THE CREATIVE PROCESS
A ONE-OF-KIND STORY DESERVES A ONE-OF-A-KIND COSTUME DESIGN.
AN ACTOR'S COSTUME DESIGNER.
As an actor's costume designer, I create with the intention of supporting the actor, singer, dancer and/or performer to feel emotionally connected to their character(s) thru their attire. I develop trust in the fitting room, and provide each performer with clothing and accessories that allow space to explore and play. Once onstage (and off), my costumes are a valuable tool for the actor to utilize with ease to emote the complexities of their character(s) leading to the greatest of performances with the highest marks.
Photo Credit: Erin Alcorn
Photo Credit: Emma Marhefka
Photo Credit: Shakoria Davis
Quote from a 'Thank You' Note:
"I am overcome with emotion every time I put on [the] clothes.
Every bit feels personal to the character and makes slipping into this world feel so natural."
Henry Benson, Opera Singer
A D I R E C T O R' S V I S I O N.
In our 1:1 and collaborative team meeting(s), the director shares their overall conceptual vision for the story, and I inquire about their personal connection(s), interest(s), objective(s), and point-of-view to understand the aesthetic goal(s) for the production.
An evocative research image provided, in our 1:1 meeting, by directors Greg Eldridge and Daria Zholnerova for "Fellow Travelers." Their newsprint inspiration to vividly define a political world was the lead point-of-view for the development of each character's dress: color as a sense of identity and security.
T H E B I G P I C T U R E.
Thus the research process begins, I take the collected information from the director's meeting(s) to explore my own personal relationship with the piece. With inspiration from the scenic design, a carefully curated one-of-a-kind world is built with artifacts, photos, textiles and more! A fun, unique exploration - you have to experience it to see it!
A few conceptual research images shared with the director and design team in a production meeting.
A N A C T O R' S C H A R A C T E R I S B O R N.
After a positive go-ahead on the conceptual research, I continue with in-depth character studies scene-by-scene. I always notate the director's interests and requests (i.e., color, style, accessories). Then I examine the budget and accessible resources, and I execute!
The director's desired a 1950's style wedding gown to evolve the dramatic arc of a characer in a short scene. One dress was requested for each of the double cast "Lucy's," but the gowns weren't required. Yet, the request was honored on-time and in-budget.
T H E D E S I G N I S I N T H E D E T A I L S.
As I source the absolue best costume for the actor and their character, I truly create within the details. To guarantee delivery, I often source and illustrate simultaneously - a dual process that requires a director's trust and faith.
The final costume rendering for Lucy's wedding gown for opera singer Candance Williams.
A G R O U P E F F O R T.
Next, I begin to collaborate with the costume shop to organize and plan for fittings, builds, alterations, crafts and the like. The goal is to productively and equitably accomplish the required tasks, and to make any necessary accommodations with ease and flexibility.
In addition, I work jointly with the design team to integrate the costumes into their disciplines including wigs/hair-and-makeup, lighting, sound, props, stage management, etc.
A P E R F E C T F I T.
In the fittings, I continue my collaborative effort to create with the performers. Considering their own physical appearance, temperament and process, I aspire to 'transform' the performer prior to their first step on stage.
A factual research image of a 1950's wedding gown was examined for the high-collar, long sleeves, and lace detailing. These characteristics were sought after for the actual vintage dress that was pulled.
"C U R T A I N U P/ ACTION!"
In final fittings and/or dress rehershal, the director's last requests are completed, and finishing touches are accomplished. By opening night on stage or before the cameras on set, the actor's costumes are pressed, steamed, and ready!
In "Fellow Traveler's," opera singer Candace William's enters with a single spotlight as 'Lucy' to symbolize the institution of marriage in 1950's Washington D.C.