Lights, Costumes, Action! Film Fashion At Shambellie House

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 06 July 2006
a photograph of a young woman looking at a dress on a tailor's mannequin before a formal portrait of a man in robes and eighteenth century style wig

Drama student, Rebecca Queen from Dumfries Academy admires a costume worn by Nicole Kidman in Portrait of a Lady. Picture © Paul Dodds

A selection of stunning film costumes worn by Hollywood stars including Nicole Kidman, Elizabeth Taylor, Johnny Depp, Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich are currently occupying centre stage at Shambellie House Museum of Costume, near Dumfries.

A Century of Fashion in Films marks the 150th anniversary of the Victorian country house and charts developments in fashion from the 1850s – when Shambellie House was built – through to the 1960s.

Running until October 31 2006, the exhibition includes costumes worn by the stars in films such as The Others, Portrait of a Lady and Gosford Park, each selected from the collections of leading film, theatre and television costumier Cosprop.

a tailor's mannequin with an ornate dress on it

1850s style purple silk dress - worn by Maggie Smith in Washington Square.

Included is the stunning turquoise blue striped silk dress and overdress worn by Nicole Kidman in Portrait of a Lady and the cream linen suit of her co-star in the movie, John Malkovich.

Kidman’s 1940s-style wool skirt and jacket from her performance as Grace Stewart in the psychological ghost story, The Others, is also included.

The exhibition also highlights the way the advances in dressmaking technology, such as the discovery of new dyes, fabrics and techniques, influenced the fashions of each period. It documents important historical events from each decade and also details significant events at Shambellie House and in the lives of its inhabitants, the Stewart family.

a tailor's mannequin with an ornate dress on it

1910-style pink dress with lace and embroidery - worn by Sandra Bullock in Love and War.

“We wanted to celebrate 150 years of Shambellie House with something special and I believe we have achieved that with this impressive collection of costumes,” said Margaret Roberts, general manager at the House and co-curator of the exhibition.

The collection continues with a beautiful 1880s-style purple outfit, complete withbustle skirt in checked silk, worn by Elizabeth Taylor in Toscanini and a 1910-style pink silk dress worn by Sandra Bullock in Love and War.

Other items on display include a dark burgundy suit worn by Johnny Depp inFrom Hell, two costumes from The Golden Bowl worn by Kate Beckinsale andNick Nolte, as well as dresses from the wardrobes of Dame Maggie Smith inGosford Park and Washington Square.

a tailor's mannequin with an ornate dress on it

1880s style outfit with purple velvet bodice - worn by Elizabeth Taylor in Toscanini

“This is a fantastic exhibition which uses costumes worn by some of the world’smost famous film stars to tell the story of an extremely important century in the history of fashion,” added Margaret. “We hope as many people as possible will be able to come to see it at first hand in the coming months.”

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