A must see in Los Angeles – Hollywood Costume Exhibit

Hollywood Costume

Costume Designers David Santillanes and Erin Seelert

Hollywood Costume Exhibit presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London 

American Hustle at the Hollywood Costume photo by Richard Harbaugh, AMPAS

“American Hustle” at the Hollywood Costume. Costume Designer Michael Wilkinson. Photo by Richard Harbaugh, AMPAS

I was spellbound when I visited Hollywood Costume a couple weeks ago. If you like the movies …old Hollywood and nouveau Hollywood, you will be swept away with the Hollywood Costume exhibit that runs until March 2, 2015. As we are fast approaching the Oscar’s week on the second week of February, I thought it would be appropriate to cover this groundbreaking multimedia exhibition that delves into the role of costume design as an integral tool of cinematic storytelling.

The exhibit showcases more than 145 of the world’s most iconic costumes from films such as “The Seven Year Itch“, “Mary Poppins“, “The Wizard of Oz” ” to “The Hunger Games“, “Moulin Rouge“, “Titanic” and more. Hollywood Costume is presented by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Hollywood Costume is curated by renowned costume designer and Academy Awards nominee Deborah Nadoolman Landis who I had the honor to meet.

To enter the exhibit you will have to enter from a plaza off Fairfax that is shared with LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). As I entered the exhibit, I noticed the grandiose Oscar statue.. I felt like I was really at the Academy Awards. A red carpet with ropes & stanchions and a giant Oscar statue. It was  just perfect for a photo-op. Entering inside the building it was like a theater experience….the ambiance is dark with curtains and surround sound speakers. It reminded me of the Hollywood golden days. I especially like the interactive descriptions on the screens.

Popbuff blogger Ruchel Freibrun at Hollywood Costume Exhibit

I was awestruck with the original ruby slippers worn by Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” and Marilyn’s Monroe’s billowy dress from “The Seven Year Itch”. A visitor and costume designer herself named Erin M. Seelert said, “I was extremely impressed with the Hollywood Costume Exhibit; the variety of costumes that were on display (as well as the condition of some of the vintage ones) was incredible. I felt that the lighting could have been a bit brighter so that the garment details were easier to see, but overall, the exhibit was very well put together.

The most intriguing element to me was the role of the Costume Designer.  The art of creating character through costume was a major focus. As costume designers, we draw on clothing as a means of storytelling, and the opportunity to glimpse into the minds of so many of the masters (past and present) was fascinating. I left LACMA utterly inspired and am planning to make another trip before the exhibit closes.”

I felt the same way as Erin. I too left Hollywood Costume Exhibit utterly inspired. This crowd-pleasing art form of movies will surely leave the audience astonished.

Defining Character – The Art Of The Costume Designer

Deborah Nadoolman Landis hosted Defining Character The Art of Costume Designer

Deborah Nadoolman Landis hosted Defining Character The Art of Costume Designer

So after visiting the impressive Hollywood Costume exhibit, I decided to kill two birds with one stone. I headed to panel discussion on “Defining Character: The Art of the Costume Designer” at LACMA’s Bing Theater. The discussion was about three of today’s top costume designers focusing on the integral role of costumes in film characterization. Oscar nominees costume designers Danny Glicker (Up in the Air and Milk) , Judianna Makovsky (Pleasantville, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Seabiscuit) and Michael Wilkinson (American Hustle) were among the panelist.

Deborah Nadoolman Landis, the curator of Hollywood Costume and  Oscar nominee hosted the event. Landis made the introduction and said, “The words costume and  character are completely interchangeable. We design from the inside out. Every single character is supposed to have a life before the movie begins. We just meet them at certain moment in their lives.” During the discussion, I was moved when Glicker mentioned, “The joy of being a costume designer is the amazing gift of being part of the collaboration of bringing an actor into the life of another person and having them experience the world of it.”

Oscar nominated costume designers Michael Wilkinson Judianna Makovsky and Danny Glicker

From left: Moderator, Deborah Nadoolman Landis, Michael Wilkinson, Judianna Makovsky, and Danny Glicker

The discussion was really interesting, not to mention I have not been really exposed to the world of costume design and this was all new to me. The theater was packed and you can tell that the audience were really drawn into it. What made it really click was the clippings they showed from the movies like “American Hustle“, “Dracula” and “Milk” and more where each of the panelist talked about the costumes of the characters in general.

The joy of being a costume designer is the amazing gift of being part of the collaboration of bringing an actor into the life of another person and having them experience the world of it. – Danny Glicker

After the discussion, Landis the editor of Hollywood Costume book had a book signing and I was lucky enough to have her sign my book and had a photo-op with her.

Special thanks to Morgan Kroll


The audience at Defining Character The Art of the Costume Designer

Attendees at Defining Character The Art of the Costume Designer

Oscar nominee Michael Wilkinson - American Hustle

Oscar nominee Michael Wilkinson – “American Hustle”

Oscar nominee Judianna Makovsky - Pleasantville and Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone

Oscar nominee Judianna Makovsky – “Pleasantville” and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

Oscar nominee Danny Glicker - Up in the Air and Milk

Oscar nominee Danny Glicker – “Up in the Air” and “Milk”


Hollywood Costume Exhibit Tickets

Hollywood Costume Book autographed by Deborah Nadoolman Landis

Ruchel Freibrun popbuff blogger


  1. Congratz, Fydz!!! really soooo Happy for you !!!!

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