Costuming Fashion: Inspiring Audience Attire From The Stage

April 17, 2010 • Magazine

Costuming Fashion: Inspiring Audience Attire From The Stage

Costuming Fashion: Inspiring Audience Attire From The Stage

Mon, 2000-04-17 07:00

Rachel Yeomans

Long hours of work and obligation many times leads one to find an outlet completely unrelated to the power suit. For myself, I garner an obsession with fashion and also for theatre. Therefore, I write for fantastic fashion publications such as Second City Style, and I am involved in two local theatre companies – one of which is hosting a fundraiser based on a fantasy novel and the other is featuring a premier of its next show of the season centering on a political and quite dark theme.

These stagings are featuring two very different themes, however both have me immediately drawn towards the concept of costuming. Fashion has always served as a form of expression for the individual wearer, and its role in theatre plays a very important part. It symbolizes the character traits, displays the era during which the story takes place, evokes a reaction from the audience, and so much more.

In fact, isn’t Fashion Week just another theatrical production? So many designers have taken their designs and transformed them into larger than life costumes, often times set on a stage or paraded down a runway – which is a type of stage unto itself.

The primary difference I see between the runway fashions and the fashions of the theatre are the retail costs. Granted, there are some theatres that I’m sure can afford a designer garb for their leading ladies. However, in the types of theatre companies I am referring to, that is not the case. I have gone on a quest to see how costumes of the stages can be taken down into the audience of the House – for a much lower price point.

For a production centered on fantasy, usually a full costume is needed – however that can be achieved many times with merely a mask and an all-black ensemble. For characters who need to be front and center (and by no means are allowed to blend in), you would require a garment with color and pattern and if applicable, loud accessories. Fortunately, accessories can be found for very affordable costs from the resale store to your local Kohl’s or Target.

When representing a different time period, it is important to keep the garment simple and solid and again, to allow the accessories to take it through time. Add a cloche, a brooch, sequins, long gloves, a military belt, a cape, etc., and you just added a whole new dimension to your attire. It also allows flexibility to transform the same outfit in several different ways stretching your dollars even further.

Notice that nothing I’ve described here is so outlandish that you can’t attempt to work some of the concepts into your own attire (except for the masks unless you’re attending a costumed ball).

So take note next time you see a stage production; look on it in a similar way that you would view a runway show or become inspired by a magazine fashion spread. If actors can transform their characters with the addition of a brooch or a pair of suspenders, then why can’t you transform your pair of jeans and t-shirt into something completely different?

For as Shakespeare reminds us, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…”. So let us play from our runway inspirations and prepare for our next act of fashion – all while staying within our season’s budget.

1. RACHEL Rachel Roy Cascade Ruffle Dress $119
2. Kimberly Ovitz Spring 2010
3. Candie’s Rhinestone Paper Fedora $12
4. Jan Michaels Heart Pendant $56
5. LaROK Vegas Vacation Jacket $263.90
6. Diane Von Furstenberg Clooney Ovalberg Runway $133.99
7. Marni Cocoon Runway Jacket $427.99
8. Alexander McQueen Fall 2010 Ready-to-Wear

Image Layout: Tiffany Carlin

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