Hollywood Costume The Opulent Must Have Christmas Book – Review

Hollywood Costume

There are only a handful of museum exhibitions that become events each year and the Hollywood Costume exhibition at the V&A certainly falls into this category. It is one of those unpredictable occurrences, when the public engages and embraces an exhibition, that transcends into a phenomenon. Like a hit film, there are plenty of good ones out there each year but not all are successful. The Hollywood Costume exhibition is the Oscar winner this year and it has people scrambling for tickets. These will soon sell out and like the Leonardo exhibition last year, at The National Gallery, it is bound to send queues around the block for unreserved tickets. Luckily for some, the exhibition leaves behind an epitaph in the form of a fantastic catalogue.

This landmark book allows the costume designer’s contribution to flourish as the storyteller behind 100 years of Hollywood production. Some of the best loved Hollywood Costumes are revealed, along with the designers who helped to create the characters, in this lavish book on the history of film costume.

The book, is edited by Deborah Nadoolman Landis who presents some of the best and most eclectic costumes from some of the most beloved films of the last century. It is a compilation of essays by a wide variety of leading scholars, archivists and private collectors, the book incorporates contributions by some of the key costume designers, actors and directors working in Hollywood today. Classic golden age of Hollywood costumes are juxtaposed beside contemporary designs. Expect to see Chaplin’s Tramp costume, lavish Ben Hur and Cleopatra garb, The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind ensembles, Marilyn Monroe’s Seven Year itch dress, Breakfast at Tiffany’s attire  and Starwars gear.

Deborah Nadoolman Landis is an Academy Award-nominated costume designer. She received her PhD from The Royal College of Art, London. Her costume credits include The Blues Brothers, Coming to America ( which she received an Oscar nomination) Raiders of the Lost Ark and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Professor Landis is the David C. Copley Chair and the Founding Director of the David C. Copley Center for Costume Design at UCLA, School of Theater, Film & Television. She knows her stuff and has produced a memorable opulent must have book for both the study of film and the perfect flick through for your Noguchi coffee table.

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