Oscars 2018: FIDM is best place to see the fashions nominated for Best Costume Design

LOS ANGELES — Before entertainment reporters dish on the gowns and garments worn on the Academy Awards’ red carpet, fashion fans can have an close-up view of the outfits worn in the five Oscar-nominated films for Best Costume Design.

They’re on display at the 26th annual  “Art of Motion Picture Costume Design” exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in downtown Los Angeles through April 7.

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From the elaborate and intricate frock that could have been worn by Queen Victoria for the film “Victoria and Abdul” by Consolata Boyle, to the delicate 400-year-old lace overlaid on a lavender gown created by Mark Bridges for “Phantom Thread,” visitors can examine the skill required to create such beautiful pieces of art. 

“And yes, these are the costumes actually worn by the actors,” said Nick Verreos, fashion designer and spokesman with the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise.

The five Academy Award nominees for Best Costume Design: 

  • “Beauty and the Beast” by Jacqueline Durran
  • “Darkest Hour” by Jacqueline Durran
  • “Phantom Thread” by Mark Bridges
  • “The Shape of Water” by Luis Sequeira
  • “Victoria and Abdul” by Consolata Boyle

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Along with the the designs from the five Oscar-nominated films, the exhibition also spotlights more than 125 costumes from more than 25 films released in 2017, including “Battle of the Sexes,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Girls Trip,” “Dunkirk,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” and “It.”

“Costumes help tell the story of who the character is,” Verreos says during a recent interview and walk through at the exhibit. At the moment, he stands in front of the dresses worn by  Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Tiffany Haddish, and Jada Pinkett Smith in the film “Girls Trip.”

“This may look like a simple dress, but it goes to show who this person is and is important to the storytelling,” Verreos says.


Also important is where designers get their inspiration. Sometimes it’s from the most unexpected places, like photographs of red, American muscle cars, which inspired the red costumes worn by the Elite Praetorian guards in “The Last Jedi.” 

“A lot of people think the inspiration behind the red Elite Praetorian guards were samurai, but it wasn’t,” Verreos says, smiling. “It was actually a wall of pictures of 1970s cars. If you look at the masks, they’re very reminiscent of a car grill.”


Verreos also explained how “Star Wars” costume designer Michael Kaplan dressed Carrie Fisher’s character, Gen. Leia Organa. In “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Kaplan created a more practical costume for Organa, but in the 2017 film, he wanted to bring General Organa back to her royal roots. 

“He was inspired by photos of Queen Elizabeth II wearing a Cape during World War II,” Verreos says. “He wanted to make her more regal, to make her a princess again.”

About the author

Beatriz E. Valenzuela

Beatriz E. Valenzuela is an award-winning journalist who’s covered breaking news in Southern California since 2006 and has been on the front lines of national and international news events. She also covers all things nerd, including comic book culture and video games. She’s an amateur obstacle course racer, constant fact-checker, mother of three, and lover of all things geek.

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