Fans Save Gone with the Wind Costumes

Thanks to donations from over 600 people in North America (and some beyond) $30,000 has been raised to restore now fragile dresses from Gone with the Wind. They do give a damn, etc.

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas rolled out a campaign that took just three weeks to gather funds. The center plans to restore five gowns that were all worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara.

Jill Morena, collection assistant for the Ransom Center commented on the state of the costumes, which although had been housed in a temperature controlled environment were still in a state of disrepair:

Most costumes are not constructed to last beyond the production of the film nor are they finished in the same way as a ready-to-wear garment. We’ve taken steps to prevent further damage, but we want to be able to safely display and share the dresses.

Gone with the Wind received a total of ten Academy Award nominations, though not for Costume Design as that was not introduced until 1948. Created by Walter Plunkett, the film’s Civil War period outfits and gowns were perhaps more dramatic than entirely historically accurate. They form a romanticised view of a traumatic time, much like the movie itself.

Those costumes up for restoration include Scarlett’s wedding dress, a blue velvet peignoir, a burgundy ball gown, a green velvet dressing gown and, most pleasing of all, her famous green velvet ‘curtain dress’. They will be fitted on specially made mannequins and housed in glass display cases.

Despite Gone with the Wind often being branded as overblown and even racist in retrospect, it is still a huge spectacle piece and an important part of cinema history. Nice to see that the costumes are recognised as being a significant part of this legacy and treated with the reverence they deserve.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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