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Oscar-worthy costumes dazzle at FIDM soiree [Updated]

February 9, 2010 | 12:00 pm

Young victoria picture
This was going to be a toughie.  How was I going to pick an outfit for an event where, no matter what I chose, the mannequins were going to outdo me?

FIDM was holding its glam party to celebrate the 18th annual “The Art of Motion Picture Costume Design,” opening Tuesday, Feb. 9. Competing with Sandy Powell’s creations for “The Young Victoria” or the classic-chic work of Kasia Walicka Maimone for “Amelia” -- impossible! I had been told that folks attending went all out.  Basically, I wasn’t getting away with jeans and a T-shirt at this weekend event. 

Wearing a 1940s cap, almost 100-year old Edwardian top, genie pants from All Saints and a pair of sequined periwinkle-blue Miu Miu heels (I know, I know -- but remember this was a celebration of costume), I headed downtown for the soiree.

The party was in full swing. Chandeliers glowing, music playing, bartenders conjuring up cocktails of every hue.  As I wandered around, I spotted a loose feather from a boa wafting in the air, men in suits cut Savile Row style, and folks adorned in color combinations so exotic, a peacock would have been a wallflower. The attendees were indeed dressed to the nines, and why shouldn’t they be? They included Monique Prudhomme, Academy Award nominee for “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”; Arianna Phillips, BAFTA nominee [Updated at 4:19 p.m: An earlier version of this post said Phillips was an Academy Award nominee] for “A Single Man”; Julie Weiss, Academy Award-nominated designer for “Frida”; Mona May, costume designer for “Clueless"; and Nick Verreos of “Project Runway” fame.

Finally, threading my way through the masses of tulle and beading, I entered the exhibit. Greeted by Michael O’Connor’s luscious display (he’s 2008’s Academy Award winner for costume design for “The Duchess”), I knew this was going to be surreal. As I moved through this labyrinth of spectacular craftsmanship, I couldn’t believe the detail.  And to be so close to clothing I’d seen on my favorite big screen characters -- my eyes must have looked like two buttons off a pea coat 

What was the favorite display of the night?  The consensus, gathered from judiciously overheard whispers, was that everyone was particularly smitten by Sandy Powell’s Academy Award-nominated designs for “The Young Victoria.” Confession: If there hadn’t been any guards present, your light-fingered correspondent would have been tempted to walk away with Colleen Atwood’s burgundy ensemble designed for Marion Cotillard to wear in “Public Enemies.”  It’s an outfit for which you’d pay any price in a vintage shop and would knock you off your tuffet if you saw it in a modern runway show.

But really, we all have our favorites, so the choice is yours.  And with more than 100 costumes from 20 films, it won’t be easy.

FIDM’s exhibit, “The Art Of Motion Picture Costume Design,” runs through April 17.  
Gallery Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday/Monday.
Admission: Free
Location:  The FIDM Museum & Galleries on the Park, first Level, 
FIDM/ Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, 919 S. Grand Ave.,
Los Angeles 90015 (corner of Grand Avenue and 9th Street)
Tours: One-hour tours available at select times, Monday-Friday, by appointment only. $20 per person for groups of 10 to 25 (a minimum of $200 for groups of fewer than 10).  To schedule tours, call: (213) 623-5821, Ext. 3367.
Information: (213) 623-5821, Ext. 2224

-- Julie Neigher

Photo: Costumes from “The Young Victoria.” Credit: John Sciulli / Berliner Studio / BEImages

RELATED:

FIDM's 'Art of Motion Picture Costume Design' knows that clothes play a big role

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Oscar's 2010 costume design nods include 'Coco,' 'Nine'

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