Costume Designers

1 Views      
''Before there is a design, there is a mental image,'' writes Marcia Dixcy Jory in The Ingénue in White. ''Whether this image proceeds from a lifetime of seeing and accumulating or emanates mysteriously from some unconscious creative spring is interesting to debate.''

A costume designer dreams, creates, and gives life to that image. She weaves her creative vision with that of a director. And in the end, beauty is embodied by fabrics, colors, textures, and accessories. With her vision, we can experience the extravagance of the Renaissance in Hamlet. We can envision southern charm in Oklahoma. And we can convince ourselves that cats can dance in Cats.

Responsible for designing or collecting the production's entire wardrobe, the costume designer dresses the cast of a production. From hats, glasses, gloves, and pocket squares to dresses, slacks, shirts, and jackets, the costume designer selects the appropriate costumes for the characters, taking into consideration the time period and style of the production and the director's point of view. The costume designer may also coordinate with the wigs and makeup teams to create a complete look.



There are three types of costume designers:

Freelance designers: these designers are hired for productions and may work on several pieces at once. They do not have to work on location. Payment comes in three installments: "upon hire, on the delivery of final renderings, and [on] opening night of the production," says Wikipedia.

Residential designers: these designers are hired by a specific theater to work on several productions over a period of time, ranging from a single summer program to several years. Typically, residential designers work "on location."

Academic designers: these designers are often professors who instruct at schools. While their main job is teaching, they may also work as residential designers or freelance designers, depending on the amount of free time they have.

Two specific costume designers who have created award-worthy costumes include John Napier (for Cats) and Susan Hilferty (for Wicked).
  • Cats: John Napier created the stunning costumes for the musical Cats, winning a Tony Award for Best Costume Design in 1983. Wearing colored leotards, srunchy knee socks, and long furry tails, the dancers transform from humans to cats the moment they set paw — er, foot — on the stage. Cat-like ears and furry manes complete the look. Though all are cats, each character looks different — Old Deuteronomy, a large and wise cat, has a thick grey coat of fur, while Rum Tum Tugger, the "rebel of the group," is dressed in black with a wild mane.

  • Wicked: According to costume designer Susan Hilferty, "My goal was to create a third world, a world that we considered to be a parallel universe. It's a world where animals can talk, so we know it's not our world. It's a world that deals with a kind of inventiveness — that's that we might call magic. The boundaries of the world are different than anything we know or are familiar with, but at the same time, the issues for the people of this world of Oz are in many cases the same kind of issues we deal with. So I knew it had to be something that was of the imagination but in some ways had to thread back to things that we knew."

On the net:Costume Design

Actors Theatre

The Magic Garment: Principles of Costume Design If this article has helped you in some way, will you say thanks by sharing it through a share, like, a link, or an email to someone you think would appreciate the reference.

Popular tags:

 clothing  SPECS  costume designers  jackets  vision  wigs  hats  cloths  costumes  Best Costume Design