In resurrecting the imagery and atmosphere of a period, costume houses are an invaluable resource for motion picture costume designers and indeed the entire creative team. Great Britain’s Cosprop, founded by costume designer John Bright in 1965, provides, as do other local and international costume houses, historic and modern stock, research facilities and an expert staff of tailors, seamstresses, milliners, jewelry makers and other specialists who can turn designers’ drawings into real garments that fit and move on film as envisioned. Once completed, these costumes do more than help create a believable world – they help actors find their characters and bring them to life.
“Period Costumes for the Screen” focuses on costumes made for films and miniseries set between the early 1500s and the 1950s. Some of the productions are based upon actual historic figures and events, others upon works of fiction. On display in the Academy’s Fourth Floor Gallery are 36 costumes worn by such stars as Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman, Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett.
The exhibition showcases the collaborations between Cosprop and such Academy Award®-winning designers as James Acheson, Jenny Beavan, John Bright, Milena Canonero, Anthony Powell and Deborah L. Scott, as well as Oscar® nominees Alexandra Byrne, Judy Moorcroft, Ruth Myers, Janet Patterson, Tom Rand and Tony Walton. It was organized by the Trust for Museum Exhibitions, Washington, D.C., in cooperation with Cosprop, Ltd., London, England.