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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Smithsonian is lending its pair of ruby slippers from MGM’s Wizard of Oz to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London for an exhibit on Hollywood costume. This will be the first time any original pair of the slippers is displayed with one of the blue and white dresses that Judy Garland wore through most of the movie.

The Guardian reported:
The slippers were designed along with all the other costumes for the film by Adrian Greenberg – always just known as Adrian – the chief costume designer at MGM studios, whose favourite childhood book was Frank L Baum's 1900 classic, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

In the original screenplay, Dorothy's shoes were silver: scriptwriter Noel Langley is credited with changing this to "ruby slippers", which would give a more striking colour contrast when she is magically transported from black-and-white, storm-torn Kansas to the Technicolor magical world of Oz.

They were made in Los Angeles by a veteran shoemaker, Joe Napoli, from red satin shoes with a one and a half inch heel, covered in red sequins hand-stitched on to fine chiffon, with a centre bow edged with red glass beads and crystals. Visitors to the exhibition may be surprised to see that they are actually a deep winey garnet colour, designed to photograph as scarlet in Technicolor.
These aren’t the only ruby slippers to survive from the movie. The studio had several pairs made, two as prototypes and then perhaps half a dozen in the final design. There were pairs for Garland and for her double. There were shoes for dancing and shoes kept pristine for close-ups. Most of those that remain are in private hands. One belongs to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. And one pair was stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in 2005 and is still missing.


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