Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Hollywood Costume Exhibition At London's Victoria And Albert Museum

Fans of Hollywood, costumes, exhibitions, London, Victorias, Alberts and museums should be happy as a pig in shit right now, for there is currently a Hollywood costume exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum which is well and truly and quite absolutely worth visiting. I know because I went there about six weeks ago and have only now calmed down enough to write about it, such was its power.
Spread across three enormous (but gloomy) galleries, over 130 iconic movie costumes have been arranged and thoughtfully lit for you to drool over, but not literally because they're quite valuable. Charlie Chaplin's tramp outfit, Brad Pitt's pornographic vest from Fight Club and Indiana Jones' entire costume are just the first three I got away with taking rubbish photos of, and if the exhibition ended there you'd think it was impressive, if a little pricey.
But it doesn't end there. The second room, bigger than the first, gives various costumes, designers and directors a good going over with some of the most innovative displays you've ever seen. If you don't come away from the V&A wanting your own talking Martin Scorsese chair then you're dead to me. This gallery contains your Darth Vader, your Travis Bickle, your Ethan Edwards "and many more", including one of those ping-pong-ball-covered motion capture suits that Andy Serkis is so fond of. Imagine how great it must be for Serkis to just throw that on every day and let someone else worry about what he's going to look like.

If the exhibition ended there, you'd be even more impressed and begin to think it was better value, but it doesn't. The third gallery is the crowd-pleaser, and it's a gathering of clobber that will make you realise just how crushingly dull whatever you're wearing is. Han Solo, James Bond, the Terminator, Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, all those men and lots of women too have left their costumes for you to boggle at in what can only be described as the world's greatest walk-in wardrobe.
Don't forget to look up in this room - the superheroes are bizarrely mounted half a mile in the air, making them easy to miss for any non-giants. John McClane's blood-soaked vest is in there too, although of far more interest are the trousers beneath it: chunky cords! Like what your Dad used to wear! Who knew? And as a special treat for all the kids out there, you can inspect the soles of The Bride's Onitsuka Tigers from Kill Bill: Vol. 1, which are both adorned with the legend "FUCK U".

That's where the exhibition does in fact end, although not before you pass by a fairly spectacular pair of shoes with which you'll be very familiar. It is at this point that you will be both impressed to the maximum level and satisfied with the value for money. It is also the point at which you can spend ages in the gift shop wondering if a replica fedora will make you look in any way like Indiana Jones. Trust me: it won't.

The exhibition is on until January 27th and the words you've just read convey approximately 2% of its awesomeness, so have a click of this and book your slot. It's filling up though so don't fanny about.


  1. Quick question, how much time did you spend in the museum? As we are going to the exhibition, it would be nice to know if we need to book a hotel or not. ;)

    Thanks in advance and greetings from Belgium

  2. You could whizz through in 90 minutes but you'd be better off allowing a good couple of hours to take it all in. Maybe three if you're a costume obsessive.