Magnificent Obsessions

Costume Designer Arianne Phillips wearing Vionnet at the opening.

Last night we attended the glittering launch party at the Museum of Moving Image in celebration of their latest exhibition, Persol Magnificent Obsessions.  Photographer Terry Richardson DJ’d the party while hipsters and film buffs drank champagne and perused the show which looks behind some of the greatest moments in film. The exhibition gives insight from the point of view of the extraordinary crafts people who made the magic happen.

It’s organized by the particular obsession of each artist.  Alfred Hitchcock was obsessed with crafting a scene and we are shown his intricate storyboards for the famous crop-dusting scene from North by Northwest projected on a huge screen while the scene plays out on another screen beside it.

We spent hours looking at the costumes created by Arianne Phillips for the period movie W.E. about Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII (directed by Madonna).  Not only do we see the actual costumes and jewelery used in the movie, but also the intense work that went in to finding and creating them.  Phillips undertook extensive research in museum archives around the world and in order to ensure authenticity, worked with fashion houses like Vionnet, Dior and the jeweler Cartier to re-create many of the costumes, others she designed herself.

We loved a tiny animation under glass that showed how Vionnet cut the pattern then constructed the beautiful lamé dress on show (pictured above).  Phillips looked stunning in a gorgeous modern day Vionnet dress which was so perfect for the occasion.

On display in the vast exhibition are notes and research from Todd Haynes (Far from Heaven), actor and director Ed Harris (Pollock), actress Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby), director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie), cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (The Last Emperor), director Alfred Hitchcock (North by Northwest), production designer Dean Tavoularis (One from the Heart), special effects supervisor and technical innovator Douglas Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey), and composer Ennio Morricone (on his collaborations with director Sergio Leone) and costume designer Arianne Phillips (W.E.), are the artists highlighted in this extraordinary exhibition.

The Museum of The Moving Image. 36-01 35 Avenue, Astoria. NY. 11106. Tel: 718 777 6800

Photo Credits (from top of page)
An excerpt from W.E. directed by Madonna. Courtesy of W.E. Commissioning Company Limited. W.E. costuming courtesy of Madonna.
Boots Worn by Ed Harris in Pollock. Costume Design David C. Robinson Collection of Museum of the Moving Image. Photograph Natalie KeyssarPublicity
Still from Pollock. Source Photofest. Artwork from Pollock appears courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics Inc.The Duke and Duchess of Windsor for W.E. Photograph by Tom Munro.
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor for W.E. Photograph by Tom Munro.

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