Imagine Captain Jack Sparrow without his red bandana, dreadlocks and the signature tricorne hat? Or Indiana Jones without his tall-crowned, wide-brimmed fedora hat? It's really hard to, isn't it? On the other hand, an Ivory white dress from The Seven Year Itch made Marilyn Monroe a world-renowned icon. Clothes are our second skin and in films, costumes define a character. South Kensington's V&A Museum is currently celebrating some of the most glamorous gears that we've seen throughout the years.
Captain Jack Sparrow Walt Disney Studios Distribution
Clothes are never a frivolity, they always mean something," said James Laver, first Keeper of the V&A Theatre Collections and this exhibition aims to tell the story of these symbolic costumes and their designers. The exhibition has an impressive collection that spans the history of films.
The incredible haul covers everything from Charlie Chaplin's bowler hat and baggy trousers to the ruby slippers worn by Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz to the Bat Suit worn by Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises. Hollywood legends like Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro have also lent from their personal collection.
Despite its brilliant line up, the display is not just a voyeuristic exercise to gawp as V&A has judiciously tried to inject some depth to it. The exhibition consciously aims to teach how each costume has been envisaged and designed to define a character. A costume channelises a character and transforms them from a figment of imagination to a multi-dimensional person. As Academy Award-winning costume designer Ann Roth has said, "I don't dress movie stars, I dress actors who are playing characters."
Kill Bill Miramax Films
Whether it's Rose's elegant pin stripe suit from Titanic or the Bride's yellow body suit from Kill Bill, costumes have their own unique story. A good one ignites high street copies, change the way we dress and become part of our cultural iconography.
Walking through the display is a great way to re-kindle your cinematic romance and learn the story behind your favourite Hollywood costume.