Broadway costume designer Willa Kim honored at new exhibit on display at Lincoln Center
One of Broadway's celebrated costume designers is the subject of a new exhibit. Willa Kim won two Tony Awards for "Sophisticated Ladies" in 1981 and "The Will Rogers Follies" in 1991, and was nominated for four others.
The late designer's work is now on display at the New York Public Library For The Performing Arts in the exhibit entitled "The Wondrous Willa Kim: Costume Designs For Actors And Dancers."
Kim was known for her attention to not only the look of each costume, but its functionality on stage, according to curator Bobbi Owen.
"She was brilliant with color and texture. She never used a piece of fabric that came directly out of a fabric store. It always had to be dyed or painted," says Owen, who authored a book on Kim's career in design. "Willa Kim did not like to design for any actor or dancer unless she’d seen them move in it first.”
Kim donated her archive of costume drawings and other materials to the library upon her death in 2016 at the age of 99. Many of the costumes on view are being loaned from other individuals, according to the library.
Kim designed the costumes for numerous Broadway shows including the 1994 revival of "Grease," "Legs Diamond," "Victor Victoria" and "The Front Page,” as well as plays and operas. She also prolifically designed costumes for ballet productions including dozens for Feld Ballet in New York City.
The exhibit opens to the public on Feb. 23 and will be up through Aug. 19. Admission is free.
The New York Public Library For The Performing Arts is located at Lincoln Center.