Friday, 9 November 2012

V&A Hollywood Costume

People who know us know that we love film. And no, just because we are girls does not mean we only like chick flicks and soppy love stories (although we have no qualms admitting our love for Clueless). We love film because we see it as an amalgamation of art forms—writing, photography, acting, music, post production editing and of course costumes. A good film can be entertaining, but to label it mere “entertainment” does not give the great films in history the credit they deserve. Film can be mind opening, leading us to explore worlds that are often very different from ours. Film can be heart wrenching, nail biting and fear inducing; it stirs in us emotions that we may never feel in our daily lives. We often revisit films that we love, whether we mention a memorable scene in conversation or we press play for the 10th time, an outstanding film becomes a legacy and becomes imprinted in our minds.

We were blown away yesterday when we visited Victoria & Albert Museum to see the new exhibition Hollywood Costume.

Movies are about people. They are at the emotional core of every film and it is their story that moves us. A film’s characters hold our attention and are of endless fascination to the audience. Hollywood Costume is about the costume designer’s role in bringing these people to life—from script to screen. (Foreword of the exhibition, taken from the V&A website)

We arrived at V&A at 4 pm, having pre booked our tickets, to find the exhibition jam packed with people, so if you plan to go, we recommend a) pre booking your tickets b) don’t book for any slot after 4 pm as the exhibition closes at 5:45 and you need at least an hour and a half in there to fully appreciate it and c) go on weekdays if you can; judging by the crowds yesterday, the weekends will be even busier.

It was a beautiful exhibition. We were stunned to see how many costumes were on display (around 100), how many we recognised and how mint they looked. The care they have taken to keep these costumes in the condition they are in is testament to their deemed value and importance. There were costumes from the silent era (Charlie Chaplin from the Circus), classics (Gone with the Wind, Hithcock’s Vertigo and Birds, Breakfast at Tiffanny’s), action/adventure (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Die Hard), Sci Fi (Darth Vader, Avatar, Terminator), superheros (Superman, Batman, Spiderman), modern favourites (Titanic, Black Swan, Borat, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Carribean). There are video interviews with directors such as Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton as well as a dedicated area to Robert Deniro and Meryl Streep. If you’re the kind of person who loves period costumes, the dazzling collection of gowns from films like Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love and Marie Antoniette will make your heart yearn. Seeing the costumes felt like seeing the characters in the flesh and we were genuinely star struck.  Sure, the computer monitor bearing the face of the actor/actress certainly helped us visualise, but the costumes really are an extension of the character and helps authenticate a character. For a film lover, this is an unmissable chance to mingle with all your favourite characters under the same roof.

Check out photos of the exhibition here:

The exhibition will remain in V&A until 27 January 2013. 

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