The term "knock-off" gets a lot of play around the Academy Awards. It's usually, oh, what? About four hours after the show wraps that tales of a company that can make a dress just like the one XYZ star wore on the red carpet start popping up here and there? For a song?
But it is a term that we politely stow when it comes to the annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design, which opened at the Fashion Institute for Design & Merchandising on Feb. 14 and will run through April 28.
Because? Those clothes on the mannequins inside the FIDM gallery? Not knock-offs. They're the opposite of knock-offs, in fact. Thye're the actual outfits worn in the actual movies named on the poster hanging next to them. "The Artist" and "Anonymous" and "Hugo" and "Jane Eyre"? All there, this year, along with a caboodle of other works that have been nominated for various Oscars. Some twenty films will be represented via 100 or so costumes.
Bet you'll find one that'll make you swoon. Bet you'll find one you remember. (We always cite seeing Keira Knightley's green dress from "Atonement" as a favorite FIDM moment.)
"Jane Eyre" costumes by Michael O'Connor
And, as always, something from last year's Oscar winner makes an appearance. You remember the winner from last year, yes? It was "Alice in Wonderland." Cheers, Colleen Atwood.
Two things to note. One? This is free. We'll never get over that. But our astonishment does not signal our wish that the admission price be changed. Thank you, FIDM, and studios and companies loaning the clothes. And two? The exhibit is open Tuesday through Saturday only. Don't make us say "see it" ten times because we will. This is a must, period, hands down, done.