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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Cinephiles can get up close and personal with Austin Powers, Elle Woods and Spider-Man with the three-month exhibition “Fifty Designers/Fifty Costumes: Concept to Character,” at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences here. The show, says Costume Guild president and curator Deborah Nadoolman Landis, details the process that all costume designers undertake, whether designing for period or fantasy. “You’ll see a trenchcoat next to an 18th-century gown and Cruella de Vil next to Austin Powers.” While she adds, “There’s nothing I hate more than a costume on a dress form,” Landis chose to display each costume with its original concept sketch, as well as photographs, film clips and scripts. She points out one critical difference between these fantasy frocks and those worn on the reality runways: “When you wear Versace or Armani, it’s meant to be seen up close in 3-D, but our work is meant to be seen on a flat screen. It’s just supposed to look expensive.”

— Marcy Medina

This story first appeared in the October 5, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.