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FIDM showcases series costumes

Emmy-nommed looks on display in downtown LA

The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in downtown L.A. has displayed movie costumes tied to the Oscar ceremony for more than 15 years. So three years ago, when then-curator Maggie Murray asked TV Academy governor and costume designer Mary Rose to help with something similar for the Emmys, Rose jumped at the chance.

“It took some doing because people thought no one would come,” Rose says.

But indeed they have. The exhibit, which opened with a reception for Emmy-nommed costume designers on July 29, ends on Sept. 28. Besides costumes from the 2007-08 TV season, the display includes some classics from Bob Mackie (“The Carol Burnett Show”) and Larry McQueen, including “High Mountain Rangers” and “The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood.”

Since studios don’t keep these outfits, Rose was able to get the vintage costumes from collectors.

“I wanted those that were worthwhile showing,” she says. Skipping “the costumes we’ve seen hundreds of times … they’re done very well, but I’m a little bored with them, instead I showed (HBO’s) ‘John Adams,'” claiming the “prerogative of the curator.”

Theatrical threads

Among the costumes on display are Emmy-nommed AMC series “Mad Men,” “Pushing Daisies,” “Lost,” “Scrubs” and “Dirty Sexy Money.”

“It’s a very eclectic show,” Rose says. Indeed it is: There are costumes from series and pilots; canceled shows such as “Moonlight”; and historical dramas like “The Tudors” and “Comanche Moon.”

Van Broughton Ramsey, costume designer for “Comanche Moon,” calls it a “wonderful exhibit,” noting that with up to 20 versions of the same costume for each cast member, there are plenty of outfits for designers to give to the display.

“I never know which to pick,” Ramsey says. “I let Mary Rose pick. I would’ve picked fancier ones.”

Ramsey and Rose both tip their hats to FIDM’s Horacio Avila, museum creative director, who decorated the displays so that “Lost,” for example, has a beach scene with palm trees and “Dirty Sexy Money” is littered with play money.

Robert Nelson, director of the FIDM Museum & Galleries, says the free exhibit has attracted a big crowd, especially on Sundays. “Sunday is a big family museum day,” he notes.

Nelson adds that unlike the Oscars exhibit, the Emmys display allows students to see how costumes evolve. “TV series are ongoing, year after year, whereas film is a one-time deal,” he says.

And this brings him to FIDM’s main purpose in displaying the costumes.

“The whole reason for the gallery for our students and community is educational.”

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