Hollywood Magic at Western Costume - Atlas Obscura

North Hollywood, California

Hollywood Magic at Western Costume

A behind the scenes adventure at one of the most renowned costume houses in the world.

Join Atlas Obscura and Western Costume Research Director and Archivist Leighton Bowers on a unique behind the scenes tour of a magical place where almost anything seems possible, and where even the most outlandish designs become real.

For over a 100 years Western Costume has helped create some of the most legendary costumes for the world of cinema, worn by stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Nicholson and many others.

Today, Western Costume is a one-stop-shop for costume designers, costumers, and stylists. Some of the best artisans in the world work in this unassuming space in North Hollywood. 

We will begin with a tour of the massive facility, exploring the vast collection of costumes and accoutrements stored in the warehouse. Their sprawling warehouse holds an extensive rental stock of styles spanning decades; workrooms dedicated to the design and manufacture of shoes, hats and clothing; a research library covering everything relating to dress; a fabric store with vintage and modern fabrics and trims; and a costume supply store with everything from safety pins to shoe grips. 

Then, we'll move to the research library and archive, where Leighton will share the process of how a project comes to life, and where designers come to grow their ideas and formulate their creative vision. She will share the stories of the organization and why celebrating the Art of the Costume is so essential.


From a 5th grade paper on Civil War uniforms to a college term paper on Elizabethan sumptuary laws, Leighton has been doing costume research as long as she can remember. After graduating from Grinnell College with a BA in History, she went on to earn an MFA in Costume Design from UCLA, during which time she worked as a research assistant to Deborah Nadoolman Landis on her book Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design. She subsequently worked as an Assistant Costume Designer on feature films, including Captain America: The First Avenger and Goosebumps, before coming to work at Western Costume in 2014.


  • Ages 11 and up. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. 
  • Bring your curiosity and questions. The team at Western Costume loves to share their passion for costumes and the craft that goes into it. 
  • Detailed parking instructions will be sent out prior to the event. 


Email Carlyle Coash at carlyle.coash@atlasobscura.com

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Advance Tickets Only. All Sales Final. No Refunds or Exchanges.