Dressing the Stars exhibition, Woodhorn Museum, Ashington

PUBLISHED: 10:45 26 February 2013 | UPDATED: 22:21 26 February 2013

A dress worn by Natassja Kinski in Tess, designed by Robert Powell

A dress worn by Natassja Kinski in Tess, designed by Robert Powell

An exhibition in Ashington puts the spotlight on some of the behind-the-scenes stars of the film industry

While the actors get top billing, the people who make them look the part are often just a name in the small print, way down the list of credits. But the unsung heroes of some of the biggest films ever made are taking centre stage in an exhibition in Northumberland.

British costume designers are being given their moment in the limelight at the Woodhorn Museum where an exhibition is showcasing 40 outfits which were all nominated for, or won, awards.

The Dressing the Stars exhibition includes breathtaking gowns from Elizabeth, Tess and The Duchess, regal outfits from The Kings Speech, Henry V, and outfits worn by Joaquin Phoenix and Johnny Depp in Gladiator and Pirates of the Caribbean. Also on show is the Lawrence Oliviers costume from the 1948 film of Hamlet, the first to win an Oscar for a British designer.

The exhibition is being curated by Yvonne Hellin-Hobbs, a former wardrobe mistress who worked on films including Sense and Sensibility, Batman and Alien III. She said: British designers do very well these days, partly because theyre not working on rom-coms all the time, they have some really meaty subjects to get their teeth into, such as Elizabeth and the Kings Speech, really in-depth period films, although theres some great costumes in more contemporary films too.

The British film industry is doing quite well at the moment and in terms of costume designers, we are producing a lot of very talented people.
A lot of work goes into creating the costumes and the ones in this exhibition have all won, or been nominated for, BAFTAs or Oscars.

The costumes on display at the Ashington museum were worn by stars including Keira Knightley, Kate Winslett, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Orlando Bloom and Cate Blanchett. The exhibition, which runs until June 2, also gives information about the designers and the process involved in creating an award winning costume.

Dressing the Stars is on at the Woodhorn Museum until June 2. For more information go to experiencewoodhorn.com.

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