Costumes take centre stage in exhibition

Olivia Heron arranging  a dress from the 2008 film 'The Duchess' worn by Keira Knightley, next to a dress worn by Cate Blanchett  in Elizabeth I.
Olivia Heron arranging a dress from the 2008 film 'The Duchess' worn by Keira Knightley, next to a dress worn by Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth I.
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THEY are the women who changed the world - royalty, rebels and writers.

Now the costumes that were used in film portrayals of some of the greatest women of the last 450 years are to go on display at Harrogate’s Royal Pump Room Museum.

Judith Bright from Cosprop e is pictured pushing a clothes rail  containing the dress worn by Madonna in Evita, past some  costumes including  Rene Zellweger's in Miss Potter (left) and Helena Bonham-Carter's  costume worn in The King's Speech

Judith Bright from Cosprop e is pictured pushing a clothes rail containing the dress worn by Madonna in Evita, past some costumes including Rene Zellweger's in Miss Potter (left) and Helena Bonham-Carter's costume worn in The King's Speech

The exhibition includes costumes worn in fictional portrayals of the likes of Elizabeth I, Eva Peron, Virginia Wolf and Jane Austen.

Some of the costumes on display help to reveal a different side of some of the women.

The bronze gauze dress worn by Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth represents the simpler gowns that the young Queen of England would have worn in private, whereas in public her extravagant dress was intended to emphasise her power, announce her dominant personality and capture the imagination of her subjects.

Helena Bonham Carter’s blue outfit worn in The King’s Speech, when she played the future Queen Mother, the wife of Prince Albert, features a hat in a style often worn by her in real life to increase her stature.

An extravagant quilted gold gown worn by Keira Knightley when she played Georgiana Cavendish in The Duchess, reflects her reputation as a socialite and fashion icon famed for her beauty and charisma.

Other costumes include a brown suit worrn by Renee Zellweger as Beatrix Potter in Miss Potter, a cerise taffeta gorn work by Madonna playing Eva Peron in Evita, and a satin dress worn by Nicole Kidman when she played Virginia Woolf in The Hours.

Assistant curator Olivia Heron said: “I’m really excited to be able to bring this star-studded selection of costume to Harrogate this autumn. Visitors can look forward to taking a journey through fashion that highlights the fantastic achievements of historic women.”

Wonderful Women opens on Saturday and runs until December 31.