Philosophy of Design

Philosophy of Design

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  • Philosophy of Design

My philosophy of design revolves around these simple beliefs.

  • Stay true to the script.
  • Stay true to the Director’s vision
  • Know the world of the play.
  • Stay true to the character.
  • Tell the story clearly.

I see the job of costume designer as that of storyteller. The costume is the strongest visual statement of who a character is and what they stand for. In this sense, costume designers tell the story of who people are.

Every director has a vision of the play they are working on, and just as we see a novel come to life in our heads as we read it, or imagine a fairy tale as we hear it as a child, we see the way a play might look as we read a script. When a director shares their vision of a play with me, I try to make that vision a reality.

I get the most satisfaction out of a collaboration when directors express how they want the world of the play to feel through clear, decisive adjectives. As a designer I can search for and find the most appropriate use of color, line, and texture that will best evoke those feelings.

In this sense, the director’s vision is the dominant force behind the visual look of a production. That said, what I want to bring to the production is a keen sensitivity to character, a thorough understanding of costume history, and a sharp awareness of how to carefully balance theatricality and historical accuracy.

I love working collaboratively with a director in choosing what period might tell the story clearly, and best fit their vision. This might even mean inventing a totally new, and completely imagined world. Then again, there is a different kind of satisfaction when you design a play in the period in which it was written, and are still able to bring something new to it in the confines of historical accuracy.

I enjoy vetting the appropriateness of how a play’s given circumstances might fit a period other than the one in which it was written, but hold a strong belief that we must stay true to the circumstances a character’s economic, social, political and religious circumstances; as well as to the obvious statements of location, climate, season and time of day.

Letting the history guide us to an appropriate period without tying our hands creatively, allows us to create lively and imaginative characters that really live in the world we are creating. It should be remembered that we are working in a theatre and not a museum, but that history can inform the choices we make in ways that nothing else can.