Title

THE INTEGRATION OF HISTORIC PERIODS IN COSTUME DESIGN

Presenter Information

Staci Weigum

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

As productions turn away from classic Shakespeare, integrating costumes from two periods becomes more popular. This research project focuses on what makes costume integration successful. A successful integration must be visually compelling, but still give characters depth and tell the story of the play. Though I am not the first to delve into anachronistic design, there exists no research to help young designers find success.

By examining Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, and Richard III, I have pinpointed the key aspects of each production that assist the design. While my own experiences have merged Elizabethan with the 1950s, other designers have merged Elizabethan with contemporary and even a rock concert theme. By analyzing a variety of productions, connecting threads helped establish “rules” for designers.

Through this research, I have established guidelines for maintaining an anachronistic design while still telling a story. One method establishes the silhouette of one period while combining the details, such as fabric and accessories, of another period, creating an equal representation of the two. A second option creates a world blended equally of the two periods, in which it becomes timeless and unique to the world of the play. A third option assigns opposing groups to different periods, establishing visual conflict. Many more may exist, but the overall key to costume integration is to define how each period is represented. When no rules exist, there is no cohesion of ideas. Costumes help tell a story and without guidance, that story is lost.

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Apr 15th, 3:00 PM Apr 15th, 4:00 PM

THE INTEGRATION OF HISTORIC PERIODS IN COSTUME DESIGN

UC South Ballroom

As productions turn away from classic Shakespeare, integrating costumes from two periods becomes more popular. This research project focuses on what makes costume integration successful. A successful integration must be visually compelling, but still give characters depth and tell the story of the play. Though I am not the first to delve into anachronistic design, there exists no research to help young designers find success.

By examining Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, and Richard III, I have pinpointed the key aspects of each production that assist the design. While my own experiences have merged Elizabethan with the 1950s, other designers have merged Elizabethan with contemporary and even a rock concert theme. By analyzing a variety of productions, connecting threads helped establish “rules” for designers.

Through this research, I have established guidelines for maintaining an anachronistic design while still telling a story. One method establishes the silhouette of one period while combining the details, such as fabric and accessories, of another period, creating an equal representation of the two. A second option creates a world blended equally of the two periods, in which it becomes timeless and unique to the world of the play. A third option assigns opposing groups to different periods, establishing visual conflict. Many more may exist, but the overall key to costume integration is to define how each period is represented. When no rules exist, there is no cohesion of ideas. Costumes help tell a story and without guidance, that story is lost.