Costume Design for ‘The King’s Speech’

The motion picture of the year at the 2011 Academy Awards was the period film “The King’s Speech.” Besides winning in this category and many others, the film was also nominated for the wonderful costume design spearheaded by Jenny Beaven. Beaven is no stranger to Oscar nominations, having been nominated a total of nine times in her career.

The movie is set in England, on the eve of World War II. The designs for the film capture the essence of the time and the characters in a way few costumes succeed at doing. Beaven has revealed that she had only five weeks to ready the costumes before shooting began, and a very small budget to work with.

To plan, Beaven spent a lot of time researching the King, the Queen and the times they lived in. She studied photos and read biographies, learning about the couple’s favorite colors and styles while altering some of their preferences to better fit the modern audience’s tastes and expectations. It’s a challenge that any costume designer must face when designing for a historical film.

Beaven has said she does not prefer to sketch out costumes. Instead, she pulls each costume together a piece at a time, mixing and matching to achieve the desired result. In the films she works on, much of the costumes are created from found pieces that she finds at rummage shops and prop stores combined with a few pieces created new. Beaven is also known for involving the actors in their costume development by asking them to try on different costumes and accepting their input. The result is always a costume design masterpiece, as in ‘The King’s Speech.’

Learn the Basic Steps for Putting on a Musical

The Coxton Ville : Film Crew

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If your dream is to put on a musical, you have some work ahead of you, but the results should be worth it. Of course, the first step is to choose a script that has several songs in it, and then make enough copies for the cast and crew. Once this step is complete, it is time to start seeking actors, crew members, and an appropriate venue.

The best way to start advertising auditions for a cast and crew is also the simplest way, which is to post flyers. This tried-and-true method can be performed by anyone, as long as you have access to a large batch of flyers that look good and knowledge of where to post them. Consider the desired ages of the cast and crew, and begin posting your advertisements around schools and local theater groups.

Once the ads have done their intended job of getting people interested in auditions, you will need to host the tryouts and then make a decision. The sooner you do this, the better, since rehearsals can start afterward. As your cast rehearses, start looking for a venue with a quality stage and plenty of room for the audience to sit.

Of course, you will need an audience in order for the musical to be successful, so you should work on putting out flyers once again. Post them anywhere you think people that are interested in theater or music will be. Make sure to list the show dates, time, location, ticket prices, and ticket purchasing info. Contact information is also important, in case people have questions.

Once these tasks are done, just keep directing the rehearsals until you are sure that you cast and crew members have it right. Making sure that they are ready for opening night is important in order to impress your audience. Keep in mind that one successful musical production can lead to more in the future.

C​ostume, Hair and Makeup for Belly Dancers

Colette of Jamila Lotus in a blur of color

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Belly dancing is an ancient feminine activity originating in the Middle East. There are a number of different types of belly dance, including Egyptian, Turkish, Lebanese, Tribal and American Cabaret. What all belly dancers have in common is the need to learn costuming, hair and makeup techniques prior to performing in public. While each genre of the dance has its own unique style, there are some basic rules to follow for great stage presence.

The most important thing to consider when creating a costume for belly dance is the security of the garment in maintaining the dancer’s modesty. Dance costumes must fit very tightly, with little or no stretch to the fabric. This will keep the costume from becoming loose or dislodged during a physically active dance. Accessories to the costume such as wrist, ankle and armbands can add decorative spice, but should fashioned in such a way that they cannot become caught on the costume. Hair styles for belly dancers typically include long, free locks, whether straight, wavy or curly. The hair may be held back off of the face with a decorative, matching headband, or secured into a tight bun at the back of the head and complemented with a number of yarn or fabric braids, flowers or extensions.

Stage makeup for dancers is usually quite exotic. It also must be able to endure a dancer’s perspiration and exertions over a few hours. Most dancers keep the foundation makeup quite light, and use a translucent powder to absorb oils and perspiration. The eyes are heavily lined with black kohl or liquid eyeliner, creating an Egyptian cat’s eye effect. Dancers may also use false eyelashes to further enhance their eyes. Smoky eye shadows complete the look.

Stage Makeup Techniques

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Whether or not it is apparent to the audience, actors and actresses in plays and films have all had a great deal of stage makeup applied prior to their performances. Even those who are supposed to look as though they have just woken up, fought a zombie horde or survived a military battle have had extensive time in the make up chair. Learning how to apply stage makeup well takes a great deal of time, most of which is spent watching, helping and training under stage makeup professionals. The easiest type of stage makeup is usually for a more normal look.

