Video: Hollywood Costume
Deborah L. Scott: All of us get up everyday and decided which shoes to wear. You know if we need a new blouse, we go: where are we gonna go buy that, why we need it or what it means to us or if we have an article of clothing that was passed down through a family member or just something that is sentimental that you wore at a particular time. All these things you put on to establish your persona to the world, its exactly what we do as designers.I think the costume designer’s main rule in a movie is to express the visuals that are needed to bring a particular person in a particular place, in a particular place alive. As a designer you often have the choice to design in all sorts of genres and I have been particularly lucky to be able to do, you know: period, contemporary and a certain amount of fantasy and science fiction. It’s amazing that the process, no matter how different the results are, the process is absolutely similar from film to film. What we are doing is still designing something to create a person who lives in a particular place and time. If that is two thousand years in the future or one hundred years in the past. Director of a film is the most important person to the costume designer and I think to anyone on a film. On Titanic, Jim (James) Cameron, one of the things he was concerned about from the beginning was Kate Winslet’s dress for the drowning looked good under water, because she was as she was to spend so much time in it. We did a lot of tests in it with different kinds of fabrics, because the visual of that was part of the cinematic storytelling.Shay Cunliffe: The costume designer is responsible for what every single person wears in a film. For an actor, finding their look is part of finding their character. One of the interesting challenge about costuming a character like Bourne is that by his very nature he is supposed to disappear, he is supposed to be a master of blending. Yet I want him to stand out so the audience can find him in a crowded scene. I had about twenty different styles of jacket and I knew I wanted something anonymous, everyman, utilitarian could go through different seasons, different countries you wouldn’t really give it the time of day. I tried it on with Matt (Damon) I brought about twenty different styles of things and also a muslin for a jacket because I was sure we would make it, we wanted about thirty of them. As it turned out in that it was the muslin that, after discussing the other jackets styles, we went for the muslin and that finding the exact right point that he wanted his hands to be going into extremely deep pockets that could hid things. Details in fact that doesn’t really show on the film, but to the actor are relevant.Prof Deborah Nadoolman Landis: The Hollywood Costume exhibition came about from years of being a practitioner working in the movies. I have been working on the exhibition for five years. Doing it at the V&A, having Hollywood costume at the V&A just feels absolutely right. I could now imagine it anywhere else. Every single studio in Hollywood has contributed something to this show, so it is remarkable in that respect. I tried to… show the best work of what was available in each genre. So it wasn’t for me never ever ever ever about the clothes it was really about the films that mean so much to people.Keith Lodwick: When I first met Deborah Landis in 2008, she was so incredibly passionate about this project and pulling this project together. That is when we began work in early 2008. Where we looked at where objects might be held, where were they. There’s a really stunning dress and cape worn by Heidi Lamare in the 1949 production of Samson and Delilah designed by Edith Head and the dress itself was owned by Debbie Reynolds in a private collection. It was sold in June 2010 and bought by Paramount Pictures, ironically who had made it in the first place. We were then able to borrow the cape, which was covered in two thousand peacock feathers from the Cecil B Demille Foundation. So the first time since the film we will be reuniting the dress and the cape to make one complete object. The whole exhibition has been filled with these treasure hunt stories of how we have brought it all together. Many of our costumes and pieces and objects are scattered quite literally around the world they are in museums, costume houses, they are with individual private collectors who were really beholding to. People such as Larry Mcqueen who has been collecting film costumes for over thirty years, have just been absolutely essential to making up this exhibition.Larry Mcqueen: I never thought that I would collect costumes, I was always interested in theatre and I was interested in film and in the early eighties all of these things were being sold in junkshops around Hollywood and I thought that’s kind of cool. So I started to collect. I was at the right place at the right time, before anybody cared what this stuff was.Prof Deborah Nadoolman Landis: Many people will come to this exhibition to see their favourite character, to see their favourite person. But I hope that they are going to leave with a much greater understanding of the costume designer’s contribution to the story telling.