A dress on display
On display, the Gone with the Wind nightdress invites museum spectators to imagine Vivien Leigh wearing the costume on set, but also to remember how the film made them feel and where they were when they first saw it.
V&A Theatre and Screen Arts curator Keith Lodwick has spoken about how these kinds of artefacts affect people when they are on display. When the green curtain dress from Gone with the Wind was on display the V&A in 2012, for example, it was one of the most popular items in the exhibition. Keith Lodwick reflected on how these costumes ‘seem to evoke so much emotion to people’s lives […] clothing and costume is the nearest you get to the person'.
Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) Assistant Curator Shelley Tobin has similarly discussed the powerul qualities of costume, both in the archive on and display. She explains that:
'There’s something about garments preserving the shape of the person that they were made for […] once it’s on the mannequin and it’s mounted properly you are almost […] populating it with the person. You’re recreating that space inside the gown that’s giving you a sense of the person who once inhabited it at that time.'