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The Oklahoma City Museum of Art explores the underappreciated role of costume designers in Hollywood history


None May 6th, 2010

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Sketch to Screen: The Art of Hollywood Costume Design
Opening Thursday
On display through Aug. 15
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch
www.okcmoa.com
236-3100
$10-$12

Despite being cast in every important scene and center-framed during every iconic movie moment, costume design often remains hidden in plain sight.

It's a bit of a paradox, said Brian Hearn, Oklahoma City Museum of Art film curator. "You really notice it when it's bad or when it's really good, but a lot of times, it's successful when it's sort of seamless."

In Hollywood, however, clothes don't just drape the actor "” they make the character. Surveying the entire range of American cinema, OKCMOA has compiled a collection of more than 85 original garments and accessories that explore the art of making movie garments, and the historical role costume designers have played in shaping the look of films.

The result is the exhibit "Sketch to Screen: The Art of Hollywood Costume Design." Many of the featured costumes are identifiable by even casual cinephiles. The collection ranges from Jean Harlow's cream satin evening gown from 1933's "Bombshell," to Mary Pickford's tattered blue dress from the 1922 silent film "Tess of the Storm Country." Oscar-winning designs include the John Truscott-created hooded cape worn by Vanessa Redgrave in "Camelot" and Bette Davis' complete "Death of the Nile" pink-beaded outfit designed by Anthony Powell.

Men's film fashion also plays a big part in the exhibit. Heath Ledger's "Brokeback Mountain" getup is featured along with Robert DeNiro's leopard-print robe and boxing shorts from "Raging Bull," and the "Gladiator" garb donned by Russell Crowe in 2000.

Sketches and photos are included in the exhibit, which opens Thursday and is on display through Aug. 15. An accompanying film series begins 7:30 p.m. with a screening of "
 
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