Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Film Costume: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

By Jessica Noone

The costume worn by Dr. Frank-N-Furter, played by Tim Curry, showcases the personality of the character upon first glance. Designed by Sue Blane, who also designed the costumes for the original London stage production, the costume features a corset, garter belt, fishnet tights and high heels, in addition to feminine accessories such as a pearl necklace and overdone makeup. Frank-N-Furter is a transsexual mad scientist who owns the mansion where Brad and Janet get stranded. The costume is seen when these two wholesome teens discover the house and people who are unlike anything they have ever seen. Tim Curry gains power in this costume, as he reappropriates feminine clothing for himself in an obvious manner. He is dressing in drag but does not wear a wig, nor does he try to hide the fact that he is actually a man. This character is the most powerful in the film, controlling who gets to leave the house and taking advantage of his guests and servants. Gender is meaningless for Dr. Frank-N-Furter; he dresses how he wants to, while maintaining his masculinity. The bizarre aspects of the movie, such as costumes which go against all convention, have transformed this film into one with a cult following.

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