It's our favorite time of year - the opening of two brand new exhibitions! We are thrilled to share with you the very special 25th anniversary of our Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition, as well as Exotica: Fashion & Film Costume of the 1920s. Both exhibitions showcase phenomenal examples of design and creativity, and both provide a commentary on the mystical allure of Hollywood, onscreen and off.
Our Social Media team was at the Press Preview of the exhibition to interview costume designers featured in the exhibition about their design processes, research methods, and creative inspirations. Keep reading to hear what our designers had to say, and for a look inside our Opening Night party!
Gallery entrance celebrating our 25th Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition.
Calm before the storm...the glamorous setting for our Opening Night reception!
Academy Award nominee Mary Zophres in front of her costumes from La La Land.
Costume Designer Mary Zophres has two movies in the exhibition, La La Land and Hail Caesar!, both filmed in Los Angeles and centered on the entertainment industry. We asked about the role the City of Angels played in her design inspiration. Zophres pointed to "The architecture, the flowers and the fauna…we take for granted the kind of flowers that grow here, and the color that they are. The light which is very specific and very singular to LA. You can always tell if a film hasn’t been shot here!" Zophres mentioned that La La Land in particular "is sort of a combination of modern day Los Angeles and then a love for the past of Los Angeles. La La Land is truly a love letter to Los Angeles." Zophres' research for both films included hours and hours of studying classic Hollywood movies, a task she enjoyed immensely: "I watched almost every old MGM musical ever made...I was so excited about Hail Caesar! and La La Land – I grew up watching those kind of movies!"
FIDM Museum Director Barbara Bundy, Nocturnal Animals Costume Designer Arianne Phillips, and Fences Costume Designer Sharen Davis.
Arianne Phillips designed the contemporary clothing for Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals. We noticed the use of green in her designs (check out the green cowboy boots when you visit our galleries!), and Arianne told us that her color choices were purposeful. "Color is really important. Nocturnal Animals is really three intertwining stories...part of Tom’s direction to keep a fluid movement between these three stories was using color. Green ended up being a very strong color for me and red, which was used a lot in the production design.
"For me, I use color to create an accent tone or feeling in my work no matter what. I try to be thoughtful about how I use color and the balance of color. It was a wonderful opportunity to do that. The film, the design in itself is very abstracted and very minimalist. Color in the environment of gusty West Texas or contemporary Los Angeles really had the opportunity to be particularly poignant."
Sharen Davis was at the opening to chat about her costumes for Fences, the film based on the famous play by August Wilson. We asked Davis how she tackled her research, both in studying the actual time period of the late 1950s and past productions of the play. Davis shared, "This one is so factual you can actually go to the Hill where the story takes place in Pittsburgh 1957. There were many famous photographers from this time. This whole time period was documented, which is the first time ever in my life that it was so easy to find the history!
"So now finding all of it I threw it all away and came away with a new concept! To try and put a play into the format of a film, and try also to stay loyal to the play. To keep some of the silhouettes and some of the ideas from the play to not disturb that story was a delicate balance. I just had to make you believe that this was not a play, so I had to change some of the clothes- plays are bolder because they're on a stage, the audience is far away, so I had to bring in the look. Change some of the textures. But because everything plays against a brick wall I really tried to play up textures, lots of florals, lots of checks, lots of plaids. Even with lack of color, I kept the textures very busy."
Guests begin to arrive in our gorgeous tent...photo courtesy of mountain.and.cloud.
Veteran Costume Designer Julie Weiss with Captain Fantastic Costume Designer Courtney Hoffman.
Courtney Hoffman's costume designs were featured in our galleries for the second year in a row. She spoke with our Newsletter Editor Elizabeth Hinckley on her long history of supporting the exhibition:
"I am really excited and honored. I have been attending for at least 12 years...this exhibition is a really amazing way to celebrate our work. And whether someone is in costume design or not, you can learn a lot about film-making because you see the difference between what things look like in real life versus what they look like on screen. I am really excited to have my Captain Fantastic costumes displayed because we did so much hand sewing and detail work that was never visible on screen. I am happy that people will be able to see all the details in these costumes. This is my second time in this show. Last year it was with The Hateful Eight, now this year with Captain Fantastic, and perhaps next year, because now it is a goal."
Live by Night Costume Designer Jacqueline West.
Jacqueline West, sponsor of the FIDM Native American Youth Scholarship program, is back in the galleries - last year's exhibition displayed her Academy Award-nominated costumes from The Revenant. West, a lover of historical research and museums, delved into the period of the 1920s and 1930s for her work on Live by Night. She walked us through the sartorial journey Ben Affleck's character takes throughout the film: "Joe Couhglin navigates from being a not-too-successful bank robber and outlaw in Boston, where it was very cold, winter, dark, in a 1920s silhouette. Cut to, he goes to jail for three years, then moves to Ybor City Florida. He arrives in this East Coast tailored suit and navigates through the opening scenes in that. He gets very hot, so he starts wearing linens and rayons. His whole silhouette changes. His dark clothes and dark way of life he gives up for the lightness of Zoe Saldana’s character, who wears a lot of white. He starts wearing lighter colors as his life lightens. The [menswear 1930s] silhouettes change, which was perfect for me working with Ben, because he is a superhero and he has a superhero body – he’s got the best shoulders in the business and a narrow waist!"
Kubo and the Two Strings Costume Designer Deborah Cook with puppets from the film.
FIDM Museum Creative Director Peter Lam and Curator Kevin Jones.
We can't wait for you to see these exhibitions in person! Both shows will be open February 7 - April 22. For more information on visiting the FIDM Museum, please visit our website. Don't forgot to share your snaps with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtags #artofcostumedesign, #exoticafashion, and #fidmmuseum!