Just Above Sunset
June 11, 2006 - Fooling the Eye in Hollywood

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Palace Costume and Prop Company

This in an interesting film industry supplier just down the hill, a company that rents vintage clothing to the entertainment industry, and not open to the public at all - but it always catches your eye as you drive by.

The place is Palace Costume and Prop Company, 835 North Fairfax Avenue - founded in 1970 after starting out as a vintage clothing store down on Melrose Avenue.

From the Los Angeles Business Journal, October 26, 1998, this -


Melody Barnett's costumes have been featured in thousands of television shows and movies, and studio costume designers rave about her store's huge selection and excellent customer service. On a recent afternoon, the phone at her Palace Costume & Prop Co. was ringing off the hook as a steady stream of costume designers and stylists came into the store.

"It's very accessible. I can't think of any other place in L.A. that's like Palace Costume where you call just walk in once you're on account and not have to make an appointment or give them your first child," said costume designer Mark Bridges, who has worked in the industry for 15 years.

... The offerings include more than half a million pieces of distinctive clothing - racks and racks of men's jackets and shirts, women's fur coats and exotic costumes and jewelry from Africa, China and India.

In fact, Barnett's collections have adorned the bodies of the beautiful and famous in thousands of television shows and movies, including "Austin Powers," "Chinatown," "Forrest Gump" and "What's Love Got To Do With It."

... "Every film with a period piece in it probably utilizes Palace Costume," said Tom Bronson, director of the costume department at Burbank-based Walt Disney Studios. "Her clothes are in great shape. Some people think she's overprotective of her clothes. If shoots run longer than expected she will charge more and she should. It's her livelihood and it's extremely difficult to replace or even find an authentic piece of vintage clothing."

Years of amassing everything from Victorian dresses to '80s power suits have required Barnett to keep expanding her space, adding about 1,000 square feet to the shop every year.

... Rather than put unsightly iron gates across the building's exterior. Barnett had a wooden/stucco facade constructed that features hand-painted characters in period costumes.


And that's what you see here.

It's very odd, next to a nursing home, across the street from a seedy hot dog stand, and in a neighborhood where most everyone speaks Russian. On the other hand, the site says Palace provided some of the some of the costumes for Lasse Hallström's Chocolat (2000, Miramax), so Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Johnny Depp might have been wearing what was rented here. And that was a classy film, or wanted to be.

Of course places not open to the public should offer the public something, and in this case the public is offered eye candy.

Palace Costume and Prop Company

Palace Costume and Prop Company

Palace Costume and Prop Company

Palace Costume and Prop Company

Palace Costume and Prop Company

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me

These were shot with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June 2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0

The original large-format raw files are available upon request.

Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik

The inclusion of any text from others is quotation for the purpose of illustration and commentary, as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law.  See the Legal Notice Regarding Fair Use for the relevant citation.
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