When you think of costume design for film, television and theatre there is one name that springs to mind: Angels The Costumiers. Having been around for 175 years, this famous family run business has provided many of the costumes for film, theatre and television shows that we all know and love.

This extraordinary exhibition celebrates the achievements from its early and humble beginnings for providing outfits for actors and performers taking to the stage in music halls in the Victorian period all the way through to providing costumes for oscar winning films such as Titanic and The Queen.

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Tom Baker’s outfit for Doctor Who

Taking visitors on a journey through a family history as well as the business that seems from the information provided to suggest a lot of rivalry and bitterness about the best way to run the business as it grew, it reveals a passion and understanding of how essential a costume can be in making something memorable.

Dressed by Angels (Elizabethan)

One such example is the famous Only Fools and Horses sketch in which Del Boy and Rodney run down the street dressed as Batman and Robin, frightening some muggers. This sketch wouldn’t have been half as memorable had it not been for the costumes that they wore. Or how about Indiana Jones’s legendary costume – the impact of a costume to make a character come to life and add personality is invaluable and this is what the exhibition emphasises.

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Costumes from Downtown Abbey

While there is plenty of eye-catching outfits on display and the designs for certain outfits are beautiful to look at, there seems to be a lack of information with regards to how the costume was made and when there is the dim lighting makes it a bit of a struggle to read in places.

However, what is clear throughout the exhibition is the way in which Angels pay extraordinary attention to detail – many of which you don’t get a chance to see on screen or close up and it turn shows the level of quality and experience that the company has had over the last 175 years.

Although it could be argued that there is still plenty of space for a few more items to have been displayed, it is nice to see that it hasn’t been  crowded with costumes, but allows each piece to have its own space to show off.

For those who are interested in the designs of costumes, there are plenty available to see and to fascinate. for example, there are drawings of designs for Andi Mcdowell’s wedding dress scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral as well as various other designs that have sadly not been labelled.

It is a fascinating exhibition for those who are interested in costumes, but could just do with a little more detail to make it even better.

Dressed by Angels is at the Old Truman Brewery until the 3rd January. To find out more about the exhibition and to book tickets visit: http://dressedbyangels.co.uk

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