Archive: The Star Collection
The Star Collection
Preserving Our Heritage
Adjacent to the Research Library is Western’s Costume's archive, The Star Collection. Here, we are preserving our costume heritage by safekeeping historically significant costumes and artifacts from such films as The Great Dictator (1941) and The Sound of Music (1965). For decades, Western operated on a make-to-rent basis, meaning costumes were custom made in our workrooms, rented to productions, then returned to our stock for subsequent productions. In the 1980s, Western Costume employees began putting aside notable costumes they recognized among the rental racks and removing them from circulation. This collection has grown to encompass more than 7000 artifacts, including costumes and accessories, sketches, production research materials, fitting photos, invoices, dress forms, patterns, shoe lasts, film stills, and the 20th Century Fox wardrobe binders. The Star Collections spans the history of film making, with memorable pieces from classic silent films, such as Son of the Sheik (1926); Academy Award winners like The King and I (1956) and Some Like It Hot (1959); and modern classics, like 3:10 to Yuma (2007) and The Artist (2012).
Western Costume recognizes that certain pieces have value beyond their material or rental value, and that these pieces should be preserved for future generations of film scholars and film lovers. Costume design is a vital component of visual storytelling, but is often overlooked in critical studies of film. We hope that our archive can be a resource to better understand the purpose and importance of costumes, and the process that takes them from sketch to screen.
Visit the Western Costume Research Library and Archive Blog: westerncostumeresearch.com