From the dazzling complexity of a Tudor-era gown to the simplicity of a faded bathrobe, movie costumes can do as much to represent a character as a script or a musical score.
The costumes on display at “Hollywood Costume,” the current exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum, span the decades and the genres of film, but each of them has the potential to evoke strong memories in the viewer, from Darth Vader’s imposing armor and Harry Potter’s Hogwarts uniform to Dorothy Gale’s blue-and-white gingham dress and James Bond’s tuxedo.
Among the treasures of “Hollywood Costume,” which was curated by Jewish costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis and originally appeared at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, are many costumes with Jewish connections. Here are just a few:
Elliot Gould’s smoking jacket, “Ocean’s 11” (2001)
Gould, who is Jewish, played Jewish casino mogul Reuben Tishkoff in Steven Soderbergh’s high-stakes heist movie. His smoking jacket shares space with costumes worn by “Ocean’s 11” co-stars Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, George Clooney and Don Cheadle. The costumes were designed by Jeffrey Kurland.
Tippi Hedren’s dress, “The Birds” (1963)
The simple green wool crepe suit Hedren wears for much of Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller was designed by renowned Jewish costume designer Edith Head, who was born Edith Posener. Head also designed costumes for such mid-century classics as “Vertigo,” “Roman Holiday” and “Witness for the Prosecution.”
Jennifer Lawrence’s white disco gown and Christian Bale’s tuxedo, “American Hustle” (2013)
Bale earned an Oscar nomination for playing small-time con man Irving Rosenfeld in the crime film helmed by half-Jewish director David O. Russell. Rosenfeld is loosely based on the real-life figure of Mel Weinberg. The costumes were designed by Michael Wilkinson.
Jeff Bridges’ T-shirt, boxer shorts and bathrobe, “The Big Lebowski” (1998), and Javier Bardem’s costume and cattle gun, “No Country for Old Men” (2007)
Two costumes from films by the directing team of Joel and Ethan Coen are on display in “Hollywood Costume.” The low-maintenance duds of “The Big Lebowski’s” anti-hero, The Dude, are on display, as is the no-nonsense attire of stone-cold killer Anton Chigurh, the menace of “No Country for Old Men,” a role for which Bardem won a Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar. The costumes for both films were designed by Mary Zophres.
Natalie Portman’s coat and dress combination, “Closer” (2004)
The Israeli-born Portman’s outfit from the first scene of Jewish director Mike Nichols’ sexy relationship drama is on display here, along with video interviews about the film. The costume was designed by Ann Roth.
Sacha Baron Cohen’s suit, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” (2006)
The plain gray suit in which Cohen’s clueless Kazakh journalist character terrorizes unsuspecting Americans comes complete with a tiny American flag. The costume was designed by Jason Alper.
Barbra Streisand’s evening gown, “Funny Girl” (1968)
Streisand won a Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar (which she shared with Katharine Hepburn) for her portrayal of Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl.” She sang “You Are Woman, I Am Man” in this blue-chiffon-over-purple-satin evening gown. The costume was designed by Irene Sharaff.
What: ‘Hollywood Costume’
When: Through July 6
Where: Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave.
Cost: $20 adults, $10 children ages 6-17
Contact: 602-257-2138 or phxart.org