The first time I visit The Collection, I am told it’s a bit empty. This is great news because it means it’s working. We are in the thick of pilot season and costume designers have made good use of the highly curated high-fashion rental room run out of Warner Bros. Studios Costume Department. This is also hard to believe because when I walk in, it’s like I’m walking into a sartorial wonderland. With warehouse-high ceilings and racks and racks of mint-condition clothing, shoes, and accessories organized by style, decade, or designer, this place is any Costume Designer’s dream, and hardly seems empty.
The Collection, which officially opened on February 2nd of this year, is a gathering of high-end assets from Warner Bros. productions which can be “shopped” by costume teams and stylists. Pieces are rented on an as-needed basis, either weekly or for an entire production, but they can’t be used for stunts or anything that would destroy them. The pieces in The Collection are hand-picked from the bevy of clothes and accessories that get turned in for use at the Warner Bros. rental house. Once archives takes the “hero items” and anything that would be kept for historical needs, the team at The Collection gets to pick out the best of the best – expensive designer items that might deserve or need a little extra care and attention.
And care and attention they get! The Collection is equipped to protect pieces against light fade and other environmental damage, and even has a temperature controlled room across the hall for all of the costumes from The Great Gatsby. The main goals at The Collection? Preservation and excellent service. Some of these pieces, like an exquisite white gown with sewn-on feathers, are fragile and require extra care. As part of The Collection, they get that extra care, thus giving the pieces a longer lifespan and providing a much better value to The Collection’s core customers; Costume Designers.
The Collection is a brilliant way for Costume Designers to get expensive pieces on their talent without breaking their budgets. As Tangi Crawford, Director of the Warner Bros. Costume Department, tells me, “It’s like Rodeo Drive at your fingertips.” Instead of shopping at Dior and Diane von Furstenberg, designers can come to The Collection and shop an entire DvF section or cruise through vintage pieces from the 1940s onward.
My second visit comes at a time when many of the pieces that had been out on rental are back, and while I couldn’t have imagined the room looking more vibrant and full than the first time, I now see what they meant. There are perfectly picked racks of menswear; blazers, dress shirts, leather jackets, and slacks; women’s dresses, skirts, overcoats, and blouses; pieces organized by designers, sizes, fabric, and style.
Then, there’s the floor-to-ceiling shoe corner. With a library ladder that sweeps around the racks of sneakers, pumps, boots, sandals, flats, loafers, and every other type of shoe imaginable, and a cute seating area complete with industry magazines, the shoe section of The Collection is a perfect backdrop for Warner Bros.’ video interview series. And as for the quality of the shoes, it doesn’t get better than this. YSL? There. Christian Louboutin? Of course. Jeremy Scott for adidas? Yep! Gucci, Prada, Jimmy Choo? Check, check, check!
And not to worry, you can pull your entire look together with the accessories of The Collection. No inch of space is unused, with hats suspended from the walls near the ceilings, glass display cases of all different styles of jewelry and sunglasses, a wall of handbags, and ties and scarves in every color of the rainbow.
Taking in about 30 new pieces a day, The Collection continues to grow and be an incredible resource for Costume Designers looking for high-fashion pieces without breaking the bank. And while The Collection is only open to costume teams, we all get to enjoy the benefits of seeing actors from our favorite films and television shows wearing amazing pieces expertly chosen from the magnificently curated racks of The Collection.