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A Special Guest Visits the ARC: Deborah Landis

Deborah Nadoolman Landis - Culver City Historical Society

News from the Costume Chair

by Louise Coffey-Webb, Costume Committee Chair

I wanted to let you know about some very interesting visitors we had the pleasure of hosting at the ARC at the end of last year.

Deborah Nadoolman Landis, and her assistant, Natasha Rubin, came to look at some of our MGM costumes. Why? Well, Deborah is the Senior Guest Curator of an exhibition at the prestigious Victoria & Albert Museum in London on film costumes in 2012. Entitled “Style and Seduction: The Art of Hollywood Costume Design,” the exhibit is scheduled to open October 20th, 2012, followed by an international tour. There will also be a catalogue.

And who is Deborah Nadoolman Landis? She is a costume designer with an illustrious career, creating the iconic looks of Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Blues Brothers, Coming to America, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller among so many more. She has had a distinguished career designing for major motion pictures directed by John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Louis Malle and Costa-Gavras.

Deborah was the President of the Costume Designers Guild and created the now, very glamorous and sought-after “Costume Designers Guild Awards” that precedes the annual Oscars© telecast.

The David C. Copley Center for Costume Design at UCLA

Most recently she has been appointed Founding Director of The David C. Copley Center for Costume Design in the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. This new Costume Center is the first for the study of costume design in the film world. Through bold research and a robust program of conferences, exhibitions and film festivals, the Copley Center will serve not only the UCLA community, but international motion picture historians, cultural anthropologists, and working designers and filmmakers as well.

“Deborah Landis has made the point on many occasions that costume designers are first and foremost storytellers,” said Robert Rosen, former dean of the school. “They are full creative partners in art forms that are intrinsically collaborative, and academic recognition of that fact is long overdue.

While many film scholars have analyzed early motion pictures from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century through its “Golden Age,” the Copley Center will spearhead costume design scholarship in Hollywood history up to the present day, including gathering oral histories of creative collaborators in current production. It will also focus on genre research, such as Western Film Noir, Science Fiction, and Musical design. Additionally, the Center will encompass costume illustration as an art form unto itself, creating a rich source for both academic and artistic study.

Deborah has worked extremely hard to elevate the status of the costume designer, and to emphasize the difference between a costume designer and a fashion designer. She is also an author of several books, notably Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume (2007) and Screencraft: Costume Design (2003).

For more information on The David C. Copley Center for Costume Design in the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, please click here.

The Culver City Historical Society is always thrilled to share knowledge about its collections, with other professionals.

It’s Spring — and time to rotate our costume displays. Next time you attend a program at our Archive Resource Center, be sure to look and see what’s new!

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