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Oscar costumes on display at new exhibit

February 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The annual exhibit that pays tribute to the art of costume design in the movies opens to the public Tuesday. Only in Hollywood can you see the actual costumes the actors wore from the dazzle of "Nine" to the drama of "Young Victoria."It's hard to keep up with the costume changes in the film "Nine." It is much easier to see why Colleen Atwood was nominated for an Oscar in costume design, when you see her work in person.

For the 18th year, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising is opening the Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition.

Free to the public, fans can see more than 100 costumes from 20 movies, including most of the Oscar nominees for costume design.

Costumes in "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" got Monique Prudhomme a nomination.

"I am very honored," said Prudhomme. "It is strange because we always see the costume in action when we do costumes for films. It is a different point of view to see them static."

Sandy Powell is nominated for the lush costumes of "The Young Victoria." For detail and authenticity, she got to go to Kensington Palace, and see Queen Victoria's clothes in the archives. She then created them for the film.

Because the costumes cannot be altered, the mannequins are pretty much the size of the actors or actresses -- which shows us why very few of us could ever try on Emily Blunt's costume.

Janet Patterson is nominated for "Bright Star" and only in person can you see the tiny pleating and the fine work on an exquisite hat.

But the best costumes in "Coco Before Chanel" are not at the exhibit to honor the fifth nominee because the best costumes were from the Chanel vaults.

"Unfortunately, we could not get them out of France," said FIDM costume historian Kevin Jones.

And while the fantasy of the "Wild Things" costumes are truly larger than life, and the retro sci-fi wardrobe of the "Watchmen" is at the exhibition to appreciate, there were no costumes from James Cameron's computer generated "Avatar."

So for now while it truly is still an art, involving needle and thread, FIDM will continue to exhibit the costumes of the year.

The show begins with a nod to last year's costume Oscar, and they have already started working on next year's show.

The exhibit is open to the public from February 9 - April 17. Operating hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday thru Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday. The gallery is located at 919 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, 90015.

Tours are available by appointment only.


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