It’s the summer of decadent outfits here at the Getty. Just opened is Fashion in the Middle Ages, which gives you a peek at clothing, real and fantastic, in the pages of manuscripts; continuing is the all-things-Rococo blockbuster Paris: Life & Luxury, an introduction to the fine art of 18th-century French living, and dressing.
A brocade ensemble or medieval headdress might be out of your price range, but these fashionable events aren’t—they’re all free.
1. Hollywood Fashion
Dressing the Part: Historical Costume in Film
Sunday, June 5, 3:00 p.m. | Event details »
Wonder what it was like to dress Michelle Pfeiffer, Glenn Close, and John Malkovich in Dangerous Liaisons? Find out this Sunday from costume designer James Acheson, a three-time Oscar winner whose range also extends to the Qing Dynasty (The Last Emperor) and Kafkaesque sci-fi (Brazil), at this conversation about creating historical costumes for the big screen.
James is joined by Deborah Nadoolman Landis, who’s created the look for memorably dressed characters including Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Michael Jackson’s zombie horde in Thriller. (Come dressed in an Indy hat, maybe?)
Bonus: the conversation starts with an intro to French fashion and medieval dress from art historian Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, who contributed to LACMA’s gorgeous Fashioning Fashion: European Dress, 1700–1915, and whose essay in our Paris: Life & Luxury book tells you everything you wanted to know about the morning toilette.
2. Fashion How-To’s
Artist-at-Work Demonstration: Paris Fashion
Sundays, June 5, June 19, July 3, and August 7, 1:00–3:00 p.m. | Event details »
Come meet Maxwell Barr, czar of the costume shop at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television—a designer with such a zest for historical accuracy that he’s been known to create period-appropriate undergarments.
With the aid of a live model, Maxwell presents 18th-century couture he’s designed and crafted himself, including a formal gown and the all-important “lunch outfit.” Examine up close historic fabrics and tools, gather tailoring how-to’s, and get tidbits on the etiquette required of you when you dress fabulously.
3. Fashion on Screen
Film Series: Vive la Magnifique!
Saturday and Sunday, June 25 and 26 | Event details »
Okay, this movie weekend isn’t about fashion, but all four films—Jefferson in Paris, Dangerous Liaisons, Ridicule, and Danton—feature dazzling period costumes and dramatize the mores (or lack thereof) that went along with those extremely pinchy aristocratic threads.
Three of the movies feature re-enactments of the toilette, the morning dress ritual that required an entire staff. And do you remember that great opening sequence in Dangerous Liaisons—the powdering, nose hair plucking, waist cinching, wig choosing, and attiring of the Vicomte de Valmont and Marquise de Merteuil? Never has fashion looked so…evil.
4. Fashion, Medieval Style
The Medieval Clotheshorse
Thursday, August 4, 7:00 p.m. | Event details »
Centuries before Chanel, fashion revolutions were taking Europe by storm. Hear the story of one such upheaval from Roger Wieck of the Morgan Library, who has just published the definitive work on medieval dress in art, and whose fashion exhibition now underway at the Morgan includes four costumes brought to life from the pages of illuminated manuscripts.
He’ll talk about the birth of modern men’s attire in the 1300s, a time that also saw innovations for women: the plunging neckline and peekaboo cutout. Plus, get a look at some beautiful painted books of the time, and learn how artists used clothing to slyly comment on characters’ social status and even their moral fiber.
Put on your best wig, and we’ll see you there.