Phoenix Art Museum Presents West Coast premiere of London's Hollywood Costume

Sep 26, 2013, 17:48 ET from Phoenix Art Museum

Victoria and Albert Museum exhibit features more than 75 iconic film costumes, March 26July 6, 2014

PHOENIX, Sept. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Phoenix Art Museum will present the Western U.S. premiere of Hollywood Costume, a major, multimedia exhibition featuring more than 75 costumes from a century of filmmaking, many of which have never been displayed outside the walls of secured studio archives and private collections. This ticketed exhibition, organized by London's Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), will open in Phoenix on March 26, 2014, on view through July 6.

"It is an honor for Phoenix Art Museum to present Hollywood Costume, which uniquely explores the pivotal role that costume plays in cinematic storytelling, the ways in which an actor's dress influences the character he or she becomes," said James K. Ballinger, the Museum's Sybil Harrington Director. "It is so much more than a collection of costumes. It is a collection of the sparks that ignite the stories we love."

The exhibition offers the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see an astonishing array of some of the most recognizable costumes from films that have profoundly shaped American culture in the last 100 years. It includes some of the most famous costumes in film history, such as Dorothy's blue-and-white gingham dress from The Wizard of Oz (Adrian), Indiana Jones' slouchy leather jacket from Raiders of the Lost Ark (Deborah Nadoolman Landis), and the infamous billowing white 'subway' dress of Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch (William Travilla). 

Alongside contemporary films such as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Jany Temime), Gladiator (Janty Yates), Titanic (Deborah L. Scott), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (John Bloomfield), and Dreamgirls (Sharen Davis), some of the most unexpected treasures of Hollywood Costume will be the opportunity for visitors to see ensembles that have been immortalized only in black-and-white films such as Hedy Lamarr's peacock-inspired dress in Samson and Delilah (Edith Head, 1949) in full color, forever changing the viewer's perspective of these memorable costumes.

"Many would find it surprising to learn that most costume designers were not even listed in film credits until the 1940s," explains Dennita Sewell, Curator of Fashion Design at Phoenix Art Museum. "Hollywood Costume truly examines, for the first time, the weight and importance of the costume designers' contributions to the development of a story, and the creation of a world unto itself." Beyond a display of rarely-seen costumes, the exhibition illuminates the designer's creative process from script to screen, and the collaborative dialogue between designer, director and actor, blending multimedia elements and integrating technology such as video interviews that examine the ways in which costume enriches character and story, resulting in a meaningful and memorable film experience. 

The exhibition will explore the role of costume in storytelling through a progression of three acts or themes, all of which include a historical journey beginning as early as the era of silent film and as recent as the world of motion-capture suits used in films such as Avatar.  It moves through more elaborate, glamorous confections such as Vanessa Redgrave's embellished ivory dress as Guinevere in Camelot (John Truscott), to the subtle, seemingly plain-clothes ensemble of Javier Bardem's turn as Anton in No Country for Old Men (Mary Zophres).

Phoenix Art Museum is only the second location in the United States to present Hollywood Costume, and is the first premiere of the show West of the Mississippi. It has been exhibited at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne (through August 18), and will appear at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond (November 9February 17). It is organized by the V&A in London, and was curated by renowned costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Coming to America), Sir Christopher Frayling (Professor Emeritus of Cultural History, Royal College of Art), and set and costume designer and V&A Assistant Curator, Keith Lodwick.  The exhibition has been designed by Casson Mann of London.

Hollywood Costume at Phoenix Art Museum
The Phoenix premiere is curated by Dennita Sewell (Curator of Fashion Design, Phoenix Art Museum), and has been made possible through the generous support of presenting sponsors Molina Fine Jewelers, Black, Starr & Frost, J.P. Morgan, and Chase. Additional support has been provided by APS and Joan Cremin. Hollywood Costume is on view March 26July 6, 2014. The exhibition will be on view Tuesday, Noon-5pm; Wednesday, Noon-8:30 pm; Thursday, Noon-5pm; Friday, 10am-8:30pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 10am5pm. This specially ticketed exhibition is offered at an admission price of $20 for adults and $10 for children aged 6-17, which includes general admission to the Museum. Children under 6 are admitted free. Advanced gift vouchers will be on-sale beginning November 1, 2013. Individual ticket sales will begin January 13, 2014. Large group reservations are available now.

About Phoenix Art Museum
Phoenix Art Museum has provided access to visual arts and educational programs in Arizona for more than 50 years and is the largest art museum in the Southwestern United States. Critically acclaimed national and international exhibitions are shown alongside the Museum's collection of more than 17,000 works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. Visitors also enjoy vibrant photography exhibitions through the Museum's landmark partnership with the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona. To learn more about Phoenix Art Museum, visit

SOURCE Phoenix Art Museum