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five creative design workshops of the master in costume design

Master The Art & Craft of the Costume Designer AY 2021/2022
Project Leader: Andrea Viotti

The importance of the costume designer’s role in the making of a film or a theatrical performance is clearly demonstrated by most of the productions throughout the entire history of the preforming arts. The costume is in fact what establishes the character in their role, personality and their expression. The Costume Designer is an artist who knows history, tradition, anthropological roots, psychological interpretations, emotive suggestions, manufacturing craftsmanship: A contemporary creative, master of manual skills and technique, who possesses a deep culture of designing. From theater to television, from cinema to music, to opera, the costume designer must be prepared to understand and successfully solve technical and creative aspects related to the production of costume in every type of stage and work.


During the course students were exposed to both a theoretical and hands-on process, in depth research and live workshops, able to offer important design and technical tools aimed at the design, prototype modeling, applications of tailoring techniques for costume and the accessory elements, for wigs, makeup and jewelry, masks, footwear, headgear through the concrete use of workshops. Technical studies for the preforming arts aimed at acquiring organizational, design and operational skills of cut and making. The students experienced five creative design workshops aimed at the interpretation and analysis of four different works (one of which a double version, in both a historical and contemporary period). Specifically, the texts/scripts addressed were:

  • The Elixir of Love, music composed by Gaetano Donizetti
  • TheElectra of Sophocles, in its classic and contemporary version
  • Macbeth, by William Shakespeare
  • Tosca, by Giacomo Puccini
  • La Vita è Bella, by Roberto Benigni

At the end of the design process the students exhibited their entire body of work sharing evidence of their personal growth as costume designers. The analysis of the text, the psychology of the characters, extensive historical, sociological, and artistic research, experimentation on materials, exploration and sartorial skills in the workplace are the main tools for building a professional work. The Costume Designer is an interpreter of the character and defines it by shaping the image embodied by the actor. In order to be able to undertake such a complex job, the skills required are numerous and aim at constructing accurate, and at the same time, personal and innovative interpretations. Students were required to hand in a complete script analysis (the breakdown book).

For each project students were requested to present all the necessary documentation for the planning of the performance and of the budget; designs and illustrations of the character costumes, including make-up, hair style, importantly the indication of materials, fabrics, and costume elaborations, dyeing, embellishments, and characterization techniques.

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