A look at Oscar-worthy costumes

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) There is only one exhibit like this in the world -- 125 costumes from 25 movies of 2007, including the five Oscar nominees for best costume design. It's all at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising downtown, and it opens to the public Monday for the 16th year in a row.

"Well, their first question - usually - is, 'Are these the actual costumes worn in the film?' And of course, the answer is yes," said museum and galleries director Robert Nelson.

Keira Knightley's gorgeous green gown in 'Atonement' is at FIDM's gallery, and visitors can see its tiny details up close. 'Atonement' is nominated for best costumes.

Colleen Atwood's designs for 'Sweeny Todd' also got a nomination. The costumes are on a red-splattered stage, just like the movie.

'Elizabeth: The Golden Age' is nominated, and the costumes glitter just as brilliantly on display -- even a child's costume holding a tiny Elizabeth doll.

There are the western costumes of '3:10 to Yuma', looking realistically never laundered.

It took 60 costumers to create the Spartan warriors and their enemies from the movie '300'.

There are very few modern costumes this year -- 'Blades of Glory' is in a class by itself. But all the work shows more detail than ever.

FIDM's historian explains how the work has changed.

"Designers do look at other designers' work -- both on screen, and also by coming to our galleries and seeing the costumes in person," said costume historian Kevin Jones. "Knowing also, these costumes now live beyond the screen."

Collectors are buying costumes at auctions, paying thousands of dollars, and treating the pieces like art.

And there are more musicals, like 'Hairspray', with vintage looks people want to wear again.

Even if a costume is on camera just once, it has to look right. The Art of Motion Picture Costume Design is a show that gives you a chance to look twice.

Because cameras see more detail, there is more detail now in the costumes. Still, they need to be seen in person to be appreciated.

  • 16th Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design
    Monday, Jan. 28 - Saturday, Apr. 12
    10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Saturday
    Closed Easter weekend Mar. 21 - 23
    Free Admission

    Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising
    919 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles 90015
    (213) 624-1200 x2224
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