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FIDM's 'The Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design' Exhibit Opens

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Thursday, July 29, 2010, at 12:01PM
IMG_1176 Ed Fuentes

Mad Men costumes by Janie Bryant on display at FIDM. Le Dawson is the Costume Supervisor for the AMC show.



Just off the stylish heels of “Mad Men” debuting its 4th season on AMC, The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and FIDM opened their 5th Annual "The Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design" exhibition to the public on Wednesday.

Curator Mary Rose, President of the Costume Designers Guild, has the costume that drapes on Don Draper joining Mardi Gras Indians and glee clubs. A total of 75 costumes from 13 shows produced for television, including Emmy-nominated outfits from six shows, will be on display until September 24 at the FIDM Gallery and Museum.

When FIDM first began to mount exhibitions showcasing costumes from designers and supervisors, it wasn’t unusual for the gallery to have a traditional show business response: no call back.

Things have changed.

This year, designers for HBO’s “Treme,” the drama set in the post-Katrina New Orleans recovery, considered the exhibition a showcase for the city as well. Intricate costumes with feathers and beads were delivered by costumers who drove them in from New Orleans, just to make sure they would not be damaged.

“With some of the pieces over 100 pounds, there was no way to estimate shipping costs,” says Barbara Bundy, FIDM Museum Director.

The outfits are an important tool to support of a director's ideas or aid in an actor's interpretation of a character. Colors and fabrics must also work with detailed lighting.

Even period pieces tend to get just a little touch of the contemporary.

"If you look, it's the way they fit, the accessories, the way the hat is worn or the way the dress is shorter,” says Bundy, before pointing out the costume for the character Joan Halloway Harris. “In this case, its a little tighter.”

Oddly, it is rare for costumes to be on exhibition. Once worn, often they are used to piece meal for other shows. This time, the collective of character, form and fabric are part of the storyline.

The Art of Television Costume Design / July 27, 2010 through September 4 / FIDM Museum & Galleries, 919 S. Grand Ave / Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm / Shows featured include "Glee," "The Good Wife," "True Blood," "The Tudors," "Big Love," "Georgia O'Keeffe" and "Treme.'' / Free

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