Thursday, March 22, 2012

Revisiting the Elizabeth Dress..

This is a reproduction of the original
1588 Water-colour drawing by Isaac Oliver,
 Royal Library, Windsor
The original measures 12 inches by 8 inches.
Most who know me or my work, know that I challenged myself to create the dress that Queen Elizabeth I is wearing in the portrait by Isaac Oliver, 1588.  It is supposed to be the gown that she wore to St. Paul's to return thanks for the defeat of the Armada.

According to historian, Herbert Norris,  Tudor Costume and Fashion, Dover Publication, Inc. 1997,
"It is considered by authorities to be an excellent likeness of Queen Elizabeth...it is the earliest portrait of the Queen showing her dressed in full band or ruff, long stomacher, veil, and wheel-farthingale." (604)

It may appear to some as a bit gaudy but Norris' description sounds quite regal and I wanted to try and reproduce the gown as best I could.

"The farthingale in this picture shows the cart-wheel effect. The bodice, long hanging sleeves, and over-skirt are composed of white satin brocaded or embroidered with a gold scroll design.  The full sleeves, stomacher, and under-skirt with cart-wheel arrangement on top are of cloth of gold, and diagonol puffings of fine white silk: alternate intersections are decorated with groups of five pearls each, and rubies set in gold mounts, and a large pearl in the centre of each lozenge of gold foundation." (604-605)

Here is the beginning stages of my work on the
gown.  This is the over-skirt and bodice.  I have since decided to do the beading and rework the pleating.  It needs more stability for one and the under farthingale will not support the weight so that will be changed as well.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Check Out The Video Page!

I'm always interested in how other designers put together their shows and I have discovered some wonderful youtube videos that take us behind the scenes.  Click on the tab at the top of this site, "Videos You May Enjoy" and watch them now! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Which Movie Has the Best Costumes?

The Golden Globe Awards and the Oscar Awards are just around the corner and so we look to the big screen to decide which movie has some pretty fantastic costumes.  Which do you like (present and past)?

I have many favorite costume designers for film including Edith Head, Irene Sharaff, Cecil Beaton, and Walter Plunkett, just to name some of the more popular Oscar award-winning designers.

When doing research for a production, costume designers often look to film in order to inspire.  Sometimes the period costumes are exceptional for reference, like the 1995 film Sense and Sensibility, and sometimes the costumes are fun and creative, like the wheelers in the 1985 film Return to Oz.

Go to the movies, have some popcorn, and check out the costumes!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Our Journey Into the Creative World of Costume Design


I wanted to begin our journey into the creative world of Costume Design by telling you about something that happened to me while I was working at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

We were preparing for the very first Christmas Parade for the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  I worked as a costumer and because of my past experience in the theatre, I was selected to be the Dresser (or Costume Assistant) for one of the guest co-hosts, Joan Lunden, who was at that time the co-host from ABC’s Good Morning America.

It was two nights before Christmas and was the “dress rehearsal” for the production team.  At 3:00 am on Main Street, I experienced one magical moment.  The night air was brisk.  The streets were still.  The Christmas lights were twinkling. For just that moment, I could feel all the wonder and excitement that begins a Christmas morning!

It’s that feeling, that magic, I experience with each opening night of a theatrical production.  All of the long hours, hard work, and sometimes anxiety seem to melt away.

I love being a Costume Designer and I hope to share with you some of that wonder, but also some of the hard work that goes into the experience of being a Costume Designer.  For prospective designers and costumers, may it useful to your journey.  For all others, may you gain insight and appreciation to the craft and enjoy that much more the costumes you see on the stage, in film, and on television.

Let’s begin!