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The Source: Clothes Make The Character In McNay Exhibit

Nathan Cone / TPR

Without a word, an actors costume sets the character: temperament, social status, attitude are all communicated through the clothes. The McNay Art Museum's exhibit, "Cut! Costume and the Cinema" details the many ways costume tells you what you need to know about a character.

In her work as a costume designer, Jenny Beavan has worked on costumes for period pieces ranging from "A Room with A View," for which she won an Oscar, to the Robert Downey Jr. "Sherlock Holmes" series, to her ninth Oscar nomination on "The King's Speech." 

Of "The Kings Speech," she said in an LA Times interview that she was able to communicate the disparity of wealth between Colin Firth's King George VI and Geoffrey Rush's Lionel Logue by ensuring the king's clothing was all tailor made while Rush's were off the shelf and had arms that were too short at times.

  • Jenny Beavan, Oscar-winning costume designer
  • Jody Blake, McNay Art Museum Curator
Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive