So You Want to be an Oscar-Nominated Costume Designer?

Creative inspiration in LA for acclaimed costume designer Arianne Phillips

Arianne Phillips is an acclaimed costume designer, fashion editor and stylist. Phillips has received three Oscar nominations for Best Costume Design: James Mangold's Walk the Line (2005), Madonna's directorial debut, W.E. (2011) and Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019). Her film career also includes the upcoming Joker: Folie à Deux, 3:10 to Yuma (2007), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001), Girl, Interrupted (1999), The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996) and The Crow (1994).

Read on for Arianne's Top 10 places in Los Angeles where she finds creative inspiration and dives deep into research.

Bruce Lee exhibit at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Bruce Lee exhibit at the Academy Museum | Photo: Joshua White, AMPAS

1. Academy Museum

"For inspiration and research, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is a wonderful showcase of the art of filmmaking. The museum has a state-of-the-art theater with an exciting calendar of remastered film screenings, not to mention the gift shop is one of my favorite places to buy film-centric gifts."

Margaret Herrick Library
Margaret Herrick Library | Instagram: @mr.christiancontreras

2. Margaret Herrick Library

"One of my favorite places for research, the Margaret Herrick Library is an incredible library archive and research facility for all things film, including books, photos, scripts, costume design illustrations, production design sketches, movie posters etc." It's considered the main archive of research material for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Napoleonic costumes at Western Costume Co.
Napoleonic costumes | Photo: Western Costume Co, Facebook

3. Western Costume Co.

Founded in 1912, Western Costume Co. has dressed Hollywood icons for more than a century, from the silent era (Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Buster Keaton, Rudolph Valentino et al) to classic films (Gone with the Wind, Rebecca, Cleopatra), musicals (The King and I, the original West Side Story, The Sound of Music), comedies (Some Like It Hot, Young Frankenstein, The Jerk), to modern blockbusters like Top Gun and Black Panther. Western has also provided costumes for TV series like Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire and Deadwood.

Spanning 125,000 square feet, Western's massive collection is staggering - eight miles of costumes numbering 2.5 million pieces. Services include rentals, a research library, fabric store, tailoring, millinery shop and custom footwear.

While Western primarily caters to the industry, you don't have to be working on a movie or TV show to rent a costume. Rentals are available to the public by appointment - check out the Private Rental Policy for details.

Pickwick Vintage Show at ROW DTLA
Pickwick Vintage Show at ROW DTLA | Instagram: @pickwickvintage
Jewelry at Pickwick Vintage Show
Pickwick Vintage Show at ROW DTLA | Instagram: @pickwickvintage

4. Pickwick Vintage Show

"Located at ROW DTLA, Pickwick Vintage Show is a monthly vintage market with various vintage clothing vendors. I have purchased many pieces that have made it into my films and photo shoots."

The next Pickwick is taking place on Saturday, April 20. Tickets are on sale at Eventbrite: $20 for 10am entry and $10 for entry at noon. Follow @pickwickvintage for info on upcoming shows.

Bikes and Hikes at the Hollywood Sign
Photo: Bikes and Hikes

5. Hollywood Sign

"I never tire of a hike to the Hollywood Sign - it is an icon and a hike to the top offers an incredible view of all of Los Angeles."

"Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse" exhibit at LACMA
Installation photograph,"Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse" at LACMA | Photo: © Museum Associates/LACMA


"The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is one of the most important and exciting museums in the country, if not the world. Always a first stop for research and inspiration. Notable is Sharon Takeda - Senior Curator and Department Head of Costumes and Textiles - who has been immeasurable in her support and help to me."

Famous Plus women's fashion at the Slauson Super Mall
Famous Plus | Photo: Slauson Super Mall
All City Footwear at the Slauson Super Mall
All City Footwear | Photo: Slauson Super Mall

7. Slauson Super Mall

"A classic South LA institution, the Slauson Swap Meet [aka Slauson Super Mall] is a must-stop for streetwear inspiration and people watching. I like to visit on a Saturday when it is busiest with up to 150 vendors. A regular haunt for me especially when I'm working on music videos, photo shoots or a contemporary film."

"Best 100 Japanese Posters (1945 - 1989)" exhibition at JACCC
"Best 100 Japanese Posters (1945 - 1989)" | Photo: JACCC
Primary image for Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

8. Little Tokyo

"I love shopping, eating and the culture in Little Tokyo from the curio shops, to the street food, to the Japanese grocery stores, to the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) where various exhibitions and performances take place. There's also The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA and the Japanese American National Museum."

Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth in the Arts District
Photo: Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth
The Last Bookstore Book Tunnel
The Last Bookstore  |  Photo: Discover Los Angeles

9. Bookstores

Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth - "Amazing bookstore with an incredible collection of art and design books."

The Last Bookstore - "22,000 square feet of new and used books, comic books, rare books and more."

Kung fu double feature at the New Beverly Cinema
Photo: New Beverly Cinema, Facebook
Primary image for Vista Theatre
Vista Theatre

10. The New Beverly & the Vista

"The New Beverly Cinema and the newly restored Vista Theater are owned by Quentin Tarantino. Both theaters boast always-on-film screenings in 35mm and 70mm. The New Beverly offers classic double bills while the Vista offers first run films."