Costume Design

So, as many of you will know, I also do costume design for Imperial College Musical Theatre. I started out as a bit of a novice with my little sewing machine in my old playroom but have realised that I've costumed the last three Spring Shows as well as a larger tour (which is a lot of hard work!). So here are some original sketches along with photos of my designs in action.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (2009)

The entire cast pose-thats a lot of tunics!

An example of the various courtesan costumes produced to echo different personas
Tunics galore- generic tunics customised depending on what character is being played.

Three versions of Philia's dress (the real one is in the middle)- had to be versatile enough to suit two different women and a man!

Philia's dress in all its glory, a renovated eunich robe and X-Factor Contestant Matt Stringer before he was on telly!

Sweet Charity (2009)
I think I counted over a hundred costumes for a cast of around 20 for this production. It was a lot of work!

Hand made dresses from original 60s pattern, individually customised in collaboration with the actresses.

Rich Man's Frug- so simple yet so effective. God bless Primark

Oscar's costume was very mix and match so he could vary it during the various scenes, there was even a knitted tank top!

I love costuming hippies- so much freedom and charity shop rummaging. My favourite pieces is the gold coat to the right

These were the only hired pieces in the show- brass band jackets are hard to find

Party scene= complete change of costume for all, my favourite is the velvet jacket/cravat ensemble, I based it on Bill Nighy in The Boat That Rocked
Hair (2010)
My favourite. I was costume consultant on this show as I encouraged everyone to find their own costumes as a way of improving character and making the show look organic. I sourced all the army gear and extra costumes, as well as some of the props.
Its difficult to see but this top was customised by removing the collar and adding embroidery ad beads to the new neckline.

Its amazing what you can find in the MTSoc costume cupboard- I found this hanging around

Costumes for Mother and Father, needed a quick change and to still be reckognisable as hippies

General hippy outfits, I love how all the cast made such an effort.

Luckily our Margaret Mead, Michael, has amazing legs and will fit in most women's clothes.

Another prop- a yellow shirt that can be ripped up every night, helped by velcro and double sided tape. Apart from the night our Berger ripped all the buttons off in anger

More army costumes, each of these outfits cost less than £10 each thanks to an online army surplus store

Claude's shirt should have been tucked in but it was a very quick change. In hindsight I would have had someone backstage to help.

Effectiveness of a haircut and a £15 complete Army costume
Return To The Forbidden Planet (2011)
A retro-futuristic-space look for this rock and roll musical. Designed everything and produced everything except the female chorus dresses. Also sourced and customised some of the props.
Luckily our leading man is very small so I could use ladies leather trousers and boots. The effect is pretty aesome though

More leather to make Miranda look sexy, accessorised with sparkly tights and thigh high boots

"Recovery Team" costumes, these were the most fun to make, my favourite being the maids costume made from an 80s ballgown with big poofy sleeves. Each of their costumes had a large hand-sequinned emblem on the back according to their vocation

Gloria goes glam with a tight sequinned dress- trying to find entirely sequinned dresses is pretty difficult!

A full cast shot, note the cute 60s dresses and the mens costumes- shorts, cravats, long socks and matching tops complete with "Albatross logo" designed by myself and applied with transfer paper.

Cookie the Chef's costumed, basic outfit purchased from Ebay. I then handpainted in all the squares on the trousers and attached silver trim to hat for a space theme

This yellow dress was reduced from £21.99 to £2, accessoried with a scarf from Poundland, it still looks supercute. Although it can't be seen here, the beautician outfit had a large hand-sequinned lipstick on the back.

Prospero's costume was simple but effective, the coat was a bargainalicious £5 and the trousers had hand drawn lines to make them look a bit more rocker. The robot outfit caused me a lot of trouble and had to be remade each night. The basis was a silver shirt and leggings with a chest piece complete with light up window made using cardboard, cheap battery powered fairy lights and a lot of silver spray paint.

We Will Rock You (2011)

This year we took on the challenge of putting on a musical in 24 hours. I was in this (and ended up in hospital with concussion!) as well as offering to consult on costumes. Ashamedly I didn't manage to get hold of everyone to check costumes before they went on stage (I was probably sleeping) and so some of the Bohemian costumes are a bit cringeworthy!
Whole cast shot- I'd already gone to hospital by then. I love the simplicity of Rob's outfit- all sourced from the costume cupboard. I was sitting in the waiting room wearing a pink metallic cocktail dress and an oversized army shirt. I loved that shirt, it was so comfy. 

Killer Queen- we were thinking corporate evil slut. A slit was added to the skirt to make it sexier and the boots recycled from Forbidden Planet. The fur coat has been in the costume cupboard for years.

These were both my ideas. For Meat I went for underwear as outerwear, combining Hippy with Military and Punk. For Britney, I took the original outfit Phil chose, ripped up the top a bit and added a Emo/Rocker coat as well as some cloth wristbands to make it look a bit messier.

The Wedding Singer (2012)

I hadn't intended to do much on costumes for The Wedding Singer, but things never turn out the way you plan. I also worked out all the quick changes and acted as dresser to Julia in Act One and Robbie in Act Two.

I did a lot of work on George's costumes. This shirt started life as a Muslim prayer-type shirt, I cut it down, added sequin details and ruffles and tied with a few scarves. Most of the jewellery was mine too. James did a great job on the wig, adding lots of feathers and bits of material.

For casual George I replicated a genuine Boy George t shirt (thats a lot fabric pen people!) and added a baggy waistcoat and velvet trousers.
I did a lot of work on the Saturday Night in the City costumes, so here's the video. Enjoy!

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How to make a guy in his early twenties look like an old lady doing exercise- layers!

Above are a selection of the Impersonator costumes I created. Top left if Madonna with my favourite ever piece- the cone bra! Next to that is Arnold Schwarzeneger, Cyndi Lauper and Imelda Marcos (I kept Cindi's skirt as I loved it that much). Underneath is David Bowie, we went through three or four costumes before getting to this one. It turns out that tall men and unitards really don't mix.

Other Designs

Here's some other sketches I've done for various shows that are either in the works for the future or that I would like to do.

Hedwig and The Angry Inch
I was approached about us possibly doing this at Imperial, nothing has been confirmed though. I got bored and sketched out some ideas. There is one idea missing which is the "Origin of Love" outfit, blame my camera as it is very old and couldn't pick up any details.

The Wild Party
This has been my baby for many years. Once I get my life sorted out and am living back in London I will be proposing it for Imperial MTSoc. Also included is the set design.

American Idiot
These sketches came from when I was bored at a quiz night (hence the biro). I'd love to do this show, possibly as our 24hour fundraiser production.
St Jimmy