Boca Raton Museum of Art
501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton, FL 33432
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May 1, 2016
Costumes from Cinema Premiere at the Boca Raton Museum of Art

Forty three pieces of extraordinary costume designs by London’s leading costumiers, Cosprop, will be featured in an exhibition at the Boca Raton Museum of Art from January 19 to April 17, 2011. The twelve-week long show will transport visitors to such places as opulent nineteenth-century Paris (The Phantom of the Opera) and twentieth-century colonial Shanghai (The White Countess).

Uma Thurman wore this lace dress as Charlotte Stant in The Golden Bowl (2000), Costume Design by John Bright

The costumes for the exhibition CUT! Costume and the Cinema focus on 1700 – 1900 era films, many of which will be on display at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. These award-winning costumes (BAFTA and Oscar among others) were created by designers John Bright, Jenny Beavan, Penny Rose, Michael O’Connor and more.

Lara Flynn Boyle wore this 21st century evening gown inspired by Christian Dior as First Lady in Land of the Blind (2006), Costume Design by Phoebe de Gaye

The exhibition will be laid out chronologically based on the time periods when the movies were set. Therefore, one could see an actor repeated in each subsequent 18th, 19th and 20th century’s costumes. For example, a Kate Winslet fan could find her costumes in the year 1800 as Marianne Dashwood in a simple cotton muslin dress for Sense and Sensibility and also the year 1903 as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies in a cream silk nightdress and robe inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement for Finding Neverland.

Period dramas are adored for both the intricacy of their costumes as well as for the sheer multiplicity of costumes seen on-screen. Indeed, costume designer John Bright explains the costumier’s dilemma, “With the Golden Bowl we provided the lace and sequined dresses for the principle artistes. For Uma (Thurman) 28 outfits; Anjelica Huston had 15 and Kate (Beckinsale) 20. Of those we had to make about 25 and at least 3 of the costumes were very time consuming.”

Often, a costumier will have to imagine creative solutions to production problems such as an extremely limited budget. The famed Ivory-Merchant films often worked with small budgets but still managed to produce sumptuous settings, clothes, and props to suspend the viewers’ belief and transport them to a bygone era.

About the Merchant-Ivory films, Bright says “… the budget on their films is low so we have to get the costumes from stock. On Howards End we made some of Emma’s (Thompson) costumes, but others we just dyed and re-sorted out clothes to bring them into the concept we’d worked out. In most instances, it is relying on the real clothes that exist and pushing them around rather than starting from scratch.”

Visitors will get to see Bright’s handiwork on platforms that will circumambulate the gallery with small catwalks jutting off to highlight especially large costumes, such as Lara Flynn Boyle’s turn-of-the-21st-century gown from Land of the Blind.

So the question is… will the cinematic illusion of time travel stand up personal scrutiny? Let’s chat about it!

Posted by: Kelli Bodle, Curatorial Assistant @ Tuesday, December 28, 2010 12:00:00 am 
The exibition is awesome. The red gown is a dream. The museum is a precious as a diamond for its role as an instrument of culture. Congrats
Posted by: Alessandra @ February 3, 2011 12:16:00 am

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