BFI’s Film Costume Archive at the V&A, London

Hollywood Costume, the V&A’s autumn exhibition explores the central role costume design plays in cinema storytelling. In collaboration with the BFI, the collection brings together over 500 of the most iconic movie costumes from across a century of filmmaking.

The BFI collection is one of the largest public collections of film costumes in the world and represents the work of many major costume designers such as Edith Head, Ellen Mirojnick, John Mollo and Sandy Powell. Highlights in the collection include a silk satin wedding dress and train designed by Travis Banton for Mae West as Tira in I’m No Angel (1933), the sequinned and beaded gown with mink trimmed train designed by Edith Head for Ginger Rogers as Liza Elliot in the 1944 film Lady in the Dark, the black tasselled dress designed by Orry-Kelly for Marilyn Monroe as Sugar Kane Kowalczyk in Some Like it Hot (1959), and John Bloomfield’s 1987 Superman costume worn by Christopher Reeve in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

Hollywood Costume is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the clothes worn by unforgettable and beloved characters such as Dorothy Gale, Indiana Jones, Scarlett O’Hara, Jack Sparrow, Holly Golightly and Darth Vader.

Hollywood Costume exhibition, 20 October until 27 January 2013, V&A South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL.


1. Bessie Love on left hand side wearing a sequinned ensemble in the film The Broadway Melody (1929), courtesy the BFI National Archive collection and the V&A.
2. The Marilyn Monroe shimmy dress from Some Like It Hot (1959), designed by Orry-Kelly, courtesy the BFI National Archive collection and the V&A.
3. Ginger Rogers’ beaded and sequinned dress with mink trimmed train from Lady in the Dark (1944), designed by Edith Head, courtesy the BFI National Archive collection and the V&A.