The first step to great stage makeup is to start with a flawless canvas. For that reason, makeup artists will insist on a clean face before they get to work. The artist will apply a thick foundation over the exposed face and neck area, paying special attention to hide any blemishes, unwanted beauty marks and scars. Next, the artist will need to bring out the actor’s features so that the finished result does not look like a blank mask. Shadowing along the cheek bones, jaw and nose will help define the features. The eyes typically receive a great deal of attention in stage makeup. Heavy eye liner, usually black or very dark brown, is applied to both the upper and lower lash lines. Next, false eyelashes are applied with an adhesive. Finally, eye shadow is used to define and create the desired look of the eyes. Some applications may cause for the eyes to appear bright and wide open, while others may call for a more shadowed and mysterious look. When applying lipstick for the stage, the lips are usually lined slightly larger than the actors’s actual lips. A similarly colored lipstick is then used to fill in the lips, making sure that the actors’ mouth is well defined and visible from the audience.

What Costume Designers Do


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C​ostume design is becoming a fast growing industry, especially among recent American college graduates. The glamour and thrill of working in New York or Hollywood is especially enticing to young adults, many of whom have been interested in the industry for years. Costume designers typically have degrees in fashion design, art history, film or another related major. The field is quite competitive, and many beginning designers must intern for quite some time before they are hired for projects of their own.

Modern costume designers do much more than just research the clothing of a specific era or nationality. They will also create costumes that help forge and define the characters. They work with the sets and director in order to establish the details before beginning to select styles or fabrics. Costume design can be particularly creative when the project involves a fantasy or science fiction theme when there are no historical references for the actors’ clothing.

Those who are interested in entering the field of costume design should understand that much work and effort is required before the job gets interesting. Potential designers will spend hours assisting or apprenticing to established designers. They will also be called upon to prepare the research necessary when designing period clothing for plays or films. There are a number of considerations that may need to be dealt with, including what actions the actors will be taking while wearing the costumes, whether or not they will be outside in the weather and the types of lighting that the scenes will call for. All of these variables will help dictate what types of fabric are used for the costumes and whether or not duplicates of certain costumes should be available. For instance, if a scene calls for a costume to be ruined or destroyed, having to do several takes may call for multiple, but easy to secure costumes for the actors.

Period Costuming

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F​rom the sweeping ball gowns of the Civil War era to the streamlined and fringed dress of the 1920s flapper, costumes are an integral part of what makes a film or theater production. Without the appropriate costumes for the region, style and era, no movie or play would be able to accurately convey the true stories as they were written. For this reason, accurate period costuming is a necessity in the entertainment industry.

D​uring the time of the Roman Empire, most women and men wore similar clothing in the form of tunics and draped fabric stoles or togas. By medieval times, costumes, especially for women, had evolved into much more complicated arrangements including yards of fabric in gored sections. This created that wide, flared skirt that ensured a woman’s modesty by hiding the shape of her lower body. During this same period men began wearing the codpiece as a statement of their strength and prowess. By the Victorian era, women’s garb had become even more complicated and restrictive with elaborately boned corsets, yards of fabric devoted to undergarments, and the covering of all skin other than the face and hands. At the same time, clothing for men was becoming much simpler.

T​he clothing for women in the twentieth century ​changed drastically in nearly every decade. In the 1920s, women’s dress was much more androgynous than previous generations. Dropped waists and shorter skirts, along with simple, bucket-shaped hats, combined to make even the most curvaceous women appear boyish. By the 1930s and 40s, femininity had once again declared itself in the shapes of women’s clothing with rigid bras, girdles and the re-emergence of the defined waistline. However, the carefree 60s brought back the idea of non-gender specific clothing with both boys and girls sporting tie-dyed t-shirts, low slung bell-bottomed jeans and sneakers. Even hair styles converged with both genders choosing to wear their hair long, straight and parted down the middle.

Cosmetology Licensing

C​osmetology is a field that combines the arts of hair and face massage, hair styling and manicuring into one course of study. Most cosmetologists are trained in hair cutting, facial hair styling, coloring and permanent waves. Some cosmetologists may special in certain areas such as hair coloring or African American hair styling. Others may choose to focus on manicuring and related nail technician skills. All cosmetologists and barbers in the United States are required to be licensed before they can work in their trade. Cosmetologists may be employed by a salon, rent a station within an established salon, or work out of their own homes. Those who are employed may work for an hourly salary or simply commission on their services and any products they are able to sell. Those who rent stations or booths typically have to pay for their own supplies and materials, putting a dent into their actual earnings.

I​n order to obtain a license in cosmetology, almost all states in the U.S. require candidates to attend a cosmetology school and graduate from that course of study. Most cosmetology programs take about a year to complete, with testing for the state boards immediately following in order to have the license issued. Licences must be renewed periodically, and most cosmetologists have to continually update their education and skills to accommodate new innovations in the field and current trends and fads.

