Neighborhood Travels

FIDM Museum & Galleries

The FIDM Museum & Galleries are located in downtown Los Angeles and are part of a private school, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.  The concept behind the creation of the museum was to provide the students with actual designer creations that they could view and study.

The museum features various exhibits and collections throughout the year but one of the highlight events for me is the “Art of Motion Picture Costume Design.”  This is the 24th such annual exhibit and , while I haven’t managed to attend them all, I do manage to visit as often as I can.  It’s always a treat. These are the actual costumes worn in the movies.  If nothing else it’s interesting to see how tall or short some actor really is!

I should preface this by saying I don’t sew and I certainly don’t design.  But I can appreciate the beauty of someone else’s work.  And these costumes are indeed gorgeous.   One of the first pieces to greet the visitor is this dress from Cinderella.Mannequins representing the Prince and Cinderella at the ball

The skirt was massive and I just wanted to touch it.  “How many underskirts are there?”  “What is each made of?”  “What does the fabric feel like?”  Questions such as these raced through my head.  Oh, the temptation!

There were many others costumes which were equally fine.  Many were from historic or period movies.  I read a sign saying that the designer must stay true to the style of the period but also attract the viewer of today.  Colors used in the movie costumes are chosen because they appeal to the tastes of today but would never have been used for actual dresses in the historic period.  We get a hint of an era, not the time itself. So in the photo below Igor is wearing orange. Is that historically accurate? I don’t know.  The designer for Victor Frankenstein was Jany Temime by the way.Display showing costumes from movie Victor Frankenstein

By way of contrast, the photo below shows costumes from the movie Carol.  These were created by Sandy Powell who also did the design work for Cinderella.  I marvel at the creativity.Display of several pieces in the center are costumes from movie Carol

The stories behind these designs are wonderful.  Some movies tried to use actual period garments.  Suffragette designer, Jane Petrie,  gathered as many authentic pieces as she could for the film.  The medal seen below was made by a British company that actually made the original suffragette medals used about 100 years ago.Two mannequins wearing costumes from Suffragette

By far the big reason behind my visit was to check out the Star Wars: The Force Awakens costumes.  They had a prominent place near the beginning of the gallery.  This was the only set to have red light, which of course made shooting even more challenging.  Still this image will give you an idea of what was on display.  Do you think there are thematic ties in the similarities between Kylo Ren and Rey’s costumes?Star Wars costumes from The Force Awakens

The Motion Picture exhibit continues through April 30th of this year.  If you have a chance to visit, admission is free.  Parking is in the structure beneath the school. 

Elizabeth Boatman

Traveler, explorer, memory maker and someone who's just downright curious about stuff. It's all about finding joy.

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