Regarded as a Hollywood historian, LARRY MCQUEEN has been stockpiling movie costumes for almost 30 years. Over the past few decades, he has shown his collection which includes everything from Sharon Stone’s white interrogation scene dress from Basic Instinct to Marlene Dietrich’s opera ensemble from the movieAngel in nearly 40 exhibits around the world.
It all began, as many of history’s great love stories do, with a queen. Greta Garbo’s Queen Christina, to be precise. Though her royal costume had humbly appeared only briefly in a movie that won no awards, he had to have it. The $14,000 purchase price was a steal, as McQueen points out. The dress recently stood in all its velvety, Bishop-sleeved glory at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and SciencesHollywood Costume exhibit.
McQueen’s dreams of being a part of the entertainment industry fuelled his strategic, if sometimes emotional, pursuit. His collection now includes nearly 700 complete ensembles, but most of them rarely see the light of day. Instead, they are packed under tissue in acid-free boxes and stored at a loft in downtown L.A. McQueen once lent a Marie Antoinette dress (designed for Norma Shearer) to the The New York Times for Salma Hayek to wear in a photo shoot, but that was an exception to his rule: Nobody wears his investments. Not even Madonna (some ofwhose Evi-ta costumes he owns). The singer’s stylist approached himyears ago to borrow a Mae West piece. He said no, without regret. So what’s next? I would give my eye or teeth, he says, to have a piece from Maleficent.
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