New exhibit at art museum covers all eras

When watching a movie, one doesn’t always particularly pay close attention to every costume, but each one is truly a vital part to each character of the film. The costume is what gives that initial impression that the director wants the audience to have.

The Phoenix Art Museum features costumes from iconic films such as "The Wizard of Oz," "My Fair Lady," "Superman," "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" and "The Dark Knight Rises" with their "Hollywood Costume" exhibit.

“It’s a must-see,” Joanna Kale, a museum-goer said. "They cover a lot of eras, and it’s something where you get a little bit of history, a little bit of fashion, and a little bit of fun.”



Throughout the exhibit, there are multiple fun facts about each costume, some of which explain the reasoning behind the production of the costume. At multiple stations of the exhibit, there are elongated TV screens that show the actors and the designers speaking about the importance of the costume.

The Phoenix Art Museum is the only west coast venue that has "Hollywood Costume" and is one of four locations to showcase the exhibit. The others include London, Melbourne and Richmond.

“I really like how they have the costume designer and the director giving commentary about each of the films so you can see the actor’s point of view as well as the director’s point of view, and then you see how the costume designer melded those together,” Kale said.

Christina Widener, a gallery attendant at the Phoenix Art Museum, said, “I love seeing what the actors had to say about the costumes.”

"Hollywood Costume" includes a variety of costumes – from character Jason Bourne’s casual outfit to character Rose DeWitt Bukater’s glamorous dress in "Titanic."

Many of the costumes have a small TV screen where the head would normally be, showing a very realistic looking image of the character’s face. Widener said the exhibit was actually created in a short amount of time.

“From January until opening on March 26, it went pretty quick,” Widener said.

On the Phoenix Art Museum website, Fashion Design Curator Dennita Sewell said, “'Hollywood Costume' deconstructs the role of the costume designer in the collaboration and the creative team of the movie making experience. It really highlights their contribution to the development of the character.”

At the end of the walk through exhibit, Marilyn Monroe’s iconic white halter dress from "Seven Year Itch" is on display, ending the tour with a bang.

Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 6 to 17 and free for ages under 6 years old. Purchasing a "Hollywood Costume" ticket also gets you into the rest of the museum for no further charge. As tempting as it may be, photos are not allowed at the exhibit.

The exhibit will be display until July 6, 2014.

Reach the reporter at or follow her on Twitter @danikernkamp

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