The Palace Wild

Featuring: Mimi Haddon

Curated By

Aline Smithson

“Thing-power perhaps has the rhetorical advantage of calling to mind a childhood sense of the world as filled with all sorts of animate beings, some human, some not, some organic, some not. It draws attention to an efficacy of objects in excess of the human meanings, designs, or purposes they express or serve”.

-Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things

The Palace Costume and Prop Company houses over 500,000 items of vintage clothing and other items, each telling its own story of culture and history. For over 50 years, owner Melody Barnett has lovingly curated the collection which serves as one of Hollywood’s premiere costume rental companies.

While familiarizing herself with the vintage clothing archive at Palace Costume, artist Mimi Haddon began imagining the ritual and play that might occur if the clothing were to self assemble into mythological beings after hours.

With the help of friends and dancers from Heidi Duckler Dance, Haddon documents the collaboration where the human figure as armature helps to breathe life into the original stories that the clothing is longing to tell.

Make sure to also check out Image + Imagination: Creating Characters with the Camera Workshop with Mimi Haddon and Aline Smithson at Photoville LA.


Mimi Haddon uses costume as a tool to explore the themes of archetypes and excess. Through her use of color, light and awkward body references, she infuses a sense of surrealism into her creature-like sculptures. She attributes her fascination with combining humor and post-apocalyptic themes to the many thousands of hours watching I Love Lucy and Twilight Zone reruns as a child.

Haddon’s clients include The New Yorker, Rodarte and Getty Images. In 2018 she graduated with an MFA in Fiber Art from CSULB where she expanded her knowledge of sculpture, textiles and costume. She is a frequent collaborator with Heidi Duckler Dance and is a professor of photography and design at FIDM.

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