Snapshot: Costume Design in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Part Two

Snapshot: Costume Design in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Part Two


Beauty and the Beast is such a classic tale,
and I think that the visuals are incredibly compelling and innovative in
this production. Knowing the skill level of the artisans
and draper’s at the OSF costume shop really made confident that my
designs were going to be executed exactly the way I wanted with the highest level
of excellence, and it is really a pleasure to be working with people who
are curious and really so eager to discover and invent new techniques that
would be suitable for approaching every costume piece. It’s very gratifying for a
costume designer to work with artists who can expand that vision. I start
having the meetings with costume shop staff, with drapers,
stitchers, craft artists, dyers, painters, breakdown artists and makeup
and wig artists, and we come up with a plan how to approach building every
single costume piece. My assistant for this show is Sarah DeLong, and the costume
design assistant is this crucial link, a liaison between the costume
designer and the costume shop. And here at OSF most costume designers are guest
artists, which means that the assistant will actually be filling in the gaps and
be there instead of me to be that connection with the shop while I’m away.
Building the costumes for Beauty and the Beast was extra challenging because many
costume pieces are not traditional clothing, actually. And so we had to
really think about inventive ways of engineering costume pieces, especially
for the objects. We were using traditional draping and tailoring
techniques, of course, but in addition to that,
there are non-traditional techniques like laser cutting, 3D printing, carving,
sculpting, and fiber-glassing. This is an example of laser cutting that was done
in the dye shop. These are the butterflies that will be applied onto
Belle’s dress, and they’ve been made out of laser cut leather. And then this was
all laser cut leather that Rachel Parks, the draper,
applied. These are fabric printed roses that were taken directly from my drawing
that were applied onto the fabric that was custom dyed by Caroline Dignes in the
dye shop. So it takes a village, really, to go from this initial vision that is a
flat drawing on the paper to the final costume pieces stage, and in action
because one of the most important things towards the end of the process is really
to consider whether the actor can do everything they need to do when they’re
acting on stage and if the costume is supporting that.

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