July 12, 2013
The Clothes Make the [Wo]Man.
I’m just going to say it up front: I am an actor that absolutely loves designers. I adore them. I almost worship them. I may have years and years of training under my belt, I may be a ninja in the rehearsal room and on the stage, I may have the skills to pay the bills, and I may work with more than my fair share of fantastic actors and directors, but I’m going to say that so much of the success of my final performance is due to the fact that I am privileged to work with fantastic designers. The lighting designers make me look fantastic. The scenic designers give me a world to inhabit. The sound designers create the mood, the tone, and feel of a scene for me. But perhaps my best and most secret weapon as an actor is the work of the costume designer.
There is something transformative, and almost magical, about putting on a well made costume. Think about it. When we dress ourselves in the morning we put on clothes that express something: how we feel, our cultural identity, our job, our socio-economic status (or desired socio-economic status), our fashion sense, whether we feel happy or sad, open or closed off, our level of audacity that day, our modesty (or lack thereof), and any other number of things. Think about how different you feel and behave in a tight dress and heels versus a pair of sweatpants and some Uggs. What we put on our body both expresses and shapes who we are.