Popcorn Venus The Business of Hollywood Fashion

August 24, 2002 – August 31, 2003

With gilt and feathers, a glint of fabric and a flash of smoldering eyes and red lipstick, the movie industry known as Hollywood stirred a steamy cauldron of glamorous iconographic images that shaped the way American women dressed.

Hollywood served up glamour to the style-hungry masses, who, with the onset of the Depression, were looking for an escape from their everyday lives. By the early 1930s the average woman could purchase an inexpensive copy of a gown she saw on the big screen through her local department store or Sears catalog. If she could not find the size or color she desired she could simply buy the toile, or pattern, for the garment and make it herself.

Through designer drawings, photographs, costumes and artifacts, this exhibition demonstrated how Hollywood could turn the average woman into a Popcorn Venus. Popcorn Venus ran in conjunction with Filming San Diego: Hollywood’s Backlot, an exhibit presenting the history of the motion picture industry in San Diego and the evolution of San Diego’s image throughout a century of movies.