Tag Archives: Costumes

Traveling with a Decorator – Europe Day 1

Kings Cross St. Pancras Station, London

M. and I (hereby renamed M&M) are on a tour of Europe. We once designed theater projects together in College and now work in two different design fields. This is our account of the trip.

Day 1: We arrived in London late on Tuesday night and headed to our hotel, a nondescript little hole in the wall on a row of similarly tiny hotels next to Kings Cross St. Pancras Station. Upon waking the next morning to a rather dreary, rainy day I promptly blew up my hair-dryer (but managed not to light the room on fire or blow out the electricity so I count it as a win). Appealing to the better natures of the hotel staff I managed to wrangle a new hair-dryer and proceeded with M. in tow to meet my old flatmates, C&C, in Kensington.

We headed to The Muffin Man for a delightful tea with scones & jam. It was a great traditional place with cozy seating and a great tea selection.

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 6.35.59 PM
Tea and Scones from The Muffin Man – Photo by Olivier De Man

Then we hailed a black cab and headed over to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The V&A is by far one of my favorite museums, and houses everything from clothes and costumes, to marble statues, old tiles, pottery, stained glass etc. It’s huge and we hardly had enough time to begin but we gave it a go anyway. C&C led us through the Cast Room which I discovered back in 2004 during my study abroad years. One sections was being remodeled but the other was just as I remembered it. Then, we headed to the theater exhibit rooms (filled with costumes and set models) and the stained glass rooms (which were beautifully laid out).

Before we had even begun to take it all in it was time to head off. We bid a cheerful goodbye to C&C and went back to the hotel to grab our bags and catch the train to Paris! The train was exceptionally fast and not too crowded (4:30 on a Wednesday isn’t the most popular time for travel) so we were able to spread out a bit. By 11pm we were happily tucked into bed at our Friend’s apartment in the 16th and passed out. It was quite the start to our Europe Adventure.


The Hats of Downton Abbey, Series 4

rose and cora

I have to say I’m an avid “Downton Abbey” follower. So I was delighted by this posts on the “Hats of Downton Abbey, Series 4” from “I Should Have Been a Blogger”. Take a look!cora1 rose3 rose1 mary2


We’re over halfway through the fourth series here in the states, and you know what that means? It’s time for our next installment of my ongoing series “The Hats of Downton Abbey.” (Original here, men’s hats here, season three here.)

We’re thoroughly into the 1920s now, and the hats are morphing to match.


Yup. Hats are out in the Jazz age. Not to say women aren’t wearing them to go out–they are. But the new big thing is the headband.

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1930’s Costumes and the New York Public Library

This past week I have been working on two new design projects. The first is a set design for a play called HA! (I will be posting on that later in the week), the second is a costume design for a production called “The President” which is set in the late 1930’s in New York. I love doing vintage costume research and the New York Public Library has an amazing collection of original Fashion Sketches.

My Research has me focused on work and day-wear for men and women made between 1937 and 1939 and the NYPL Digital Gallery is an amazing resource of both sketches and photos from the period. Below is some of my research. For those of you not in NYC the Digital Gallery collection  of more than 800,000 images can be accessed for free. Just click the link here!


An Exercise In Color – Sanna Dullaway

A few days ago, Designboom ran an article on Swedish Artist Sanna Dullaway. Sanna works as a restoration artist and more recently with old historic photos that she recolors using shades in Photoshop that would have been popular during the period in which the photo was taken.

photograph from liverpool's canada dock, 1909, featuring first chieef engineer of mauretania john currie

As a costume designer, I am constantly researching historic images and trying to figure out what colors someone would have been wearing in say 1909. So this is right up my ally. Take a look and tell me what you think. Check out the article on her here, and her website here.

A girl and her dog

“Stag” Set Design at SUNY New Paltz

Last weekend I opened a new show at SUNY New Paltz. Despite some initial  difficulties with loading into the space the show went relatively smootly and was well received by the audience.

Stagger Lee and Rose at Home

The play was set in two different locations (an apartment and a bar) in a fictional suburb of Baltimore during the late 1980’s. Rose, our leading lady, had to be able to move fluidly between the two spaces while Stag and Billy were confined to just one space at a time. This set design was born out of that need as well as the physical restrictions of the space.

Let me give you something that’s worthy of you. You’re all I got, now.
See - that’s your problem. Can’t let things go.
Was glad to see you for a second. Just for a second. Thought you was comin’ back.
2 In the Head - 4 of A Kind - 3 In the Side - A Flush in Hearts
I should have won.

While there are a few things I would change given a longer run or more time in the space, all in all I feel relatively satisfied with the production. I can’t wait to work with this team again!

Halloween Costume Ideas

As we get closer to Halloween I always get excited. It’s the one time in the year that I get to create costumes that are not for the stage. While there are plenty of Sexy Witch/Pirate/Maid/insert your idea here costumes, I prefer to go the more creative and warm route. Here are some of my favorite (non-slutty) costumes creations that are easy to assemble and can be made using clothes you might find in your closet or with limited shopping (All links go to my polyvore page):

Nancy Drew:

Sweater, 50’s Skirt, Magnifying Glass, or Flashlight, 50’s hair and make-up, Oxford shoes

Black Swan:

Black tights, ballet flats, black corset, black tulle skirt, heavy makeup, tiara  (you could do this as the white swan as well and just do all the elements in white)

Evil Equestrian Lady (Inspired By Martha Stewart):

Top hat, Tight tan or black pants (or long black skirt), white shirt, black, green or tan jacket (preferably with elbow patches), riding boots, riding crop, evil makeup

Pippi Longstocking:

Red striped shirt, blue or red jumper with patches, faux red pigtails, stripped stockings, large black boots

For A Group: The Scooby Doo Crew:

  1. Thelma: Black Rim glasses, Orange Sweater, Red Skirt, Orange Knee-High Socks, Brown mary-janes.
  2. Fred: Blue Shirt and Pants, White Sweater, Orange Neck Scarf, Brown Shoes
  3. Daphne: Purple Sweater Dress, Purple or pink tights, Pink headband, green scarf, ballet flats
  4. Shaggy: Large Green tee-shirt, brown pants, brown shoes, 1 days worth of stubble
  5. Scooby: Dog costume 😉

For a couple or 2 friends: Sherlock and Watson:

Sherlock: Cape, Pipe, Oxfords, Work Dress in gray or tan, Hat
Watson: Cape, Bowler cap, tan or black pants, Oxfords, white shirt