22 January 2018

Something else entirely

One can’t live by music alone, but this is just another arty thing. We went off to the Bendigo Art Gallery to catch a visiting exhibit on costume designer Edith head. I’d never heard of her before, but she’s considered the most significant costume designer in film history (with 8 Academy Awards to her name). The display was more than 70 suits and day dresses and gowns and the rest, mostly form women but just a few jackets for men, along with a few film clips of the costumes in film (amusing) and films and sketches. It was no surprise that the attendees were 95% women, but I enjoyed it immensely, not least thinking of a tailoring-lineage. First up was a beautiful white suit worn and well known by Audrey Hepburn. Then costumes for Gloria Swanston, Olivia de Havilland, Helen Lamour, Jane Russell, Hedy Lamarr, Shirley Temple, Natalie Wood (many others) and a few special performance outfits for Fred Astaire, Bob Hope and Yul Brynner. One interesting factoid was that women were outfitted but men were usually expected to provide their wardrobes. Watching a few accompanying clips had me thinking it’s such a plaything, but the costumery was intriguing, subtly creative and, from Edith’s own words in one interview, corrective. One other thing: there were some seriously narrow waists amongst the actresses! Unexpectedly beguiling. Otherwise the Gallery was a great little pleasure. And we even found some jazz-age art on the way to Bendigo, at the Overwrought metalwork and garden art gallery in the little town of Blampied.

The Costume Designer: Edith Head and Hollywood was a temporary exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery.

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