Gone With The Wind Gowns To Make Historic Appearance in Austin

GWTH curtain dress
photo; Pete Smith Courtesy: Harry Ransom Center

When it comes to iconic films, several come to mind. Gone With The Wind will certainly make the list.  Made in 1939, the film received ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Vivien Leigh as Scarlett) and Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel as Mammy).  It was a box office blockbuster and record-setting film for its time.
Isn’t it funny how we can remember what we wore or where we were when a historic event happened in our life?   I remember the first time I watched the film from my college alma mater, student union at Western Illinois University packed with students. Don’t get me started about those hard plastic cafeteria chairs.  It was certainly a challenge to enjoy a four-hour movie sitting straight up in a chair. The one thing I’ll never forget: the amazing gowns worn by Vivien Leigh’s character Scarlett O’Hara designed by acclaimed costume designer Walter Plunkett.
If movie costumes are your passion, you’re in luck. I’m talking like once-in-more- than-two-decades kind of lucky.  Three original gowns worn by Vivien Leigh, including the iconic green curtain dress made by Mammy, will be exhibited together for first time in more than twenty-five years at “The Making of Gone With The Wind” exhibit opening September 9, 2014 at the Ransom Center in Austin, TX.
The conservation of these gowns has been years in the making and when I personally “got wind” of the news of this exhibit, I knew it would be as momentous as a run in with Rhett Butler in the library at Twelve Oaks. In 2010, people from all around the world contributed more than $30,000 to help with the cost in preserving the costumes.  A true fashion labor of love.
Photo: Pete Smith Courtesy: Harry Ransom Center

“‘The Making of ‘Gone with the Wind’ ” is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition on this film,” said Steve Wilson, exhibition curator and the Ransom Center’s curator of film.  “The David O. Selznick archive, which is the Center’s largest collection, form the backbone of the exhibition, placing the Ransom Center in a unique position to tell the story of the making of this epic film.” The Harry Ransom Center exhibition “The Making of Gone With The Wind” commemorates the 75th anniversary of the movie and will feature more than 300 items from the iconic movie.
The exhibit opens September 9, 2014 – January 4, 2015 at the Harry Ransom Center located at 301 W. 21st Street, Austin, TX.  Admission is free and donations are welcome.  Tours begin at noon every day, Thursday at 6 pm and Saturdays/Sundays at 2pm.
To see these iconic gowns will certainly be a memorable moment in your life and frankly my dear fashionistas, if you love fashion, you should give a damn.
(featured black and white photo above:  Courtesy Harry Ransom Center)
Video –   Green Velvet Dressing Gown
Video –  Green Curtain Dress
Video – Making of Gone With The Wind
For more info go to The Harry Ranson Center’s website.

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