Broadway and Beyond: Costume Design


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by Lynsey Hemstreet
Fashion School Review Columnist

May 15, 2006


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Most people think of runway shows and designer labels when they think of fashion design. However, fashion design is also a great way to transition into a career in the theater arts. Instead of writing your name in lights, shine from backstage as a costume design star.

Your Designs On Stage

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As a costume designer, it's your responsibility to create clothes that suit the characters in your project. Film, television and theater all have different "looks," budgets and costume expectations, and if you want to become a costume design star, you'll have to work within those confines to dress the characters appropriately. Your education in fashion design school will come in handy as you draw on classic and fantastic fashion design ideas to make your costumes.

Learning Costume Design

In fashion design school, you can learn textiles and shapes to hone your sense of fashion design. How will your costumes look from the stage? Are they original, fun, interesting? Do they enhance the character and the production as a whole? If you can create costumes that do all this, you are sure to become a costume design star.

One costume design star who won a Tony Award for his work was John Napier. His fashion designs for the full-body furry suits worn by the cast of the musical Cats helped to carry the production. Actors in the show danced, sang and acted in heavy fur and headpieces with ears and whiskers. Although his costumes may have been hot to wear, Napier's sense of authenticity and showmanship in his designs have made the Cats costumes an icon of musical theater. If you're longing to put your stamp on the world of theater, do it as a costume design star.

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About the Author
Lynsey Hemstreet has two passions in life: writing and makeup. A journalism grad from San Francisco State University, she is a cosmetics consultant by day, freelance writer and editor by night. Lynsey's written work ranges from independent music reviews t

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