How long have you worked in costume design? How did you get into this field?
I have worked in the dance costume design industry for about seven years and three and a half years at Perform Group. I began college as a fashion design major, but I quickly learned that I wasn’t interested in doing mass-marketed fashion lines. Instead, I decided to fuse my two passions together. I began dancing when I was two or three years old and while in high school, I began teaching like my mom. I loved dancewear because it was a niche area.
What inspires you?
Lots of shopping! I look at today’s fashion trends and play with how I can incorporate those into dancewear specifically. I look at Vogue and Seventeen magazines to see what’s inspiring the fashion of today’s younger women. Celebrity styles in tabloids, big fashion runway shows and retail websites like Rent the Runway are other ways that allow me to visualize what people would look like in dance costumes that are trendy.
Movies are pop culture inspirations. I anticipate that The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast will be the most recreated styles in 2017. Marvel and heroine movies and music will continue to gain popularity and momentum through next year.
Music is another impactful inspiration because I imagine the movements to that song and what style would complement that music. What musicians like Ariana Grande, Katy Perry and Beyoncé are wearing in music videos and the red carpet set the tone for dance costume fashion.
What does your day look like as a dance costume designer?
My first task when I get in the office is answering emails. Then I explore costs and materials for our garments. Next on my to-do list is seeking inspiration. That ranges from magazines and tabloids, to Google and Pinterest searches, to online shopping.
When I’m developing an outfit, I will draw a very rough sketch on paper with a list of items I want to incorporate within the margins. After this initial sketch, I continue more detailed work on Adobe Illustrator.
I work on a team with three in-house designers and one freelance designer. Though we each have our own offices, we have a large open space where we collaborate.
What is your favorite genre of dance to design for?
My favorite genre of dance to design for has to be contemporary because it’s fun to incorporate current fashion trends and dress details like the latest wedding dress styles. My favorite age group to design for is the tween and teen dancers.
What are the most popular colors and fabrics to incorporate into your designs?
Green is my favorite color so I was happy to hear “greenery” was Pantone’s color of the year, especially since it’s not normally that popular of a color to incorporate into dance costumes. Black, blush and beige tones are staple colors that have been popular for years.
The 1990s style is back in fashion and we see that carrying into dance. We’ve also seen a ton of demand for off the shoulder and slit sleeves over the past year.
Sparkles and sequins are always popular. Velvet comes in and out of style. Pleated fabrics are really in right now. My favorite item to design is intricate backs.
What was your favorite design this year?
The ballet costume Blushing Bouquet (C354) was my favorite Curtain Call design of the year. It’s all about the fabric in that style.