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Glenn Close gives IU students, faculty a glimpse of the costumes that gave life to her characters

Oct 31, 2017

When Glenn Close visited the Indiana University Bloomington campus on Oct. 27, she gave students and faculty a glimpse into her personal costume collection.

During her presentation, Close shared photos that took the audience on a tour through the many dressing rooms she has occupied during her career spanning more than four decades.

Glenn Close sitting in a lecture hall.
Glenn Close presented her costume collection to an audience of School of Art, Architecture + Design students and faculty.Photo by Eric Rudd, IU Communications

Close highlighted a few of her favorite ensembles, including the iconic black leather jacket her character wore to pour acid on the car of Michael Douglas’ character’ in “Fatal Attraction”; the ball gown Claire wears as she holds Christopher Walken’s robotic head in the “Stepford Wives”; the myriad of costumes Cruella de Vil wears, including muffs, cigarette holders and a skunk purse, in “101 Dalmatians and “102 Dalmatians”; and the futuristic uniform she wore for her role as Nova Prime in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

But to Close, each of these pieces are more than just elements of a costume.

“What a character wears has everything to do with who that character is,” she said, speaking to a crowd of students and faculty in IU’s School of Art, Architecture + Design. “The costume is a product of an intense collaboration with the designers that helped me to construct the character I was asked to play.”

So after a few years in the industry, Close worked a provision into her contract that allows her to keep all of the original costumes she puts on to transform herself into a character.

“Because of the artistry, I couldn’t let them go to a costume house, get rented out, fall apart and get reworked until they were unrecognizable,” she said.

And now those pieces with live at Indiana University. During her visit, Close announced she will be donating her costume assemblage to the Sage Fashion Collection at Indiana University.

Her relationship with IU began four years ago, when she connected with Distinguished Professor of Sociology Bernice Pescosolido, whom Close asked to chair the scientific advisory board of her nonprofit organization, Bring Change to Mind. Soon after, Close visited campus and sat in on one of Pescosolido’s courses, where students were designing campaigns focused on reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.

“Their ideas blew me away,” she said.

So much so that she partnered with IU Bloomington to launch U Bring Change to Mind, a pilot program to bring the national campaign to college students. Launched in 2014, the student-run program will develop, test and evaluate programs and activities for college students centered on destigmatizing mental health.

“If we can make a toolbox with events and actions that have actually been proven to make a difference in awareness and acceptance, then that’s a huge contribution this campus has made,” Close said.

This is Close’s third visit to campus, and she said the students are what keep her coming back.

Close participated in U Bring Change to Mind’s “Bring in the Booty” campus scavenger hunt and met with the organization’s student leaders to hear about the campaign’s progress during her stay in Bloomington from Oct. 25 to 29,

Close also observed several mental health classes; hosted a Master Class in Acting with Master of Fine Arts students in the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance; attended the School of Art, Architecture + Design’s open studio night; and accepted a Women Leading the Way Award from Laurie Burns McRobbie at a Bicentennial Campaign event.

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