The Construction of the 2012 Academy Award Main Stage Drapery

by RB 2. April 2012 09:00

Here's the backstory behind the retro 1920's style main drape, viewed by nearly 40 million people on the night of the 2012 Academy Awards. Enlisted with less than 2 months before the air date, Rose Brand fabricated this beautifully designed and elaborately detailed curtain for Hollywood's biggest event.

The Academy sought to recreate the aura of the opulent movie palaces of the early 20th century. The vision included a swag valance that had hung in the Kodak Theatre many years ago. Production Designer, John Myhre, provided Rose Brand with photographs of historic movie theatre stages that represented the look and feel that he wanted to achieve. With John’s design in hand, we searched for the right fabric and trim to recreate an old time masterpiece.

While many theatre curtains are made from inherently flame retardant fabric to insure the flame retardant’s longevity, we knew that our show curtain needed to last just a single night. This expanded the variety of fabrics from which we could choose the perfect weight, texture and color to match the designer's objectives. After testing a number of fabrics, the Academy chose Rose Brand’s 21 Oz. Marvel Velour in a custom dyed, rich red color.

With the fabric set, attention turned to the development of the trim and fringe. The design called for 4’8” high trim that consisted of 204 hand sewn medallions, a sequin lace, woven gold banding, and a custom 30” bouillon fringe. Rose Brand flew Brent Porter, the head of our East Coast Sewing Department, to our LA facility to supervise the rapid development of the spectacularly ornate curtain.

To insure that there were no surprises during installation at the Kodak theatre, we transported the finished 40' x 80' curtain to a nearby community college theatre where it was installed on stage and inspected. It hung beautifully.

The 2012 Academy Awards grand drape weighed nearly 2,000 pounds, and it required 8 people to move both of the custom boxes that Rose Brand built to transport it. It was sewn at 150% fullness and featured 210 linear feet of fringe and a custom band. It was a spectacular recreation of a retro 1920’s grand drape, exactly as the Academy had envisioned it.

 

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2/3/2012 12:10:52 PM #

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