2nd November Part 1 – Hollywood Costume Exhibition

I left myself no time on this trip. I wanted to see the Hollywood Costume Exhibition at the V&A but I had booked a ticket for 5pm and had to be at the BFI by 6.30. I just about managed but I did rush through and I also didn’t take any pictures. The exhibition was very dark and crowded so I don’t think I would have got many good shots. I mostly took the images I’m using from the V&A website.

I really  liked the section shown above. The three costumes on the far left are from Shakespeare in Love (1998), including the very elaborate dress worn by Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth. The two shots below really show the incredible detail. The red dress behind is from Mary of Scotland (1936) worn by Katharine Hepburn, next is the dress worn by Bette Davis in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) and the orange dress in the centre was worn by Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007). The light blue dress on the far right is from Marie Antoinette (2006) played by Kirsten Dunst. I have unfortunately forgotten what the others were from.

The exhibition was separated into three rooms, so when I got to last room room I almost gasped when I saw Katharine Hepburn’s dress from The Philadelphia Story (1940). I am a huge Katharine Hepburn fan and once watched Philadelphia Story four times in a week. The role was written for her and the dress was designed to reinforce the ‘goddess’ description that her character, Tracy Lord, carries. Two favourite quotes of mine that illustrate this are:

C. K. Dexter Haven: The moon is also a goddess, chaste and virginal.
Tracy Lord: Stop using those foul words.

Macaulay Connor: [drunk] You going my way miss?
Tracy Lord: [drunk] That’s “Miss Goddess” to you
Macaulay Connor: Okay, Miss Goddess To Me.

As usual, when at costume exhibitions, there were lots of comments of ‘oh, weren’t they tiny’ and ‘I’m sure he was taller in the film’. For the most part I agreed with this, though the most striking of these cases for me was the costume from Taxi Driver. That’s not to say that it was particularly small but Travis was such an imposing character that I wondered whether it was the film or the actor that made him seem so much bigger.

The second room had a section that was just for Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro with the different costumes worn by the actors side by side for comparison.

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