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Not currently on display at the V&A

Theatre Costume

1969 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This costume was made for Ginger Rogers in the title role of Jerry Herman's musical Mame, at Drury Lane in 1969. It was designed by Robert Mackintosh, and made by the star New York costumier Barbara Matera; in design, cut and colour, it is a bold outfit, designed to register over the large spaces of the theatre and announce the presence of a star. It marries into the vogue for orange which characterises the late 1960s and 1970s.

At that time, few Hollywood stars of Ginger Rogers's stature had appeared on the London stage and producers Bernard Delfont and Harold Fielding ensured that the 57-year-old was treated like a star from the moment she stepped off the boat at Southampton, wearing a coat with fur-trimmed hood and thigh-length boots. A regimental band band played songs from the show as dockers cavorted for the hundreds of photographers and reporters. She then boarded the Ginger Rogers Mame Express to Waterloo Station where similar ballyhoo awaited her before an open horse-drawn landau took her to the Savoy Hotel. At Drury Lane, the star dressing room was redecorated in pink silks and satins. It was a hugely expensive publicity exercise by producers, but as her salary was £250,000 for a year's run, they needed all the publicity they could get.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 6 parts.
(Some alternative part names are also shown below)
  • Theatre Costume
  • Jump-Suit
  • Theatre Costume
  • Skirt
  • Theatre Costume
  • Shoe
  • Theatre Costume
  • Shoe
  • Theatre Costume
  • Jewellery
  • Earrings
  • Theatre Costume
  • Jewellery
  • Earrings
Brief Description
Costume designed by Robert Mackintosh and worn by Ginger Rogers as Mame in Jerry Herman's musical Mame, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, 1969.
Physical Description
Fitted v-necked jump-suit with full length sleeves in synthetic leaf patterned orange and silver fabric, trimmed with embroidered orange chiffon, worn with a wrap around overskirt, short to front and long and very full to the back, in the same orange and silver fabric with the chiffon trimming and, at the waistband, a vast orange satin 'bow' with fringed tail. The suit is worn with orange high heeled shoes, trimmed with a matching bow, and gold and glass chandelier earrings.
Dimensions
  • Height: 150cm
  • Width: 110cm
  • Depth: 130cm
Measurements include the whole costume as mounted on a mannequin, and are approximate. They have been taken as a guide for display purposes, and allow for variations of positioning.
Credit line
Given by Harold Fielding
Object history
This is one of the costumes designed by Robert Mackintosh, executed by Barbara Matera, for Ginger Rogers in the title role of Jerry Herman's musical Mame, produced at Drury Lane, London, in 1969.

The costume was put up for sale at Sotheby's on 21 August 1990, Lot 39.



Historical significance: Mame is an example of a major Hollywood musical star appearing on stage in Britain. Mame in the musical version by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman was produced by Harold Fielding at Drury Lane in 1969 starring Ginger Rogers - her first appearance on the English stage. Her costumes were designed by Robert Mackintosh to enhance Rogers' superstar status; they were made by Barbara Matera - the English costumier who settled in America where she became one of the leading theatre costume makers.
Association
Summary
This costume was made for Ginger Rogers in the title role of Jerry Herman's musical Mame, at Drury Lane in 1969. It was designed by Robert Mackintosh, and made by the star New York costumier Barbara Matera; in design, cut and colour, it is a bold outfit, designed to register over the large spaces of the theatre and announce the presence of a star. It marries into the vogue for orange which characterises the late 1960s and 1970s.



At that time, few Hollywood stars of Ginger Rogers's stature had appeared on the London stage and producers Bernard Delfont and Harold Fielding ensured that the 57-year-old was treated like a star from the moment she stepped off the boat at Southampton, wearing a coat with fur-trimmed hood and thigh-length boots. A regimental band band played songs from the show as dockers cavorted for the hundreds of photographers and reporters. She then boarded the Ginger Rogers Mame Express to Waterloo Station where similar ballyhoo awaited her before an open horse-drawn landau took her to the Savoy Hotel. At Drury Lane, the star dressing room was redecorated in pink silks and satins. It was a hugely expensive publicity exercise by producers, but as her salary was £250,000 for a year's run, they needed all the publicity they could get.
Collection
Accession Number
S.103:1/6-2000

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record createdNovember 8, 2000
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