There are many television and film industry sites to see in Los Angeles, some touristy, some historic, and some that allow fans a glimpse of some aspect of their favorite show. One interesting – and free – exhibit this time of year is the annual television costume exhibit at the Los Angeles Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), which currently features wardrobes from 24 TV series, movies and miniseries that aired this past year.
The ninth annual exhibit features clothing worn by several characters on each TV show. There is particular emphasis on those nominated for a 2015 Emmy in television costume design, with others also on display, allowing visitors to see their craftsmanship and creativity. The FIDM museum exhibit has mannequins arranged by show wearing the characters’ clothes, jewels, hats and shoes to capture the full visual effect.
Fans of period pieces like BET’s slave drama Book of Negroes, AMC series TURN: Washington’s Spies, the BBC/PBS show Wolf Hall, and more will marvel at the historical details shown in the clothing. That includes the opulent fabrics, trim and sumptuous garments for the royalty and even the care to accurately portray regular attire too.
Those who like contemporary shows will enjoy the quirky, bold patterned outfits from The Mindy Project while on Fox, superhero/real-life/edgy attire from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC and Gotham on Fox, and other character garb featured. Then, there are the creative, flamboyant costumes from shows like NBC’s Peter Pan Live! special and worn by the fairy tale characters in ABC’s Once Upon a Time. Some of the other TV shows with creative attire on display in the FIDM include Reign, Bessie, Better Call Saul, Marvel’s Agent Carter, Olive Kitteridge, Empire, Whitney, Transparent, as well as several more.
The show reflects why the Television Academy changed its costume category awards this year. In the past, the costume Emmy was awarded for TV series and miniseries/movies. However, the categories were dominated by period pieces, such as the 2014 winners Game of Thrones and American Horror Story: Coven and the 2013 honoree The Borgias and Behind the Candelabra. Contemporary shows rarely had a chance in the last decade.
So, the academy split costume design into two awards this year: Outstanding Costumes for a Period/Fantasy Series and Outstanding Costumes for a Contemporary Series. This split ensures at least one contemporary show wins a costume Emmy this year.
The wardrobes from 24 shows will be at the annual Television Costume Design Exhibit in the FIDM Los Angeles museum, which is free to the public, through Saturday, Sept. 26, (the week after the Sept. 20 Emmy Award telecast). The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. It is located at 919 S Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. (The FIDM also has another annual costume exhibit the beginning of each year that features attire from the previous year’s motion pictures and timed with the Academy Awards nominations and presentation, usually held in February now.)
Written and edited by Dyanne Weiss
Visit to the FIDM
FIDM Museum: Current Exhibitions
Variety: Contemporary Costumes from ‘Mindy Project,’ ‘Gotham’ Feted by FIDM, TV Academy