Movie costumes? They're something we can all agree on. Whether we're admiring the manly duds from "The Dark Knight" or a gossamer, drop-waisted dress from "Changeling," clothes are a major part of the movie-going experience. The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising understands this -- after all, "fashion" is in the school's very name -- but, really, FIDM goes beyond mere understanding; every spring the institute hosts the annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibit (which fortunately falls right around Oscar time) to great acclaim.
Here's the catch: nothing. It's free to all, and open to apparel aficionados and cinema fans and anyone who loves a well-stitched hem and elegant fedora. And here's the sartorial line-up for this year, or at least a goodly chunk of it: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (in fact, several of the costumes from this period-y epic will be on display), "Milk" (stylish suits that are oh-so-'70s San Francisco), and "The Duchess" (humongous, flouncy-skirted gowns that project regalness). Plus "Doubt" and "Mamma Mia!" and lots more.
If you only saw a couple of films last year, you're likely to see examples from those movies at the exhibit; there are, after all, 125+ costumes from 25 films on display, so the spread is sensational. Among the most notable costumes is likely to be The Joker, worn by Heath Ledger, in "The Dark Knight."
We never miss this exhibit. The FIDM gallery is beautiful and the costumes? Linger-over-able. We often marvel at how tiny the waists are on some of them, the exqusite, down-to-the-buttonhole detailing and how short/tall we expected a certain actor to be (the names of the performers who donned the clothes are typically on a card nearby).
Make a Saturday morning of it, but just be sure to gussy yourself up a bit; we always feels a tad scruffy after seeing all the lovely things on display, and vow to try harder.
Wednesday, January 28-Sunday, March 29 (closed Monday and Tuesday)
FIDM, 919 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles