For 20 years, costume designers, some of whom were nominated for an Oscar on Jan. 24, have found their work on display at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles.

The groundwork for securing the costumes starts a year in advance as FIDM Museum director Barbara Bundy and her staff curate the display after watching movies and trailers.

Some of the costumes have been rented, some recycled for other productions and with so many projects from around the globe meriting inclusion, the staff has to move early before costumes are scattered to the winds once production ends.

But FIDM is not alone. Among those who help secure the outfits are the Costume Designers Guild, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Los Angeles’ parks and recreation department, the city of Los Angeles, individual collectors, studios, production companies, PR firms, agents, prop houses and costume houses, to say nothing of the designers themselves.

“Over 20 years we have been so blessed with connections with costume designers, the guild, studios, that we have a host of people” (who give suggestions to FIDM), says Bundy. “We know the studios, the costume designers and we work through that network. There’s tremendous advantage when you’ve been able to build up such friendships.”

Mary Rose, prexy of the Costume Designers Guild, and designer Colleen Atwood are among those who have helped out. As 2011’s costume design Oscar winner for “Alice in Wonderland,” Atwood’s outfits will be on display, a FIDM tradition.

“I know a lot of people who aren’t in show business and they can’t get their heads around how we do stuff,” Atwood says. “It’s exciting to see craftmanship up close because it goes by so fast in films.”

She likes to set up her own outfits. “I’m super picky, I like to see how it’s displayed.”

Bundy adds, “So many actors and actresses are not mannequin size so we remove ribs, pad out where we need to make (the models) the right size and right height. We have our own surgery center,” she laughs.

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