Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Art of Costuming - Historic (Part I)
Wearable Art

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Introduction
Clothes can be designed to be functional.

Fly fishing outfit.

Clothes can also be designed to appeal to your aesthetic.

Skirt - grunge 1990s.

Perhaps the least understood or for that matter, the most quirky concoction with respect to design and moreover, with no regard for acceptance, comfort, maintenance, durability and expense is the costume. It is an art form aimed to stretch the imagination beyond normal human bounds.

"To Believe in the Good Man." Gaiea (shown above) in her organic earthly splendour, confronts you the viewer as a representative of mankind (not shown), portrayed in a harsh synthetic garb.
Design, Construction & Model: Animal X.
Photography: Linda Sweeting.

The art of costuming falls naturally into three categories - historical, fantasy and futuristic. Historical costuming brings back historical designs but usually in the context of modern fabrics, colors and techniques of construction.

"Court of the Peacock King."
Design, Construction and Models: Kathy & Drew Sanders, Barb & Reg Schofield, Martin Miller, Caroline Julian, Carl Ontis, David Graham & Neola Caveny.

Role playing becomes part and parcel of the look, the style and the demeanour. You are noble not only because of the art of costuming, but because of your adopted mannerisms.

Fantasy may have out of context combinations. The constructs of an insect becomes the constructs of a costume. It is like Kafka’s Metamorphosis except you do not wake up and find you have become an insect, rather you dress and so you have embodied one.

Theatrical Costume.
Photograph: Paul Jeremias.

Futuristic is the most difficult to characterize since we are using today's technology for tomorrow's world. Here we must rely on where we want tomorrow to be rather than where we could be if tomorrow's technology was known to us now.

"When the Medicine Woman Weaves her Spell, the Snake Charmer Begins to Dance." Construction: Carol McKie Manning & Christen Brown.
Model: Jean Olson.
Photograph: Tom Henderson.

All images shown below comes from a book, The Costume Marker's Art, edited by Thom Boswell[1].


The Art of Costuming - Historic[1]
Historic costumes have a hidden romantic component built within them. The designer/constructor loves the era of fashion that they have created. It is not just dressing-up for the sake of it rather it is dressing-up because of the empathetic love for it. During the day the designer/constructor may be wearing jeans or a mini skirt but when they wear their own historic costumes they are transformed and are driven back to an era, where their psychology would love to reside.

"Sir Colin" - cavalier court suit.
Design & Construction: Adrian Butterfield.
Model: Tim Bray.
Photograph: Stephen Jacobson.

"Georgian Robe Française."
Design, Construction & Model: Victoria Ridenour.
Photograph: Stephen Jacobson.

"Elizabethan Court Gown."
Design, Construction & Model: Victoria Ridenour.
Photograph: Stephen Jacobson.

"Early Victorian Day Dress."
Design, Construction & Model: Victoria Ridenour.
Photograph: Stephen Jacobson.

"Postillion" ca. 1855.
Design, Construction & Model: Victoria Ridenour.
Photograph: Stephen Jacobson.

"Gentleman's Suit" ca 1820.
Design, Construction & Model: Adrian Butterfield.
Photograph: Stephen Jacobson.

"Ascot Dress" from the movie "My Fair Lady".
Design: Cecil Beaton.
Construction & Model: Janet Wilson Anderson.
Photograph: David Bickford.

"Napoleonic Court Dress" ca. 1806.
Design, Construction & Model: Janet Wilson Anderson.
Photograph: John Youden.

"The King and Queen of Swords."
Design and Construction: Gail Alien, Robin Lewis, Joao Soares, Stan Hits, Charlotte Davis, Jackie Cabasso & Rosmarie Bolte.
Photograph: Peter Villums.

"The King and Queen of Swords."
Design and Construction: Gail Alien, Robin Lewis, Joao Soares, Stan Hits, Charlotte Davis, Jackie Cabasso & Rosmarie Bolte.
Photograph: Peter Villums.


Reference:
[1] The Costume Maker's Art, Lark Books, North Carolina (1992).

No comments: