The costumes were designed and bought by James Acheson,. Many of these pieces are antique. They are from the private collection that was kept by the producer Jeremy Thomas (who single handedly raised the $25million budget for the movie) after filming. Prop Store sorted and catalogued the incredible inventory under the guidance and in collaboration with Jim Acheson.
"A High Consort's Vintage Navy Blue Informal Robe. This beautifully crafted piece appears to have been worn by one of the Emperor's High Consorts at various points, including when Reginald Johnston (Peter O'Toole) confronts the Lord Chamberlain to allow Pu Yi to wear a set of much needed spectacles, something the High Consorts do not agree with at all. The robe was made during the Qing Dynasty, placing it over one hundred years old. The navy blue silk garment is lined with pale blue silk, and features an extensive gold couched wave border at the bottom, the sleeve bands and collar are finely embroidered with multicoloured flowers and butterflies, and the main body displays elaborate roundels depicting traditional Chinese domestic scenes. It fastens at the front using contemporary metal knot buttons added by the production and remains in superb condition for its age."
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"Three sets of beaded Court Necklaces. Many of the members of Pu Yi's Imperial Court can be seen wearing necklaces of these styles throughout the movie. They are made of green polished glass, orange polished glass or red wooden beads with larger wooden spacers and several dangling additions, the main of which also features several polished stones edged with metal filigris. Do to age and storage some of the glass beads have cracked and are no longer present, but are otherwise in sound condition."
"A ladies lilac silk scarf worn in the Jeremy Thomas 1987 Oscar-winning drama The Last Emperor. The long length of pink silk has been painstakingly embroidered with colourful flowers dancing their way along the entire length in shades of blue, purple, white, green and red, measuring 109cm (43”). It appears to have been worn by one of the High Consorts, spotted in the procession when PuYi discovers he is no longer Emperor of China and other formal occasions. It is in a well worn but good condition."
A Living Statue's Cummerbund. The stunningly elaborate 'Living Statues' can be seen when the 3 year-old Pu Yi is brought before the Dowager Empress to be pronounced the next “Lord of Ten Thousand Years”, standing amongst the stone statues, and this would have been worn around the waist of one to help give the masses of fabric more shape. Made from red silk, it has been covered in intricate golden embroidery then pressed to look 'crumpled'. Sadly a little of the glossy golden effect to the thread has faded but is still a beautiful piece. There are modern canvass ties at either end that would have fastened at the back, and is generally in great condition.
"Mongolian Gentlemen's hats. These would have been worn by onlookers as the grown up Pu Yi (John Lone) is officially crowned as Emperor of Manchukuo in an outdoor ceremony. All four hats have a buckram base, decorated with with printed velveteen trimmed in blue silk, woven Indian cotton trimmed with metal filigris pieces, green, red and blue rayon brocade and green and red woven cotton trimmed in turquiose silk, and finally trimmed with Astrakhan and lambswool. They are all in good condition, but for one missing and one loose knot."
"A Mongolian Princess waistcoat worn in the 1987 multi Oscar-winning drama The Last Emperor. This formed part of one of the stunning costumes worn by the Princesses when the 15 year-old Pu-Yi (Wu Tao) wed's the 'old' government chosen first wife and Empress, 17-year old Wan Jung. The red rayon brocade waistcoat is overprinted in gold panels with panels of elaborately embroidered flowers, gold mesh piping and burgundy ties at the side. It remains in excellent condition with no size marked."
"A Mongolian Princess costume worn in the 1987 multi Oscar-winning drama The Last Emperor. This stunning costume was worn when the 15 year-old Pu-Yi (Wu Tao) wed's the 'old' government chosen first wife and Empress, 17-year old Wan Jung.
"The multi-layered costume consists of a thick white quilted gown with ties to the front, a red rayon brocade under robe overprinted in gold with panels in mulberry green and gold appliqué, high padded shoulders, tall collars, and cuffs trimmed in grey Astrakhan and Mongolian lambswool, and finally a waistcoat in maroon velvet and green brocade, overprinted in gold trimmed with antique fabric appliqués on the front and back panels. There are no sizes marked on this wonderful costume and it remains in excellent condition."
The robe features red and cream silk panels with elaborate silk appliquéd ties back and front, adorned with tassel fringing across the yolk and around the back, and a production used cream underrobe has been added to help complete the costume. The already beautiful garment comes with a gold mesh metal ceremonial headdress embellished with precious stones and tassel decorations. It creates a wonderful set from the movie and is in good condition for its age with some loose threads."
"A vintage Lama dance costume. This stunning robe was worn by one of the Lamas – a Tibetan Buddhist teacher – in an unknown scene. "The antique garment hails from the Qing Dynasty, making it at least one hundred years old, a breathtaking feat when you look at and appreciate the absolutely intricate detail the creator achieved so long ago. It features a plain blue lining which is where the simplicity stops, the main body is a delightfully rich purple with raspberry and orange panels, all decorated with a gold brocade of traditional flowers and symbols. The sleeves are flared and weighted, which when accompanied by the side pleated skirts allowed for dramatic movement when dancing. It has a single tie at the front and is missing the single button at the neck, and is in outstanding condition for its age."
"A pair of cream cotton under trousers worn in the 1987 multi Oscar-winning drama The Last Emperor. These simple pieces would have been worn beneath their colourful silk trousers as extra layers against the weather, and the wide legs and canvas ties make them a 'one size fits all'. "