The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) has unveiled Orry-Kelly: Dressing Hollywood, the world premiere exhibition celebrating the life and work of one of Australia’s most successful artistic exports to Hollywood.
A talented costume designer who hailed from Kiama, New South Wales, Orry-Kelly (1897-1964) was responsible for some of the most memorable and magical visions to grace our screens, and holds a unique place in cinema history as the first Australian costume designer to win three Academy Awards.
He was also one of the few Australians to thrive within the powerful Hollywood studio system, designing gowns for iconic films including 42nd Street (1933), Jezebel (1938), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Casablanca (1942), Auntie Mame (1958), and Gypsy (1962).
As chief costume designer at Warner Bros. between 1932 and 1944, followed by subsequent contracts at the other major Hollywood studios, Orry amassed a staggering 295 film credits in a career that spanned more than three decades.
Orry-Kelly: Dressing Hollywood is the first ever exhibition to take a comprehensive look at this immensely talented artist, telling a rags-to-riches story about the legendary Hollywood costume designer and genuine Aussie larrikin.
ACMI Director & CEO, Katrina Sedgwick said the exhibition brings home the untold story of the boy from ‘Oz’ who lived a colourful existence both on and off the set.
“We are absolutely delighted to cast the spotlight on Hollywood’s gifted star-maker who, until now, has remained relatively unknown to Australians,” said Sedgwick. “The exhibition explores Orry’s legacy, illuminating his remarkable design processes, award-winning collaborations with the silver screen’s greatest stars, and his unapologetic way of life.”
On display will be original costumes, design sketches, production photographs, publicity materials, studio correspondence and film clips, alongside Orry’s oil paintings, personal photographs and letters. It will also feature the three Oscars Orry received for An American in Paris (1951), Les Girls (1957) and Some Like it Hot (1959) – exhibited for the very first time anywhere in the world.
Orry-Kelly: Dressing Hollywood coincides with the publication of Orry-Kelly’s long-lost memoir Women I’ve Undressed, which was found in a pillowcase by Orry’s great-niece in 2014 and is available for purchase through the ACMI Shop. The exhibition is presented in association with Gillian Armstrong’s recently released feature documentary, Women He’s Undressed (2015), and is complemented by an Orry-Kelly film retrospective, screening at ACMI from Saturday 5 September to Saturday 28 November 2015.
Orry-Kelly: Dressing Hollywood
Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square, Melbourne
Exhibition continues to 17 January 2015
For more information, visit: www.acmi.net.au/orry-kelly for details.
Image: courtesy of ACMI