Film has always been entranced by the cosmic and the infinite, leading to an enduring love affair with futuristic design, art and fashion. In the late nineteenth century, stage performer Loïe Fuller first united cloth and light to conjure up an out-of-this-world vision in her dazzling lantern dances, complete with projections of the moon’s surface across her body. The films of Georges Méliès introduced into cinematic clothing the elements of fantasy and transformation, including a journey to outer space in A Trip to the Moon (1902).The celestial and the lunar were popular subjects in early projections, while even the technologies themselves exerted a powerful hold on the imagination. Designing, building and using them was a key aspect of imagining a future world.
A selection of original costume designs, photographs, posters and publicity material from the BFI National Archive will go on display from 25th September – 11th January in the exhibition ‘Fashioning the Future’ as part of the major BFI season, Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder.