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Humanities LibreTexts

4.2: Costume and Makeup Design

  • Page ID
    74024
  • Costumes and make up are arguably the most essential design elements of a play. In fact, many productions you will direct will only require costumes and make up and can be done without a set, props, or sound. Costuming is a difficult job and requires an extraordinary amount of time, resources, and patience. Make sure you go over each character, how many costumes each will have, and the budget before hand. Also know that there will need to be multiple fittings, alterations, as well as a costume parade along the process.

    Costume Designers not only spend countless hours building costumes, they also spend many hours selecting costume options from their storage. Make sure each and every cast member is respectful and ON TIME for their costume fittings. Costume Designers have spent hours creating and selecting garments and when an actor shows up late or disregards an appointment, it disrespects the effort and contributions of one of the most important collaborators on the production.

    How to prepare for your meeting

    • Read the play and write down all of the characters, which scenes the characters are in, and how many costume changes each character will have in the play.
    • Write down the words you would associate with each character and how you would like them represented. Also look at the journey or transformation each character makes throughout the show and see if there is any way that transformation can be reflected in the costuming.
    • Research and see if there were productions of the show in the past that had elements you liked. If so save them, if not discard them and find examples from anywhere (magazines, comics, art, film/tv, etc.) that you do like.
    • Research and find pictures for each character's costume inspiration. Find multiple options and make sure in your meeting with the costume designer to communicate what you like about each picture and how you think it might be incorporated into the overall design.
    • Make sure your pictures are of the same style and feel, or be specific with your designer about which style you want them to emulate or take inspiration from.
    • Let them know their budget
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