18 September 2014

A Visit to FIDM with Nick Verreos

One of the highlights of my trip to Southern California was definitely our visit to the FIDM Museum & Galleries, a little gem tucked away on the ground floor of the Institute’s LA campus.

Lets be honest here—I kind of get bored in museums. I absolutely LOVE the idea of museums—a collection of unique items to be preserved and remembered—but sometimes they can be a little bit of a snooze-fest. Not so with FIDM. It’s expertly curated and designed (shocker, right?), and every display is more fascinating from the last. Even better? Our tour guide was the one and only Nick Verreos, one of my faaaavorite Project Runway alums ever! Nick is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and his unshakable excitement and obvious love of design easily roped all of us in.

One of my favorite exhibitions was the 8th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design. Every year, FIDM collects the best of the best from Emmy-nominated television, and each display is like a jump into action. It was fascinating to see how designers tailored costumes to their actors’ dimensions, and get a bit of insight on the art. The most dazzling display was, of course, the gorgeous handmade collection from Downton Abbey. Nick told us that costume designer Caroline McCall hand-sewed each and every costume for the lead characters. It’s not a detail most viewers would notice, but McCall’s attention to detail is what made the work so incredible—these rich women would have had all the clothes sewn to order, so that’s what the actors should wear.

Right beside the Emmy noms is a much smaller exhibit, “Bound to Impress: Corsets from The Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection.” While there are over 1,000 items in FIDM’s historical collection, these artfully curated pieces are UN. REAL. Until Shirley, the Director of Public Relations and Publicity, told me they were all original and authentic, I thought all of the clothes were reproductions! Not so. Most of the pieces are well over 200 years old and in pristine condition. But I was happy to keep those corsets and dresses on their mannequins—a girl’s gotta have room for ice cream, am I right?

 Bound to Impress: Corsets from The Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection – Dates: July 22, 2014–November 1, 2014; 10am–5pm; Tuesday through Saturday
 Even though I’m not very talented (read: 0% talented), I loved checking out the beautiful sketches from the Christian Esquevin Collection that made up FIDM’s “Designing Hollywood” exhibit. Here the walls are filled top-to-toe with illustrations of some of Hollywood’s most iconic costumes from some of its most iconic movies. Robert Redford sat alongside Marlene Deitrich and Ann Margaret outfitted in some of the first visualizations of their characters’ looks. If you’re an artist, or just a fan of pretty fashion illustrations, this one is a must-see.

Designing Hollywood: Sketches from the Christian Esquevin Collection – Dates: June 11, 2014- November 1, 2014; 10am–5pm, Tuesday through Saturday
 If you’ve ever been to the museum and galleries at FIDM—or another fashion museum you love—let me know!  And if you’re travelling to LA make sure you hit it up. Its also free, so now you have no excuse! And a big, big thank you to FIDM for hosting us and to Nick for being such a wonderful tour guide!

Xoxo, Molly

This experience was sponsored by Microsoft and Visit California, but all opinions are my own.

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