Costume Design

  • 500 word research paper

Edith Head is one of my favors costume designer, and she was a popular costume artist that was nominated various times for Academy Awards and won eight. She attended Berkley and Stanford University before landing a job as a sketch artist for Paramount Pictures. She later developed a connection with Alfred Hitchcock which led to her departure from Paramount to Universal Studios. Unfortunately, we do not find a lot of impact from Edith’s fashion in our time period, since now we have totally different trends in style. However, her designs greatly influenced the fashion trends during her career. This is when the movie industry was growing and many were watching movies for fashion inspiration.

One such movie was The Princess Jungle (1936), in which the main character wears a sarong that was inspired by the jungle, this sarong was made of a satin crepe. This piece got so much attention during this time that people were imitating this same garment and inspired many to create swimsuits based on it. Another famous piece that Head created was a dress for actress Elizabeth Taylor. This was for the film, A Place in the Sun (1951), the dress was made of tulle and emphasized the waist. It also included some colored lace. Just like Edith’s sarong dress this one also had a major impact in fashion trends during that time. Many stores sold knockoffs and young girls used similar styled dresses for prom. Also it was one of my favorite dress from Edith’s designs.



Here are more costumes that I think they were her best designs

  • Grace Kelly’s blue dress in To Catch a Thief


In this project, I want to make a costume wedding dress. First I have to think about what options I have for the top part of the dress. I found out the most common are corset or bustier. The difference between corset and bustier include their functions and looks. Corsets can be made as an under bust corset or over bust corset, usually it ends below the waist, either at the hips or even lower. Traditional corsets are made with a fabric like cotton coutil, stiffened with steel boning. It is meant to be a drastically re-shaping figure, the more drastic the design, the curvier small waist shape will look. On the other hand, bustiers feature a built-in bra. They are shorter than a corset and end above or right are the waistline. Bustiers usually made from flexible fabrics and soft plastic boning, and they are common for brides to wear. Corsets are traditionally held closed with laces. When the laces are at the back and tie at the waistline, they provide optimal support. As you pull the laces tighter, your waist becomes smaller and more defined. In addition, traditional corsets also feature a metal busk closure in the front. Bustiers usually do not have functional laces. They have hook-and-eye closures, like those you’d see on a bra, either in the front or the back. Upon all this research, I decided making the bustier will be a better fit for my project.

references :

  • Identify Film

The Phantom of the Opera is a novel written by Gaston Leroux and published in 1909.  The story gets inspiration from events that occurred in the Paris Opera in the 19th Century.  It was later turned into films, and adapted as plays. One of the most recently popular films based on the novel is the 2004 version of the same title. In it starred, Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum. Rossum plays the role of Christine Daaé, who is a main character in the movie. Daaé, is a young woman that is replacing the lead singer of the opera house.



The fashion style that was used for the film was inspired from back in the 19th century, specifically the 1870’s and the style was that of a Victorian era fashion. During this time period, women begin to slim down on the size of their dress with the waistline still visible. In contrast with the 1860’s the necklines varied, instead of high neckline during the day and low during the evening. The sleeves also slimmed down and were not as full as in the previous two decades. This is the decade that the polonaise was presented, which removed the need for a separate overskirt, since the polonaise combined the bodice and overskirt into one. There was also the tournure or bustle that made it look like the women with polonaise had an enormous behind. By the end of the decade the dress slimmed even further and with the use of the cuirass, the fit was more close.

There around 9 identical scenes in the film in which Christine Daaé changes her costumes.

  • Christine Daaé is dressed identically to the other dancing girls for the rehearsal of “Hannibal”.
  • Christine is dressed as a mate in the actual play.
  • Christine is dressed in a full gown for her first time preforming in the stage
  • Christine is dressed in her underdresses the first time she meets the Phantom.
  • Christine is dressed in dress for outdoor scenes.
  • Christine is dressed for the Bal Masque.
  • Christine is dressed to perform with the Phantom on the stage.
  • Christine is dressed in a wedding dress, while the Phantom threatens he will kill Raoul (her fiancé).
  • Christine is dressed in all black to the grave to visit her father.

I will use these 9 scenes for my illustrations of the character

  • Illustrations of characters

  1. Christine is dressed in a wedding dressimage-24-10-16-08-15-2.jpeg
  2. Christine is dressed to the grave to visit her fatherimage-24-10-16-08-15-1.jpeg
  3. Christine Daaé is dressed identically to the other dancing girls for the rehearsal of “Hannibal”.image-24-10-16-08-15-3.jpeg
  4. Christine is dressed in dress for outdoor scenesimage-24-10-16-08-15.jpeg
  5. Christine is dressed as a mate in the actual play.draw6.png
  6. Christine is dressed for the Bal Masqued1.png
  7. Christine is dressed to perform with the Phantom on the staged3.png
  8. Christine is dressed in her underdresses the first time she meets the Phantomd4.png
  9. Christine is dressed in a full gown for her first time preforming in the staged2.png
  • Fabric considerations and treatments to distress and modify for the production (knit, dye, weave)

I made the dress as film costume, not like stage costume, the material I used were better. I chose silk satin and tule as main fabrics for the wedding dress, and I used twill fabric for the bustier. Other fabrics I use for this project will be lining, and different types of lace. Also I used hooks and eyes (different sizes), plastic boning, and a zipper.

For the dress top, I made the bustier attached to the self silk satin and closing up the bottom with raffle. I have tried different ways to make the raffle look puffy and has enough value for the designs, and I finally ended up with a good outcome on the actual garment. I cut the pattern I needed for the top from a big piece of lace, and I hand sewed the lace onto the front of the top. I put hooks and eyes in the back of the top (bustier) after fitting.

For the fabric treatments, I sent a big piece of the silk satin and hard tule to Park Pleating Company for my pleating done. I chose the Cable pleat for the silk satin and Sunburst pleat for the hard tule.

  • Fitting an actress

Waist Width: 30″

Bust Width: 35″

Arm Hole Length: 10″

Hip Width: 34″

leg Length: 36″

  • Hair, wigs and make­up

Hair style will depend on the actress’s real hair color and the hair dresser can arrange the style. There are no wigs need. The makeup can be simple, as long as it’s not too over done like smoky eyeshadow, or bright pink lips and as long as it is suitable for the film.

  • photograph costume being worn

8 F (8 of 3).png8 F (9 of 3).png8 F (10 of 3).png8 F (8 of 5).png8 F (11 of 5).png8 F (9 of 5).png8 F (12 of 5).png




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