W​hile completing the course of study, candidates will take a number of hours of book theory, as well as a number of hours “on the floor” with hands-on training. Theory of cosmetology entails some chemistry, as int he chemicals used to permanently wave or color hair, anatomy for the massage portions and rudimentary business skills for those cosmetologists who will choose to be self-employed. While there are a few states who still allow training to be completing by apprenticing to a licensed cosmetologists, this is very rare and not a recommended way for beginning cosmetologists to learn their trade.

C​ollege Majors for Costume Design

Costume design for film and theater is an exciting career choice that is becoming more popular among American college graduates. However, many people are unsure how to tailor a college education for this field. Because most colleges do not offer a major titled “Costume Design,” students mistakenly believe that those schools do not offer a major that will benefit them in their field of choice. This is not necessarily the case. There are a number of related majors that, when combined with a relevant minor field of study, will provide students with an acceptable background to enter the costume design industry, either in New York, Hollywood or even abroad.

Most state colleges and universities will offer a major field of study in art, whether it be art history, design or another similar subject. When combined with a minor or even a double major in fashion or fashion design, the student will likely emerge with an educational background conducive to even the most stringent of employment requirements. Being able to speak on the history of art and fashion within a specific era is a skill that translates automatically into expertise in costume design. The additional creative arts study within the realm of design will also help with designing costumes for a more fantastical type of project, such as swords and sorcery or even science fiction. Oddly enough, even a minor in English literature or literature of one of the romance languages will add a great flavor to a major in fashion design. Again, being able to converse intelligently about the period in question, its values, styles and ways of interacting, becomes of utmost importance to those who contact for costume design services.

While education is the primary factor, it is also a good idea to participate in the theatrical arts while completing your degree. Having your volunteer work in college productions on your resume is a huge bonus and may be the deciding factor when a project manager is choosing between you and another recent graduate.

Costumes for Pets

Just as you may enjoy dressing up you children in cute outfits and playful costumes, you can also love dressing up pets in much the same way. There are many different pet outfits that you can buy for special occasions, like dresses and tuxedos that rival the real deal in terms of style. Imagine including your special pet in your wedding and dressing him or her up for the special event.

However, weddings aren’t the only occasion when pet costumes are appropriate. Halloween is another time when dressing your pet up is fun. Pet costumes come in many different styles and types to suit your individual pet. You can dress your dog or cat up like a pirate, a cowboy, a ladybug or bumblebee, a hot dog, a candy bar, or a whole host of other items or characters to suit your needs. Dress your bulldog up like a biker, or your dachshund as a frankfurter to get a laugh out of everyone that you pass.

Pet costumes can also be highly functional. They can keep your pets warm on cold winter nights during the Christmas season. They can keep delicate feet dry and safe while hiking rough terrain. They can protect sensitive hairless skin from damage from the elements like sun and snow. Keeping your pets safe and comfortable can be fashionable, as it is not difficult to find adorable pet outfits that are also highly functional and beneficial to the well-being of your pet.

Whether you are looking for the perfect way to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas, Halloween, or some other special occasion, pet costumes can go a long way in contributing to you and your pet’s enjoyment. Amass your own collection of pet costumes and pet clothing and you will always have the perfect outfit for every occasion that arises.

Start Small and Think Big

In this day and age, you never know when success will hit you in the face. If you have talent and can create your own designs, you may want to start your own business. You can start small and grow your business.

The Internet has opened the door to a number of opportunities. Many fashion designers over look the Internet as a place to start selling their designs. Many people with little education and a simple idea were highly successful on the Internet. For example, a homemaker with a daughter decided to dress of her daughter’s crocs. She added sparkles and other cute little embellishments. Everyone loved her daughter’s embellished crocs.

Since the crocs seemed to be a hit, she began selling them online. Her business was a huge success. Over a period of a couple of years, she actually became a millionaire. One small idea grew in to a million dollar business.

As a designer, you can create your own web site displaying and selling your designs. You will gain exposure and you can gradually build a customer base. Since you do not have a physical store to be concerned with, your overhead will be minimal. As your business grows, you can then think about a physical store or selling your clothes at existing retail stores.

There are a number of sites that you can sell your clothes on such as the auction sites. It will take hard work and dedication but you can succeed if you have a quality product to sell.

If you cannot wait until you break into the fashion industry, then you can create your own industry in the comforts of your own home. With the right talent and dedication, you may be able to create a profitable business doing what you love. The Internet may help you achieve your goals and dreams.