Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture presents exclusive Disney costume exhibition

by Samantha Davis-Friedman

After a long year of closure and reduced in-person programming, the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) in Seattle, Wash. is looking forward to the June 6, 2021 debut of Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume, a Disney costume exhibition that has never been seen outside of Disney’s D23 Expo.

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With more than 70 original pieces from Walt Disney Archives, including ball gowns, sorcerers’ capes, military uniforms, tiaras, and of course glass slippers, the exhibition delves into the vision, process, and craft that create costumes worn by some of Disney’s most memorable heroes and villains.

“In film, television, and theater, costuming is a tremendously powerful tool for storytelling and character development,” said MoPOP executive director Alexis Lee. “Disney, in particular, is a master of the art and sets a standard for using wardrobe as a device for creative expression.”

Highlights of Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume includes a gallery featuring ten Cinderella-related pieces including ball gowns, tiaras, slippers, and other accessories from “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” (1997), “Into the Woods” (2014), and the hit ABC series “Once Upon a Time.” One highlight of the Cinderella gallery is the blue gown worn by Lily James in the live-action “Cinderella” (2015), created from more than 270 yards of fabric and adorned with over 10,000 crystals.

The exhibition’s main gallery will be divided into three sections: Disney Heroes, Disney Villains, and Spaces Between, an area reserved for Disney’s most complex characters.

The Disney Heroes section includes Belle’s village dress and ballgown worn by Emma Watson in “Beauty and the Beast” (2017), Giselle and Prince Edward’s costumes worn by Amy Adams and James Marsden in “Enchanted,” and two iconic Mary Poppins “traveling dresses” — one worn by Julie Andrews in the original 1964 film and the other worn by Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns” (2019).

museum of pop culture
Costume worn by Colon O’Donoghue in “Once Upon a Time”
Photo by Samantha Davis-Friedman

On display in the Disney Villains section are costumes worn by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the trio of witches in “Hocus Pocus (1993) and the dresses worn by Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera as the stepsisters in “Cinderella(2015).

Costumes in the Spaces Between section include Angelina Jolie’s gown from “Maleficent” (2014), as well as costumes worn by Lana Parrilla as the Evil Queen and Colin O’Donoghue as Captain Hook in “Once Upon a Time.

The exhibition will also feature a “Magic Mirror” inspired by “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and designed by MoPOP. Using touchless technology and a depth camera that senses visitors as they approach, the mirror will allow guests to virtually “try on” costumes to see how they might look as Cinderella, Maleficent, Jack Sparrow, or Mary Poppins.

Along with the Disney costume exhibition, visitors to the Museum of Pop Culture can also see the following items on display:

  • Costumes from science fiction, horror, and fantasy films, including the black leather jacket from “The Terminator” and Dorothy’s dress from “The Wizard of Oz.”
  • Props from popular television and films, including hoverboards from “Back to the Future Part II,” Mr. Pointy stake from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and Harry Potter’s eyeglasses.
  • An extensive music collection, including handwritten lyrics by Jimi Hendrix, a Kurt Cobain cardigan in “Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses,” and in Pearl Jam: Home and Away, the towering letters from the front of the band’s debut album, “Ten.”
  • Musical instruments in the Guitar Gallery include pieces used by Woody Guthrie, Brandi Carlile, Hank Williams, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Carrie Brownstein, and Nancy Wilson.

Click here for more information about the Museum of Pop Culture.

Check out this video of the Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume exhibit at D23 Expo in 2019:

2019 D23 Expo: Disney Costumes Exhibit

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