My afternoon with Hollywood Stars


Hollywood costume exhibitionThis week I got very cultural and went to a museum for the first time in a long time. I know as far as most people are concerned museums are big stuffy places full of ancient relics and old fossils, and no I'm not talking about the bus loads of pensioners on a day out!

I went to the V&A museum, that's the Victoria & Albert to the uninitiated. It is a mammoth building that is literally jaw-dropping in both it's scale and beauty. The reason I was there was to see an exhibition that had been billed as a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity to see some the most iconic costumes in Hollywood history. So, being a huge movie fan I felt I had to go along and have a look.

Audrey on the big screen!The exhibition is down a side corridor in the museum through a doorway that is fairly unprepossessing. As a result my expectations were low. I opened the door and walked into a dark, dimly lit space, that almost gave me the same feeling you get walking into a cinema, I really wasn't sure what to expect. And then, out of the darkness a huge cinema screen came to life right in front of me with images from classic films as large as the side of a building. Well known faces like Katherine Hepburn, Kate Winslet, Natalie Portman, James Stewart et al shone out at me making me smile and realise that my apprehension was misguided and that actually I had quite a treat in store. It was, for lack of a better expression, awesome. We were strictly forbidden from taking pictures but I managed to sneak a few for you!


Darth VadarAs I walked around the back of the enormous cinema screen it was like stepping behind the magic into, not reality, but a higher level of illusion. The first costume I was greeted by was a gown worn by that goddess of the silver screen, Marlene Dietrich. The first thing I noticed was how tiny it was! Those movie stars look huge on the screen but in reality there costumes (well, the ladies costumes) would suggest that mostly they are small and frail. The thing about Marlene's dress was that it set the tone for the rest of the exhibition in terms of quality.

Every single costume was accompanied by an explanation of the creation of the costume by the costume designer, sometimes from the director and, if we were lucky, from the actor themselves. Some pieces were even accompanied by two tv screens, one either side of the particular costume. One screen playing an interview with the director, the other playing an interview with the designer or lead actor carefully edited so it looked almost like they were having a conversation with each other. Alfred Hitchcock talked about Tippy Hedron's dress from The Birds and Tim Burton chatted about Johnny Depp's leather coat in Sweeney Todd.

Miceal and MarilynThere was every kind of film costume you could imagine; period dramas, action movies, Hitchcock thrillers, comic book superheroes, classic black and white. All of them and their accompanying stars represented by costume. Arnie was there in the form of his Terminator costume, Judy Garlands Wizard of Oz dress and Ruby Slippers made an appearance, I even bumped into Darth Vadar, Batman, Indiana Jones and Daniel Craig in his tuxedo. Marilyn Monroe's iconic dress that swirled up around her in that scene, once witnessed, never forgotten was there too, as was Nicole Kidman's sequinned and feathered corset she wore as she swung from that trapeze singing 'Diamonds are a girls best friend' in Moulin Rouge.


That's all folksThere was a magical, almost hypnotic soundtrack playing in the background all the way, made up of snippets of some of the most iconic soundtracks from movies over the years. I really didn't want to leave when I got to the end and as someone who spent every Saturday afternoon as a little boy watching old black and white movies, I got goosebumps on more than one occasion.

I would recommend you don't miss it because one thing is for sure, I loved it so much, that just like Arnie's character The Terminator, I'll be back!


  1. Lyndsey November 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm -  Reply

    I’m going in December – now I’ve read your blog I’m even more excited than I already was!!!

  2. Debby slauenwhite December 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm -  Reply

    Hi MICEAL.
    Thank so much for finding out about your christmas jumpers. I’m sure I’ll find what I’m looking for,I know it’s a little naff but we all need some bling and some fun and the best time is at Christmas.I must admit Bella is a laugh a minute and Loves her Charlie Bears [ as Charlie may have told you]she also loves the QVC Christmas ads: You’ll have to get Charlie to show you some of the funny photo’s of her.
    Once again thank you for finding out about the jumper.
    Have a very happy and peaceful Christmas.
    Love Debby and Whoof from Bella

  3. miceal murphy December 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm -  Reply

    It really is brilliant. You’ll love it!

  4. miceal murphy December 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm -  Reply

    Hey Debbie and Bella,
    You are very welcome. I’m all about getting into the Christmas spirit so happy to help!!
    Am still very jealous of yuo and Charlie and everyone whoo has a little doggy friend in the family. One day soon I hope I will be introducing mine to the world!!
    Have a great Christmas.

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