Well! My 1st year studying Costume Design at Wimbledon College of Arts is over! Unsurprisingly I have loved the design projects.
The first was an 18th Century play, The Mistress of the Inn by Carlo Goldoni. This was steep learning curve for me. I’d never done costume drawing like this before. I took the figures from period paintings and designed my costumes on top. I then coloured them using watercolour, gouache and black ink.
I was then told to be more experimental and to use collage. I scaled up from A4 to A3 for my final two designs. I wish I’d had time to do the full set like this.The second design project was dance. Director/Choreographer Lea Anderson was our tutor. She asked us to design the costumes for the production she was working on at the time. Lea wanted to take the attic scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, and recreate the movement on screen with a troop of circus performers. Our costumes had to be able to be worn by any performer as they would all be representing Melanie and the birds. My first set of designs were inspired by traditional Indian dance costume. I used gouache and black ink, painting paper and ‘pleating’ it before gluing it behind cut out sections.
At the final crit I was told by the tutors that they weren’t macabre enough. Lea used the phrase ‘sleazy circus’. So I went back and completely redesigned them for the end of term presentation. The next set was super circus, I sort of lost everything form the previous designs. My next step would be to integrate the two styles together to get something that encompassed birds, circus and the macabre.
The final project of the year was a mini film project. The challenge was to take a real person described to us by a fellow classmate, and research for contemporary costume design. My character was a 20 year old lolita style enthusiast. I made a mix and match wardrobe for her, trying to incorporate a little british influence (hence spots and tartan).
The tutor then gave me a ‘curveball’ for my character. In the aftermath of a nuclear explosion, when the populace has been evacuated from the country, what would my character look like?
A very varied set of design briefs I think you’ll agree. I want to do more! Rumour has it the first project of 2nd year is a Shakespeare – I can’t wait.