Last week my mum and I went to the V&A museum to check out the Hollywood Costume exhibition. I was desperate to get a visit in the diary before the famous Ruby Slippers, on a short-term loan from the Smithsonian, went back home (there's no place like it...). This was apparently the first time that they’d been outside of the US so I didn’t expect to see them back here in the UK any time soon, and they were replaced the day after I visited with a replica pair. That was lucky!
So, why should you go and see this exhibition?
First, make a list of the most iconic dresses you can think of (wedding dresses excluded) - Yep, that white one, of course the slinky black one, the sparkly red one and don’t forget that one made of “curtains”.
Next, think about all the iconic characters from your favourite films – the intergalactic sociopath with the breathing problems, the guy with the whip and the hat, the “Spaniard”, the girl who “never let go” and the blond with the penchant for Samurai swords.
Then, add a smattering of superheroes, a few historical heroes, legends old and new, some literary characters come to life and you’re pretty much there.
I’m a big film lover, a massive fashion lover and a fan of pretty much everyone on the Hollywood A list, so walking in amongst the original costumes, standing within touching distance (but remembering NOT TO TOUCH, no matter how much the urge takes you, dammit) of the actual clothes worn by some of my favourite actors and actresses, in some of my favourite films was pretty mesmerising for me.
I don't want to spoil the exhibition for you by listing out the costumes, or telling you how they are displayed, so I suggest that if you like fashion, costumes and fancy dress, the film industry as a whole and the feeling of "behind the scenes" then get thee to the V&A before it closes!
Some details: Tickets must be purchased online (here) for a specific time slot but there is no limit on the time that you can spend inside (unless of course it's closing time!). The nature of the exhibition means that at certain points it can become very busy so expect to spend a while waiting your turn to see the costumes and read the information panels. I found this a bit frustrating, but it was worth the wait.