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Costume - Shall We Dance

Shall We Dance

  • Object:

    Costume

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (designed and made)

  • Date:

    1936 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Anderson & Sheppard

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the British Film Institute

  • Museum number:

    S.206:1 to 2-2015

  • Gallery location:

    Theatre & Performance, Room 106, case 2, shelf 2 []

Tailcoat worn by Fred Astaire in the film Shall We Dance (1937). The tailcoat was created by Anderson and Sheppard Ltd.

Fred Astaire provided many of his own tailcoats and suits for his film roles and was a regular customer at Anderson and Sheppard Ltd. in London’s Savile Row. Astaire liked to test the seams of his suits by performing dance steps in front of a full-length mirror. He wanted to make sure that the suit would stay perfectly in line with his body as he danced, so there were a series of seams sewn into the jacket to ensure this flexibility.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are the most famous dance couple in the history of cinema. The couple made ten musical films together and worked with some of the greatest composers of the 20th century including Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern and Cole Porter. The Astaire and Rogers partnership was established with a successful formula of music, choreography, costume and set design, which were all brilliantly fused together.

The British Film Institute (BFI) acquired its costume collection for display at the Museum of the Moving Image, which existed on the South Bank in London between 1988 and 1999. The collection is made up of British, European, American and Chinese films and covers the period from the silent film era to the mid-1990s. It contains a wealth of historic and significant film costumes worn by major performers and designed by some of the 20th century’s most important film costume designers. The collection was transferred to the V&A in 2015.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (designed and made)

Date

1936 (made)

Artist/maker

Anderson & Sheppard

Descriptive line

Costume worn by Fred Astaire in the film Shall We Dance, made by Anderson and Sheppard Ltd., 1937

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Film and Cinema; Costumes

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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