DESIGN CONCEPT AND STYLE BOARDS

DARK CITY

KING LEAR

PLAY BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

This production of King Lear plays out in a modern, sharp, dark, austere, and luxe world. The palette is primarily monochromatic, shades of greys with cool blue grey tones defining those characters who challenge the ruling powers. My design emulates aspects of our reality, incorporating a blend of high fashion and militarized aesthetics. I represent the thematic interplay of masculinity and femininity through crisp angular lines and silhouettes on the ruling regime versus looser, unstructured, and draping forms on those who challenge corruption, and on the lower classes. While my design does not explicitly model any specific ruler or country, its aesthetic references underscore how relevant these themes remain—asking an audience to examine the parallels within our world today and supporting Shakespeare’s moralization of corruption and power.

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AKHNATEN

OPERA BY PHILLIP GLASS

Philip Glass wrote Akhnaten as the culmination to his biographical opera trilogy of science, political, and religious revolutionaries. Akhnaten revolutionized the history of religion by rejecting the vast Egyptian Pantheon in favor of worshipping only one god, Aten, the sun disk god; thus, instituting the world’s first monotheistic religion for the span of his reign. Akhnaten’s rebellion clashed against the immense weight of tradition, art, and language that Egypt had know for many dynasties to bring a new kingdom of light. However, his reign ended violently when he was overthrown by the forces of conservatism that despised his ideals and innovations. Subsequently, because of his controversial reign he was almost wiped from slate of history as Egypt worked to destroy any record of his memory after overthrowing him. 

 

The design juxtaposes the old order of conservatism, conformity, and tradition versus the idealistic, shining, new order through reinterpreting historical garments and silhouettes with a modern sensibility. The old order appears in simpler shapes, fabrications, and muted tones. The new order is characterized by softer silhouettes with more curves, as reflective to how art changed under Akhnaten’s rule, and brighter, cleaner golden and blue hues with metallic gold accents. What we know of him and the Amarna period is fragmented archaeological evidence, which is reflected in the design by custom printed or woven textiles featuring images like hieroglyphics or text from the book of the dead. Additional fabrics are custom dyed, pleated, or painted to reimagine 18th Dynasty Egypt through modern eyes. 

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THE CRUCIBLE

PLAY BY ARTHUR MILLER

The Crucible by Arthur Miller was written in 1953 as an allegorical tale for McCarthyism, where the United States led its own “witchhunt” against its citizens in fears of subversion and treason without proper evidence of communism. Hundreds of Americans were unjustly and aggressively persecuted for their leftist associations and beliefs under the exaggerated guise that they were communists or communist sympathizers which led to loss of employment, destruction of their careers, or even imprisonment. This unsubstantiated persecution and fear mongering from authorities is not exclusive to the events of the past, this is rhetoric that we see throughout time and even in our present day. Therefore, to show the permeability of this allegory in the costume design for this stage production, the costumes are not cemented in the late 17th century but blend a modern influence with aspects recognizable from classic puritanical dress. Those elements are pieces like reimagined collars, cuffs, stays, and coats. Overall the palette is fairly achromatic with cool and warm greys, black, and white details, with any color being a small feature in a dull and desaturated hue and with some subtle patterns. Throughout the design hand crafted elements and details are incorporated like smocking and knitted pieces to reflect the rural community of Salem. Lastly, to further reflect the rural setting, the fabrications will all be from natural fibers like cottons, linen, and wools.

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INTO THE WOODS

MUSICAL BY STEPHEN SONDHEIM AND JAMES LAPINE

Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim takes familiar fairytale characters once compiled by the Brothers Grimm and places them in a world where they all coexist amongst each other. The central themes to this musical are the consequences of doing anything to get what you want and what or who you sell out along the way only to realize that once you get your wish it may not be what you thought. Throughout the musical the characters explore the complicated truths of life and that not everything is black and white. There are no absolutes, even when we like to put ourselves into dichotomies like good versus evil, right versus wrong. The characters learn by the end the importance of giving up their individualized idealism and find strength in their community with each other. Everyone’s actions have consequences not only for themselves, but for all the players. This highlights the responsibility we all carry and that our lives are inextricably intertwined like the twisted woods.

 

With the setting of a fantasy fairytale world where all these disparate characters coexist it allows for the opportunity of creating vibrant, imaginative, and whimsical costumes that blur the lines of time period. Although these tales were originally compiled by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, these tales have existed before for hundreds of years prior to publication passed around throughout Europe in the tradition of oral history. Since these tales exist throughout history, the costuming combines elements and silhouettes of several eras with a modern fashion sensibility. The design uses custom textiles, hand crafted pieces, textile manipulation, and special details that relate the design to elements of a character’s personality or their story. The musical is structured very much as a spring winter story, with a more vibrant palette presented with the hope and rising action of Act I to stand out against the moody set, but as the characters realize their disillusionment in Act II the palette mutes and dulls.

Into the Woods Mood Board

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

MUSICAL BY ALAN MENKEN, STEPHEN SCHWARTZ, AND PETER PARNELL

The below board was an initial design proposal for Disney's musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame that sought to explore the line between representing the darker, more adult tone of the musical with the character designs and palettes of the classic Disney film that audiences have grown to love. My proposal aimed to further blend 15th century references with the 19th century illustrations and interpretations of the 15th century from Victor Hugo's classic novel.

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PERSONAL TASTE BOARDS - MENSWEAR AND WOMENSWEAR

The below boards were a graduate class exercise in conveying the aesthetics and fashion of modern menswear and womenswear that inspires me.

Male Taste Board
Female Taste Board

Below are several more examples of initial design concept and style boards and concept statements made for various classes in my time at graduate school. Through these you can get a better sense for my initial approach to design conceptualization and palette building. 

The below boards are for a redesign of the 1998 film Dark City. The first board is to convey the overall mood, palette, and environment of my redesign, and the second board is an overview of the aesthetics for "The Strangers," the insectoid alien antagonists in the film.

Dark City Mood Board
The Strangers Aesthetic