Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Not currently on display at the V&A
On short term loan out for exhibition

Wig

1950 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The Broadway and West End productions of A Streetcar Named Desire guaranteed a Hollywood film version and Leigh joined original Broadway cast members Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden. While preparing for the film version, Leigh enjoyed a long correspondence with director Elia Kazan, who had directed the Broadway play.

Leigh frequently used wigs to enhance her portrayal of different characters. She was eager to make herself appear less glamorous for the role of Blanche DuBois and entrusted Stanley Hall, her wig maker, to aid her transformation. Hall wrote, 'The texture of hair in a wig can be important and tells an immediate story about the character. In A Streetcar Named Desire I feel it was essential for Blanche to have impoverished, rather thin hair of no particular colour to point out her highly nervous worn out character'.

Opening in 1951, the film was a critical and commercial success and garnered a record 12 Academy Award nominations including Costume Design and was the first film to be recognised in all four acting categories. As well as winning the Academy Award, Leigh won the New York Critics Circle Award and was the first recipient of the BAFTA for Best Actress.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Human hair hooked on mesh cap
Brief Description
Wig worn by Vivien Leigh in the film A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Credit line
Acquired with the support of Louise Knowles and Brian Peters.
Summary
The Broadway and West End productions of A Streetcar Named Desire guaranteed a Hollywood film version and Leigh joined original Broadway cast members Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden. While preparing for the film version, Leigh enjoyed a long correspondence with director Elia Kazan, who had directed the Broadway play.



Leigh frequently used wigs to enhance her portrayal of different characters. She was eager to make herself appear less glamorous for the role of Blanche DuBois and entrusted Stanley Hall, her wig maker, to aid her transformation. Hall wrote, 'The texture of hair in a wig can be important and tells an immediate story about the character. In A Streetcar Named Desire I feel it was essential for Blanche to have impoverished, rather thin hair of no particular colour to point out her highly nervous worn out character'.



Opening in 1951, the film was a critical and commercial success and garnered a record 12 Academy Award nominations including Costume Design and was the first film to be recognised in all four acting categories. As well as winning the Academy Award, Leigh won the New York Critics Circle Award and was the first recipient of the BAFTA for Best Actress.

Collection
Accession Number
S.1017-2017

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record createdSeptember 28, 2017
Record URL