Posts Tagged ‘WCC History’

L. L. Burns

Western Costume Company’s earliest stock catered primarily to western films. A 1914 advertisement boasts “Indian, Cowboy, Spanish, Mission, Miner, Trapper Costumes and Properties For Stage and Photoplay.” This specialty, in fact, is the reason company was named Western Costume. But founder L. L. Burns’s relationship with the West — and specifically with Native Americans — was deeper than the costumes he stocked.

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Archive Discoveries

In addition to the research library, Western Costume houses a costume archive with pieces worn by silent legends, like Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino, through modern stars like Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale. Determining what film each piece was worn in can be tedious, but in the past year and a half we have managed to identify close to 3000 pieces.

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Franz Josef’s Carriage

For fifty years, Western Costume owned one of Austrian Emperor Franz Josef’s royal carriages. The carriage, along with boatloads of other Austrian relics, was brought to Los Angeles in the 1920s for an Erich von Stroheim film. Some of these Habsburg artifacts are still in Western’s collection ninety years later, having appeared in countless films; the ultimate fate of the carriage, though, is a mystery.

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