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Hollywood Costume edited by Deborah Noodleman Landis

Hollywood Costume by Deborah Noodleman Landis, offers an insight into the process, craftsmanship and struggles as actors are transformed into movie characters

Chief curator of the show that took the V & A by storm and is now set to conquer Melbourne in 2013 as its Winter Masterpiece exhibition, this glamorous tome has been carefully constructed by Deborah Nadoolman Landis. She is herself a celebrated Hollywood designer (Raiders of the Lost Ark; Michael Jackson’s Thriller) and now a professor of design history at UCLA.  The setting is that otherworld where ghosts have gathered, even though many of the subjects are still with us.

Wearing the costumes they wore for famous roles whether they are still with us or not the spectral shimmer of their apparitions appear on screen. Famous persona, are mingling with stars of silent and talking movies, many of whom are long dead.

Ronald Reagan and Meryl Streep, Bette Davis and Robert De Niro all jostle closely together, cybernetically generated to appear among us again, like phantoms of perpetual beauty.

It contains many pièces de résistance: Scarlett’s dress made from green velvet curtains, with portières – tasseled rope pulls – for a belt; Susan Hayward’s gilded, encrusted trouser suit in Valley of the Dolls; Angelica Huston’s Gothic velvet cobwebbed column for her role as Morticia Addams; and the waterfall of ‘glass bugle beads’ on a gown for Carole Lombard in the film My Man Godfrey (1936), the nearest thing to a mermaid’s tail that one could ever imagine.

About the Author

Deborah Nadoolman Landis (born May 26, 1952) is an American film and theater costume designer. She worked on such notable films as Animal House, Three Amigos, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Landis recently completed her second term as president of the Costume Designers Guild of which she has been a member for more than thirty years. She graduated from UCLA with a M.F.A. in costume design in 1975 and earned her Ph.D. in history of design from the Royal College of Art in London.

She has created iconic costumes throughout her career, such as the fedora and jacket of Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), the “college” t-shirt worn by John “Bluto” Blutarsky (John Belushi), and Michael Jackson’s red jacket in Thriller. In addition to many awards for her theater designs, she was nominated for an Academy Award in 1988 for her costume designed for Coming to America.

She is the author of Screencraft/Costume Design (2003), 50 Designers/50 Costumes: Concept to Character (2004), Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design (2007), FilmCraft/Costume Design (2012), and Hollywood Costume (2012).

She is the David C. Copley Chair and Founding Director of the David C. Copley Center for Costume Design at the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television.

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