Movie Costume Designs: A History Tour

A few years ago I interviewed Kristine Kearney, the head of costume design in the Department of Theatre at The Ohio State University. Kearney’s costume design expertise brought her to the sets of Fried Green Tomatoes, Shawshank Redemption and Driving Miss Daisy among others. She talked about quality fabrics, how costume designers make decisions and what colors look best for the stage.

Every year during the Academy Awards, I watch with interest the costume award nominees. These are truly the artsy folks. If you’re a person who loves costumes and can remember what actors had on in various roles, here is an exhibit you might want to check out this summer.

At the Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, “Fashion in Film: Period Costumes for the Screen” is on exhibit through September. There are 36 costumes to remember if you’ve seen them worn by Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Gweneyth Paltrow, and Elizabeth Taylor. Let’s see, among these women we have Virginia Wolf, Karen Silkwood, a Shakespearean actor/actress, and Cleopatra. Those costumes may not be the ones on display, I just wanted to see what I could name off the top of my head. How many centuries does that cover?

The Paine Art Center and Gardens was once the estate of Nathan Paine and his wife Jessie who built the mansion beginning in the 1920s with the idea of turning it into an open-to-the-public museum. It took them until the 1940s to complete it due to financial slow downs. You can also tour it on-line.