from the actors and designers tell an intimate story about the process of character creation in movie making. The entire presentation speaks to the enormous hand of Hollywood in creating much of our visual culture. See more images on Part 2.

Lindy Flemming designed the Batman costume above, made of latex, rubber, synthetic fibers, metal, synthetic velvet and PVC and worn by Christian Bale in Dark Knight Rises.


Images: (clockwise from top left) Superman ©Warner Bros/DC Comics. Dark Knight Rises, 2012 ©Warner Bros. Lady in the Dark, 1944 ©Paramount; Funny Girl, 1968. ©Columbia; All images from The Kobal Collection.


Barbara Streisand said of her 1968 film, "In Funny Girl, I played a character who was more like me than Fanny Brice. She was almost totally obsessed by work." Irene Sharaff designed her costume (below) made of silk chiffon, glass-and-paste-beads, sequins and cloth flowers.

Ginger Rodgers ensemble (left) for the 1944, Lady in the Dark. With a mink-covered skirt that is fully lined in sequins and beads, it has a $35,000 price tag and is billed as the “most expensive costume in Hollywood.”

Tickets for Hollywood Costume are $20. for adults and FREE for members. Purchase tickets and find out how to become a member, from this link to VMFA. The companion ehibition, “Made in Hollywood: Photographs from the John Kobal Foundation,” opens Nov. 23. It features more than 90 prints by 50 photographers working in Hollywood from 1920 to 1960.



The leading men - see what they wore in your favorite movies: Daniel Day-Lewis, Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt and many, many more. And of course, you know I wouldn't leave you without some amazing close ups...so...designers, this is for you! Click on the link below for more images and Hollywood Costume events.

More images from Hollywood Costume >>