Can I just say I surprised myself today. I've never in my reasonably long life been more moved or excited upon entering an exhibition.
From the moment you walk in to the darkened rooms with the sweeping filmic soundtrack, you are whisked away into the world of cinematic magic. You are immediately hit with a cinema sized screen showing a montage of Hollywood masterpieces from the time it began until now. Matilda was mesmerised by this and was pretty reluctant to move away. You enter the exhibition through velvet curtains behind the screen, as if you're walking back stage, to be immediately confronted with Vivien Leigh's bottle green velvet dress from Gone With the Wind. Oh, the adrenaline rush went right through me!
Oh I was in seventh heaven from costumes worn in Mildred Pearce to A Room with a view to Shakespeare In Love to Star Wars to Spider Man to Some Like It Hot to Breakfast at Tiffany's to the piece de resistence; Dorothy's red sequined shoes from The Wizard of Oz which takes the last place in this wonderful exhibition. I literally squealed and tears filled my eyes when I first glimpsed these little ageing beauties. The Wizard of Oz played a great part in my childhood, so to have Dorothy's gingham dress and shoes within touching distance threw me into a nostalgic state.
The perfect homage to the often overlooked Costume designers, it is a poignant and beautifully thought out exhibition. Five years in the making and it shows. Informative, visually stunning and perfectly evocative of the world of make believe, you leave realising just how crucial the designer is when it comes to making a good movie or constructing the character.
You can hear snippets of directors and actors talking to the costume designers. You can read their notes. But most importantly you can clearly visualise and almost feel these characters with screens depicting the actor's faces above each costume. The 'superheros' as Matilda called them, hung strikingly from the walls and ceilings whilst footage surrounds you as you walk through reminding you of the origin of these costumes.
It is the exhibition to see in London this Winter, sadly Dorothy's shoes are only on loan and, will be going back to their home in the States on the 18th November. Tickets for this week are sold out online but if you're willing to queue you can still get in. Take a chance and go see this life changing exhibition.
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