On Being A Costume Designer

Six Guiding Principles

A costume design must always throw light on an actor’s performance, never dull it; bring scripted relationships into focus, never blur or obscure them; present a subtle subtext, never overwrite the text.

Costume designers are commission artists – we give as much or as little of our own vision as the director and producer require. Imagination cannot be yoked to ego.

The costume designer’s chief task is to send actors in front of the cameras or onto the stage relaxed and comfortable, confident that their costumes are helping them to create a fully rounded character.

The cardinal sin of the designer is to create the costume which wears the actor.

The audience should never come out of the theatre (or the living room) humming the costumes.

Four immutable rules for the costume designer are: be on time, on budget, on track – and keep smiling through.

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