Highlights from the Exhibition 21st Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design

The Los Angeles skyline sparkled behind the lavish tents and décor that welcomed guests to the opening gala for the Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition at the FIDM Museum & Galleries on February 9th.

But it was the costumes inside the museum, including all five nominees for Best Costume Design, which shone the brightest. On Sunday night, Jacqueline Durran was awarded the Oscar for the glorious costumes she created for Anna Karenina, the third film in which she has costumed Keira Knightley.

Anna Karenina

Visitors to the museum are able to appreciate the rich colors and textures in the costumes that merged 1870’s fashion with 1950’s couture. “Anna’s thematic scheme of color is dark, particularly with the red she wears at the beginning in the Karenin home,” explained Durran. “What she wears becomes somewhat lighter in tone when she becomes enraptured with Vronsky, before returning to the darker hues as she becomes anxious and paranoid that his affections towards her have waned.”

While there can only be five nominees and one award, the costumes featured from last year’s films are all outstanding.

Judianna Makovsky

Judianna Makovsky, the designer of the incredible and durable costumes for Hunger Games, attended the gala. “You know, the runway clothes only have to last for 15 minutes back on the runway. Ours have to last for months…and have horrible things happen to them, and we always have different versions of everything for different weather or whatever so there’s a lot involved.”

Hunger Games

The "girl on fire" dress Katniss wears when she’s interviewed on TV on the eve of the games is one of the highlights of the exhibition. The flame-like crystal embroidery on the silk taffeta and organza dress with vertical pleats, move when Katniss twirls. The dress is not really "engulfed" in flames, as the book describes, but the skirt does ignite (with the help of CG).

"I didn’t want the clothes to overwhelm Katniss," Makovsky continued. "We all wanted to go crazy with the costumes, but sometimes it was better to be subtle. It was important to be able to see the characters through the clothes."

Mark Bridges

Last year’s Oscar winner, Mark Bridges, attended the exhibition gala. In keeping with tradition, his costumes for The Artist are on display along with his costumes for The Master.

Bridges explained his fascination with the film, “The fact that the story takes place in 1950 was really interesting to me because the look of that period has elements of the ’40s and elements of the ’50s, so I was real curious in trying to crack that.”

Bridges’ concept for the costumes was to “not make it look foreign—like another planet—to the contemporary eye. You just want to make it accessible. It had to tell the story and I love setting things as specifically as possible in a certain time period—that’s why I liked 1950. The story begins right after the war, in 1945. The film kind of suggests that Freddie wandered around until the time when the rest of the film takes place [1950]. Things were sort of compressed.”

Julie Weiss

Also in attendance was the incomparable Julie Weiss, with her costumes from Hitchcock. Color was a cornerstone of her work in this film and the breadth of the costuming on Hitchcock excited Weiss. "To have both the world of Alfred and Alma and the world of real life murderer Ed Gein—that’s a gold mine," she said. "I had the opportunity to go from plaid shirts to glamorous gowns."

The FIDM Museum is always delighted to feature the costume designs by alumni, and this year’s exhibition includes American Reunion by costume designer Mona May, and End of Watch, with costumes by Mary Claire Hannan.

For American Reunion, the reunion scene was pivotal. May and her staff worked with the rest of the production design team to bring the colors together. As there was a lot of blue and silver on the set, the crew brought out a number of jewel tones in the clothing. May shared, “Even though the audience grows older, we all want to feel like we’re still young forever. With the help of film magic, we can, beautifully.”

Mary Claire Hannan

End of Watch is a gritty cop drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña and for Mary Claire Hannan, “It was very important, on my part, to achieve the realistic/documentary style in wardrobing the characters.”

The costume designer spent time with actual gang members while researching the film. Her biggest challenge came from their once distinctive clothing choices. Having very identifiable clothing, such as the right colored bandana, also made them easy for the police to find, so today’s members try not to dress as noticeably.

The FIDM Museum & Galleries is honored to celebrate the artistry and vision of costume designers with this annual exhibition. We are extremely thankful to all those that contribute to this exhibition by loaning pieces from their studio archives, wardrobe departments and private collections.

21st Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design is free and open to the public through April 27th.


FIDM Museum Shop

Mprint Jewelry

Family heirlooms, coins, and the Bohemian lifestyle influence Mprint’s designs, now featured at the FIDM Museum Shop. Mprint jewelry, designed by Alumna Emily “Em” Robertson, includes a King Edward VII pendant and Honolulu Transit stud earrings, along with reeded edge chain bangles and rosary lockets.

After graduating from business school with a marketing degree, Em left her small coastal home in Maine for the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles. While attending FIDM, she interned with Bebe, where she advanced to jewelry assistant merchant. Other jobs followed, including working at a celebrity media relations firm, before Emily went to Canada and worked for Hillberg & Berk.

Through all her travels, Em carried her family heirlooms with her, interchanging lockets with new chains, and refurbishing old pieces to be on trend with the season. Each piece she wears tells a story, or holds a date in time for a family member she feels connected to. This led to her first travel-inspired collection and the name of her brand.

“I chose Mprint for many reasons. I always try to make my mark or imprint wherever life takes me. I hope my pieces will make a mark on each person who wears them, and signify a special moment or memory.”

Ashlyn’d Clutches

L to R: Victoria Kochamba, Carly Lewis, Ashlee Nik, Denise Lewinstein

The FIDM Museum Shop is always delighted to feature designs created by FIDM students and alumni. New to the shop are clutches by Ashlyn’d, a collaboration that includes three FIDM graduates with a wide range of fashion industry experience.

Essentially Minaudières, these small works of art mimic natural elements, including marble, granite, sand, and wood. The line of acrylic and wood clutches are designed and hand-made in Los Angeles. Unconventional and whimsical, Ashlyn’d Clutches have already attracted celebrity attention.

Singer Miley Cyrus and her mother Tish Cyrus, carrying an Ashlyn’d jade clutch, arrive at the 21st Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Oscar Viewing Party on February 24, 2013 in Los Angeles. Credit: Getty Images.

Ashlee Nik and Victoria Kochamba are the designers, while Carly Lewis and Denise Lewinstein manage marketing and production. Together, the partners explore different materials (including jade acrylic and zebra wood), inspirations (interior design and natural elements), and all the details essential to the perfect statement-making clutch.

Ashlyn’d offers small evening bags and stylish fashion accessories. The thoughtful details, impeccable craftsmanship, and sophisticated edge, make Ashlyn’d a brand to appreciate and enjoy.

Visit the FIDM Museum Shop for a fabulous selection of one-of-a-kind jewelry, amazing treasures, and exclusive gifts and see why we have won Downtown LA’s Best Unique Store for the past three years.


  • Spring Retro Crafts for Kids
  • Egg decorating, bunny ears, & Easter fun at the FIDM Museum Shop
  • Saturday, March 30
  • 10am–Noon
  • Free

  • OPI Skyfall Manicure & Martini Night
  • Celebrate Skyfall & all things Bond with a Girl’s Night Out
  • Skyfall Manicures by Bellacures & Hair Braiding by Broot
  • Shaken not Stirred Martinis & Sweet Treats
  • Wednesday, March 27
  • 6–8pm
  • Free
  • Reservation & ID required
  • RSVP at info@fidmmuseumshop.org


Admission to all exhibitions:

Free to the public

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