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Academy Award-Winning Film Costumes Coming to the CMA

Featuring the Glamour and Artistry of Cinematic Couture

CUT! Costume and the Cinema premieres November 18

The Columbia Museum of Art presents the major travelling exhibition CUT! Costume and the Cinema, on view from November 18, 2016 through February 19, 2017. Through 43 costumes created by the renowned London firm of Cosprop, Ltd., this exhibition takes an in-depth look at the art of making costumes that set the scene, give personality to the characters, and establish authenticity in period films.

“Over the last decade, museums have developed a real fascination with fashion and costume design, as evidenced by such preeminent institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London,” says CMA Executive Director Karen Brosius. “We are excited to give our audience, who are themselves fans of fashion, film, and literature, an opportunity to experience this fascination with Hollywood through an up-close view of the extraordinary costumes that the actors wore in these films.”

The modern-day films represented in the exhibition depict five centuries of history, drama, comedy, fantasy, and adventure through period costumes worn by such famous film stars as Keira Knightley, Johnny Depp, Ralph Fiennes, Daniel Craig, Kate Winslet, Sandra Bullock, Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman, Robert Downey Jr., and many others. In all, more than 30 actors will be represented from 26 films, including Academy Award-winners and nominees Sherlock Holmes, The Duchess, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sense and Sensibility, and The Phantom of the Opera.

The exhibition, which aims to draw new, cross-generational audiences to the museum, is supported by a Connected Communities grant from Central Carolina Community Foundation.

“The Columbia Museum of Art consistently brings high-quality visual art exhibitions to the Midlands,” says JoAnn Turnquist, president and CEO of Central Carolina Community Foundation. “CUT! Costume and the Cinema, the CMA’s first costume design show, will use film, music, architecture, history, and literature to attract and connect with a diverse audience. We are honored to support this exhibition through our Connected Communities grant.”

Costume is the essential ingredient in the authenticity of a period film. Costumes set the scene by providing information about where and when the drama is taking place and introduce characters by giving clues about their status, age, class, and wealth, as well as their role in the story. Costumes created for period films must not only withstand the test of time but also stand up to intense visual scrutiny. When a camera zooms in for a close-up, every hand-created detail must look authentic and perfectly executed.  This exhibition allows the viewer to get close to the stories portrayed on screen and to appreciate the fine details that often can only fleetingly be glanced on the screen.

“It’s a chance to see history and art combined in an utterly unique way,” says Curator Catherine Walworth. “For those interested in filmmaking and costume design, it’s a rare opportunity to see Academy Award-level work right here in Columbia.”

The amazing pieces in this exhibition come from a stock of more than 100,000 costumes and accessories made by the renowned British costumer Cosprop Ltd. Founded in 1965 by John Bright, an award-winning costume designer in his own right, Cosprop specializes in creating costumes for film, television, and theater pieces set from the 15th century to the swinging ‘60s. Cosprop has a staff of 40 experts in designing, tailoring, cutting, fitting, millinery, jewelry making and repair, and dyeing and printing. Reference for their work comes from an extensive library and a collection of original garments, ensuring that any production undertaken by Cosprop is “correctly dressed.” Like their period prototypes, these opulent costumes are crafted of sumptuous fabrics and decorated with intricate embroidery and lace.

Since 1986, when the Academy Award for Costume Design was first awarded to a Cosprop designer for A Room with a View, the company has supplied costumes for 34 nominated films. In 2008, three of the five Oscar nominees included Cosprop designs. In 2009, Cosprop won the Academy Award for Costume Design for The Duchess; they have been awarded the Emmy Award for Costume Design numerous times for Downton Abbey.

CUT! Costume and the Cinema is presented through the generosity of our sponsors and grantors. Presenting Sponsors: Marriott Columbia and Hannah and Ron Rogers. Supporting Sponsors: Governor and Mrs. James H. Hodges. Contributing Sponsors: Susan Thorpe and John Baynes and Elliott Davis Decosimo, LLC. Media Sponsor: Free Times. Friends Sponsors: Dr. Carolyn Kressler-Greenberg and Dr. Stanley H. Greenberg and Dr. and Mrs. David L. Kulbersh. Patron Sponsors: Jessica Kross and Mary and Clinch Belser. Fashion Sponsors: Brittons, London and Lace, and Non(e)such. Grant awards from Central Carolina Community Foundation, Richland County, and South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism.

This exhibition is presented by Exhibits Development Group in cooperation with Cosprop Ltd., London England.

For more information, visit columbiamuseum.org.

For more information on Cosprop, visit cosprop.com.

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