There’s a basement in central London that’s currently filled with movie costumes from one of the original cyberpunk cult movies

The film, Hackers about a bunch of, well, computer hackers, is very much of its time, when the internet wasn’t that well known, and “hackers” were seen as nerds who weren’t popular at school. Then this film came along, and let’s be candid, it’s pretty bloody awful as plotlines and scripts go, but the visuals were astonishing, and the music pumping.

Away with nerds in basements, and hello to early cyberpunk outfits, great music, and yes, even a girl as a hacker — and a good one at that.

Made at the time that clubbing fashion outlet Cyberdog was getting started in Camden, it’s not a surprise that the design for the film seems to feel as if it’s stepped out of London’s club scene.

The costume designer, Roger K Burton reportedly didn’t set out to do that deliberately, trying to create a more timeless fusion of different styles, and yet it seems very mid-1990s in the end.

It’s exciting, uplifting, slightly political, and from a period of modest budget filmmaking that was more experimental than we might find today.

The film was a commercial flop at the time, but has since gained a bit of a cult following, which is easier to understand if you watch the film when not entirely sober.

Unusually for a film, the costumes were offered to the designer, and he’s kept them in storage ever since — and now they’re on display, along with rarely seen before photos from the sets and of the actors in their outfits.

The exhibition is at the Horse Hospital, just around the back of Russell Square tube station. It’s the sort of venue you ring a bell to get in, then head down the ramp to the basement.

Down here, looking not unlike a frozen moment in time as if the lights went on in a nightclub and everyone stood still, is the exhibition.

You don’t need to know the film to enjoy the exhibition, just for the sheer fashion sense of it all. You do need to book in advance here, and entry is by donation, which goes towards saving the Horse Hospital from closure.


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