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Iconic Hollywood Fashion Collection Comes to San Francisco

From the original dress Judy Garland was to wear in the Wizard of Oz to a one-of-kind Donna Karan dress custom-made for Barbra Streisand and Joan Crawford’s jewels, fans of old Hollywood’s fabled glamour will find much to ogle in a new exhibition on view at the Metreon.

Culled from the extensive collection of Oakland memorabilia collector Barry Barsamian, the showing of over 200 pieces worn or owned by Hollywood television and film stars includes vintage gowns, costumes and all manner of accessories touched by silver screen greats, including Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Bob Hope and many others.

“People come in, and they see things that they haven’t seen in years, and it makes them recollect,” muses Barsamian, who began collecting apparel and ephemera from the stars over three decades ago.

Among the items on display are a coat once owned by Marilyn Monroe, one of Barbara Eden’s costumes from I Dream of Jeannie, a dress adorned in chandelier prisms worn by Phyllis Diller, an ostrich and duck feather hat that belonged to Audrey Hepburn, gloves worn by Lana Turner and the list goes on and on.

A fount of classic television and film knowledge who counts Hollywood icons such as Jane Russell and Shirley Temple Black among his personal friends, Barsamian treats visitors to stories and tidbits from each item’s past as they make their way through the collection.

And for those too young to remember the stars of yesteryear, there are a few items on display from current Hollywood A-listers, including Madonna and Charlize Theron.

“I think she’s just the most glamorous, sophisticated star and kind of mimics the good ‘ole days, and not a lot of stars do,” Barsamian says of Theron.

Hollywood Legends: The Barry Barsamian Collection is on view Wednesday to Sunday from 12 to 8 p.m. through June 2010 on the ground level of the Metreon, 101 4th St., 415-644-0575. Admission is $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and teens.