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Author Topic: The costuming of Mrs. Hawking, an original steampunk play debuted at Arisia 2015  (Read 1575 times)
breakinglight11
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« on: February 09, 2015, 04:18:22 am »

Photos by Jennifer Giorno and John Benfield

When I was first writing Mrs. Hawking, I knew a big part of the appeal of the story would be the trappings and the spectacle. The look of the steampunk setting would add a great deal of gloss to the tale I was trying to tell, and I wanted to take advantage of everything that setting would afford me. And you can't tell a grand caper set in Victorian London without a few gorgeous period costumes.

Though I pitched in with a few looks for the Arisa 2015 production, mostly ones I’d already put together for the Mrs. Hawking photoshoots, our primary costume designer was Jennifer Giorno, also the actress playing Grace Monroe. So the challenge of putting together Victorian ballroom looks that could be changed in and out of in very short order fell on her. Not an easy task on our budget! But she got a great idea to see if we could a costume company to agree to sponsor our production by lending us some pieces. That is where Pendragon came in, a maker of fine costuming with a fabulous selection of steampunk and Victorian looks in their Mad Girl Clothing line.


In return for credit in our program, they very generously agreed to lend us three pieces of handmade eveningwear for our leads. It was an incredible thing to happen to us, as it gave us the opportunity to have some of the most important costumes in the play be particularly beautiful, as well as practical for the demands of the quick change.


A full Pendragon outfit can be seen here on Samantha LeVangie in her role as Mary. It was particularly important that Mary come out looking exquisite-- transformatively so --as an indication of Mary's potential to become a powerful, brilliant, dyanmic person. Jenn asked the company if it would be possible to get Mary’s garments in blue, as I’ve long imagined it to be Mary’s signature color.

The other piece Pendragon so graciously lent us was for Mrs. Hawking, modeled here by Frances Kimpel. This was also a Corset with Bustle, a particularly useful piece not only because it looked so cool, but because its toggle-hooks running down the front assisted in making the quick change a little easier. Because Mrs. Hawking is a widow, of course it had to be in black.


Read the full entry with more images of this beautiful Pendragon costuming on Mrshawking.com!
« Last Edit: February 21, 2015, 01:30:02 am by breakinglight11 » Logged
Mrs.EP
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2015, 08:39:17 pm »

the costumes look lovely, but you'll need to fix your links because none of them work Sad

getting rid of the quotation marks and add : between http and // should help
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 08:42:21 pm by Mrs.EP » Logged
breakinglight11
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2015, 01:34:36 am »


"Tuxedos, fine ladies, and ruffians – more costuming for Mrs. Hawking"

Jennifer Giorno, our amazing costumer, put together such a gorgeous collection of looks for our production at Arisia 2015. Historical Victorian dress, particularly for men, was very strictly regimented, but we still wanted to balance that with creating a visually engaging stylization that spoke of our characters' personalities as well as provide texture to the world they live in. In addition to our leads, Jenn assembled a beautiful collection of looks to round out our supporting cast. Many pieces came from our personal collections, while others were very generous loans from our friends Lise Fracalossi and Nicholas Magruder.

Read the rest of the entry and see the rest of the looks on Mrshawking.com!
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breakinglight11
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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2015, 09:37:49 pm »

One that turned out especially well was Mrs. Hawking's widow's gown. I do most of my costuming by adapting pieces I find in thrift stores to my purposes. This costume is based on an original dress I honestly kind of hated it on sight. On the hanger it looked like a garbage bag, black and shiny and chintzy. I have kind of a love-hate relationship with dresses made of moire-- an iridescent fabric that looks like it has water ripples or wood knots in it --because I always find it pretty when I first glance at it, but the longer I look at it, it looks cheap. But it had a lot of the details I'm looking for in the basis of a Victorian gown, a ruffled collar, puffy sleeves, a cloth belt at the waist.

I bought it without high hopes for it. It just looked so damn tacky in the store. The checkout girl used it to wrap a glass decanter I bought in the same trip, and I never even bothered to unpack it. When this photo shoot rolled around, I hadn't even tried it in combination with the other elements of the costume, so for all I knew it wasn't going to work at all. But when I tried it on Frances, with black long gloves and over two layers of full tiered skirts kindly lent to me by fellow costumer Jenn Giorno... it transformed. Fellow model Charlotte pinned the collar closed with a black and silver brooch, and cut a slit up the back of the dress so that it spread out over the skirts, and they even puffed out through the slit in the back to make a sort of bustle-y detail. The moire looked appropriate for the sort of tapestry appearance of fancy Victorian fabric. All together, it made for a shockingly beautiful, and shockingly accurate-looking, costume. I'm really pleased at how well it turned out, but also that I think this is evidence that my eye as costumer is developing, as I'm getting better and better at spotting pieces that will work in combination even if I never actually see them together until they're fully assembled.





Mrs. Hawking by Phoebe Roberts will be performed on Saturday, May 9th at 2PM and 6PM as part of the 2015 Watch City Steampunk Festival.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 09:57:27 pm by breakinglight11 » Logged
breakinglight11
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2015, 04:27:19 pm »

"Baby got bustle"

"Oh. My. God. Vicky, look at her bustle.

Mrs. Hawking goes up this Saturday at the Watch City Steampunk Festival, and we're in tech week! That means making sure all the technical elements are finalized. Part of the fun of our Victorian setting is getting to dress our actors in the eye-catching styles of the period. Our costumer Jennifer Giorno is very concerned with capturing the authentic look for this time and place. Because of this, you may have noticed that our ladies have got an awful lot of junk in the trunk. Because Jenn, you see, likes big bustles.


She likes big bustles and she cannot lie.
You Victorians can't deny
That when a lady walks in with a corseted waist
And a bustle made of lace
You get sprung!


Read the rest of the entry on Mrshawking.com!

Mrs. Hawking by Phoebe Roberts will be performed on Saturday, May 9th at 2PM and 6PM at the Center for Digital Arts at 274 Moody Street, Waltham as part of the 2015 Watch City Steampunk Festival.
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