Guest Post: Hollywood Costume by Sheree Green-Molloy

When my gorgy friend Sheree offered to do a guest post on her visit to the Hollywood Costume exhibit in Australia I jumped at the chance and couldn’t wait to share it with you all!
 
 
 
 
Could this dress possibly be the holy grail of vintage-ism?  Going by the way seeing it in person (but for a glass panel* which was just as well), it literally took my breath away and made my knees go weak, I just might have to say yes.  Seeing this iconic dress (worn by Marilyn Monroe in the movie The Seven Year Itch (The Girl), 1955) truly was the highlight of the exhibition for me.  I stood mesmerised for a significant amount of time, pressed up against the glass (now you see why just as well) and just gazed, I could see Marilyn herself standing there before me, smiling, laughing, and I am sure she even winked.  She swished and swayed in that dress, gosh she was a beauty to behold.  I looked around me to see if she was being so playful with anyone else but no I do believe it was all for my benefit.
Yip, that is how powerful seeing a dress, yes just a dress, can be.  And this was the point of the absolutely wonderful and exciting Hollywood Costume exhibition.  A character is not just about the words or the way they move, it is also very much about what they wear.  The exhibition showcases a selection of costumes spanning cinematic history from silent movies to modern day.  The selection was vast and varied so I have highlighted just a few items that made my heart race just that bit quicker.
*This dress was the only one in the whole exhibition behind glass.
 
“There’s no place like home”.  Ruby shoes worn by Judy Garland (Dorothy), The Wizard of Oz, 1939.  Now these delish wee things really needed to be behind glass too because the temptation to reach out, quickly slip on and click the heels three times was…almost unbearable.  Luckily for the security guard, who would not have stood a chance against the awesome powerfulness of my magic ruby slippers, I restrained myself.
 
 
As if seeing one Marilyn Monroe dress was not enough to satisfy me for life, I was ecstatic to find a second one was on display.  This one Marilyn (Sugar “Kane” Kowalczyk) wore in Some Like it Hot, 1959.  This time Marilyn turned up the heat, she definitely winked at me, no doubt about it!
 

 

Oh the original LBD and that iconic silhouette, not that I really need to say but this was worn by the divine Audrey Hepburn (Holly Golightly) for the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s 1961.
 

 

What MM is to Hollywood glamour and pinup, Ginger Rogers is to dance and sassiness.  Ginger is my earliest memory (about 10yrs old) of falling in love with all that is to love about old school glamour and poise and what underpins what ‘vintage’ means to me today.
Ginger wore this stunning outfit playing the character Liza Elliot in the film Lady in the Dark 1944.
 

 I picked this costume as again, for me, it is such an iconic silhouette of classic Hollywood glamour, and daredevilish to boot (she kissed a girl and she like it).  Marlene Dietrich (Amy Jolly) wore this in the movie Morocco 1930.
 
Amidst all the sparkles and glittery rhinestones, a simple satin frock would be hard pressed to shine, but shine this beauty did.  Such a vibrant delicious green and the cascading fall and folds were intoxicating.  This dress was worn by Claudette Colbert in the film Cleopatra 1934.
Now last but by no means least, this stunning outfit was a marvel to behold.  Gleaming and shimmery while being perfectly still is a fantastic credential to have.  The hours and hours of work that must have gone into this beauty is mindboggling.  Worn by Carole Lombard (Irene Bullock) for the movie My Man Godfrey 1936.

I feel so lucky to have had the privilege to see Hollywood Costume here in Melbourne and I will never forget seeing such a brilliant array of stunning and memorable iconic Hollywood Costumes.  I purchased the souvenir programme as a worthy memento but this beautiful book is way more than just a reminder of the exhibition but rather an extensive and in-depth collation of costume design, history, costume designers profiles, the collection concept planning, costume preservation and restoration and so much more.

 

 

Note:  as photography was not allowed at Hollywood Costume I have sourced pictures from the internet.  The pictures of the book were taken by me.
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

   

 
 

 

 

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