Despite the vast variety contained in the history of Hollywood movies—whether family classics like The Wizard of Oz or gritty tales like Taxi Driver or modern-day biopics like The Iron Lady—one constant has been character. The films we love introduce us to new people. And cinema means we get to see those people up close, their faces and their bodies and, of course, their clothes. Movie costumes can set a scene, tell us something about the people wearing them—and they’re fun to look at, too.
A new exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London—Hollywood Costume, on view Oct. 20–Jan. 13, 2013, accompanied by a book edited by costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis—brings together dozens of noteworthy costumes, from Scarlett O’Hara’s ‘curtain’ dress to the motion-capture suit from Avatar. The exhibit also breaks down the costume designer’s job and the way designers and directors work together. Here, a selection of some of the most important costumes to have made the cut.
PHOTOS: The Movies’ Best-Loved Costumes