labricoleuse: (ominous fancy)
When i first heard about the story of fashion designer Hedy Strnad, I knew i had to see the exhibit featuring her designs made real. Strnad was murdered by the Nazis in WW2, but eight of her fashion design renderings survived, preserved by extended family living in Wisconsin. In conjunction with the costume shop at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, the Jewish Museum of Milwaukee created an exhibit about the Strnads which includes those designs made up in fabrics, as they would have been, had she survived to enjoy the creative career she ought to have known.

After a stint in Milwaukee the exhibit has come to NYC at the Museum of Jewish Heritage down on Battery Park, and today i went to see it. Here are some highlights:



The coat is arranged to display not only the lining which matches the dress (fabric hand-screened by the Rep's artists) but also the designer label they created for her in the style of the period, using Hedy's actual signature from a letter.



I've used that double-button detail myself in a show! I just love this look.


Irregular pleated inset detail in lavender tailored jacket.


Underneat the full-size painted renderings there are fabric swatchs so you can feel the textiles used without groping the displays. Nice stuff!


A distance shot of one of the displays, showing how the mannequins are juxtaposed against historical photographs of the period, informational text, maps, and so forth. There's also a video running which goes in-depth about the involvement of the Rep's costume professionals.

I don't exagerrate when i say that seeing this exhibit was a cathartic and spiritually touching experience. It is a very particular way of approaching an overwhelming tragedy in our history as humankind, and illuminated exactly, precisely what was lost to the world when Hedwig Strnad was murdered. I absolutely loved seeing it documented how costume professionals worked on this incredible project, using the skills of our trade--draping, stitching, millinery, screenprinting--in bringing these designs to fruition, actualizing them for display.

If you are anywhere near NYC and can see it, go. Take a handkerchief and go. And, the exhibit will at some point return to its permanent home in Milwaukee, so if you missed it the first time, you'll be able to catch it again when it comes back.
labricoleuse: (vintage hair)
I have slacked off bigtime on here, so first off, i apologize for the lack of content lately. I have all these posts backburnered, so hopefully i can catch up over the holiday break and post them all.

So, without further ado, here's the final two sets of period pattern projects which were presented in Judy Adamson's 20th Century Women's Wear class. (Judy is the head of the Costume Production MFA program here at UNC-Chapel Hill, and though i am not involved in this class, i always love sharing the projects.)

These projects are pretty cool to take a look at together in the same post. The first one involves the utility dresses of the 1940s--wartime fashion and textile rationing made for minimal fabric use in many styles of the period. The second set of projects is the New Look of the 1950s, when post-war fashion exploded into excess and skirts ballooned to use lots of fabric!

Read more... )
labricoleuse: (milliner)
We've been so busy with Cabaret, i've slacked off on sharing some of the period pattern class projects. But i'll catch up! Today, 1930s evening looks and 1940s daywear looks.


Read more... )
labricoleuse: (vintage hair)
With one week left in the run, I oughta finish up this series on the design process for It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play at PlayMakers Repertory in Chapel Hill, NC.

Recall that the play's dramatic conceit is that it presents a "radio play" version of the classic film's story, in which the audience in the theatre functions as the "live studio audience" complete with interaction like Applause-sign responses and so forth. The broadcast is ostensibly happening on Christmas Eve, 1946. Five actors voice all of the roles and the play runs straight through with actual commercial breaks, just like a radio play would have. So, all the characters only have the one costume and very few props and pieces to work with.

We've looked at the page-to-stage process for our two made-to-order costumes (the two women in the cast), so in this final installment, let's see how those sharp 1940s suits came about! As with the ladies, research plays a big part of the process...

Read more... )
labricoleuse: (vintage hair)
So far, i've posted about using pinterest as a design tool in initial communication of visual research in costume conception, and a look at the development of the costume design for the character of Sally Applewhite. Today, let's take a look at the second of the two ladies in the cast: Lana Sherwood, played by Katja Hill. Read more... )
labricoleuse: (design)
Some time back at the beginning of the design process, i posted about using pinterest as a design tool in initial communication of visual research in costume conception, for an upcoming production of It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. The play's dramatic conceit is that it presents a "radio play" version of the classic film's story, in which the audience in the theatre functions as the "live studio audience" complete with interaction like Applause-sign responses and so forth. The broadcast is ostensibly happening on Christmas Eve, 1946. Five actors voice all of the roles and the play runs straight through with actual commercial breaks, just like a radio play would have. So, all the characters only have the one costume and very few props and pieces to work with in creating the world of It's a Wonderful Life.

The show, opening at PlayMakers this Saturday night, now exists as an entity in terms of the costumes, and I thought it would be fun to write about how the designs moved from blobs of research images to real costumes worn by actual people.

First, let's take a look at one of the ladies in the cast: Sally Applewhite, played by Maren Searle. Read more... )
labricoleuse: (history)
I've had these photos for a while, but neglected to post them due to the aforementioned root canal taking up 110% of my time and energy. The period pattern class did a project on the utility dress styles of the wartime 1940s, dress patterns designed to use no more than 3 yards of fabric due to rationing. It was an interesting challenge, i'm sure!

Photos behind the cut. )

I'm hoping to get all the photos from the showcase up today, so it's possible i'll make it a two-post day; if not, definitely tomorrow.

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