Costume designer

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The costume designer works with the stage or production designer and the director to create the costumes for a theater or film production . Costume design can be studied at some art schools. Sometimes costumes and sets are designed by one person, which is then referred to as "equipment" (stage and costumes).

Lodovico Ottavio Burnacini , designs for headgear from the "Maschere" series, late 17th century. Vienna, Theater Museum.

Costume designer at the theater


The costume designer initially works closely with the director. In coordination with the theater management, he selected a piece, which he then worked on in terms of content with the set designer, the costume designer and the dramaturge. In addition, suitable actors have been appointed to cast the roles.

After text analysis and research and mostly in response to the stage design, costume designers create their designs, which in the theater also include the mask. In further collaboration with the director, set designer and dramaturge, a visual concept develops that creates the intended effect of the staging. This preparation phase can sometimes begin longer than a year before the premiere.

The costume designer and his assistant try to find the characters in sketches, photos, collages and collections of materials. It is very important to know the actors, their physical impact, their charisma and their versatility. This is why the costumes are often only determined, changed or redesigned during the rehearsal period.

Lodovico Ottavio Burnacini, designs for headgear from the "Maschere" series, late 17th century. Vienna, Theater Museum.


Costume workshop

For the implementation, the costume designer meets with the theater's costume department and presents his designs and material samples. The technical, temporal and financial feasibility is coordinated with the management of the department, the dressmakers, tailors, assistants and dressmakers and the mask department.

The dressmaker will then develop ideas for realizing the designs and coordinate them with the costume designer. First samples are made on tailor's mannequins with purchased or made costume parts before there are fittings with the actors. Here the seat, but also the effect of the costume and the possibilities and restrictions for the performer are checked. It is important to use the costumes during the stage rehearsals because they influence the actors' play. Where this is not possible in time, similar rehearsal costumes will be provided or made. The costume assistant supervises the production of the costumes, supervises the rehearsals and communicates between the director, the costume designer, the actors and the departments of the theater.

At the latest at the equipment rehearsal (called piano rehearsal in the opera) all finished costumes and masks can be seen on the stage. There are now a few days left for changes before the premiere. The stage artists (often female) dressers are available to help with the costumes . For its productions, for example, the Zurich Opera House can rely on such auxiliary staff of around 20 people. For the opening scene of the James Bond film Specter , which lasted a few minutes , individual costumes were made for 1,500 actors and costumes for the shooting within 75 minutes.

Costume designer for film and television

Requirements for the profession

  • Creative imagination, dramaturgical thinking, talent for painting and drawing, a sense of color and form
  • Good general education, extensive knowledge in the field of art and cultural history , costume, style and milieu
  • craftsmanship, knowledge of textile and material science and technical cutting drawing
  • organizational talent, commercial skills, improvisation skills, flexibility
  • Knowledge of the various audio-visual techniques
  • Knowledge of human nature, psychological empathy, diplomacy and the ability to motivate
  • Passion for fashion and colors


1. Production phase - preparation and development
  • Working through the script , making excerpts, first ideas, brainstorming
  • First discussions with the director , production designer , camera , actors , mask about dramaturgical, stylistic and color conceptions, the function of the costumes, the casting of the roles
  • initial discussions with production about budget and disposition. Research: Gather image material, milieu studies, historical and factual information from libraries, archives, museums, books and magazines and the Internet
  • Drawing and painting figurines
  • rummage in the costume store
  • Fabrics, other materials, colors and cutting techniques - if necessary by means of drawings - are determined in cooperation with the relevant workshops and manufacturers
  • Get to know actors with their peculiarities, preferences, "problem areas" and dimensions, analyze them and include them in the artistic and dramaturgical planning
  • Obtaining cost estimates, creating calculations, determining costumes
  • Organizational planning in consultation with production, determine the scope and skills of the team of employees (assistants, cloakroom workers, tailors, temporary workers, etc.), organize workshops, costume depots, cloakroom rooms and vehicles for costume transport
2. Production phase - realization
  • Realization and implementation of ideas and drafts
  • Organize and monitor fittings with actors and extras
  • Supervise the production of the costumes
  • Negotiations with suppliers and manufacturers
  • Shopping - with and without an actor
  • Costume acceptance with director, camera and actors - if possible, in the decoration
  • Determine dramaturgically related costume connections and daily schedule - with director or assistant director
3. Production phase - shooting time
  • Timely provision of the costumes required according to the daily disposition
  • spontaneous readiness for situation-related, artistic or fashionable changes
  • Continuation of the preparatory work parallel to the daily disposition
  • constant control of the budget
  • Visiting sample demonstrations
4. Production phase - settlement
  • Dissolve the employee team and workspaces in consultation with production
  • Return of the costumes
  • Administrative processing (= costume purchase lists, fund lists, billing records, buyback lists, etc.)
  • Settlement of the managed budget
  • spontaneous readiness for any necessary re-shoots

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Zurich Opera House Dressing Service in the Costume Department section.
  2. SPECTER "Mexico" Vlog Official - James Bond , The Making of - official video blog