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Costume - Lady in the Dark
  • Lady in the Dark
    Head, Edith, born 1897 - died 1981
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Lady in the Dark

  • Object:

    Costume

  • Place of origin:

    Hollywood (designed and made)

  • Date:

    1944

  • Artist/Maker:

    Head, Edith, born 1897 - died 1981 (designer)

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the British Film Institute

  • Museum number:

    S.207:1 to 2-2015

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Film costume worn by Ginger Rogers as Liza Elliott in Lady in the Dark, designed by Edith Head, 1944. Rogers wore this costume for the ‘The Saga of Jenny’ sequence in the musical, which was staged in a circus. In 1944, this single costume was the most expensive ever produced in Hollywood. Legendary designer Edith Head created the costume, with strong influence from Mitchell Leisen, a former costume designer turned film director. Rogers wore two versions of the dress, one for singing and static close-ups and a lighter version for dancing.

According to Edith Head in Edith Head’s Hollywood, ‘as Liza Elliott in Lady in the Dark, Ginger was the fashion-editor of the world’s greatest fashion magazine. Her costumes were superlative. She was constantly having daydreams that she was a glamorous sexpot instead of a tailored-editor type and the dreams created a perfect plot excuse for fabulous gowns. It has come to be known as the mink dress, but actually it was a mink over-skirt that was lined with sequins, worn over a matching sequined bodysuit. It cost about thirty-five thousand dollars to make in those days and couldn’t be made today without a limitless wardrobe budget’.

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

Hollywood (designed and made)

Date

1944

Artist/maker

Head, Edith, born 1897 - died 1981 (designer)

Descriptive line

Film costume worn by Ginger Rogers as Liza Elliott in Lady in the Dark, designed by Edith Head, 1944

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Film and Cinema; Costumes

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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