by Lyndi Sue Mecham, Costume Designer and Janine Sobeck, dramaturg
As so many of the design elements for a show need to work together in harmony, designers often collaborate with one another, sharing ideas, thoughts, and inspirations. In the case of The Servant of Two Masters, one collaboration was between Costume Designer Lyndi Sue Mecham and BYU’s Hair and Make-up Supervisor Janell Turley. Turley was creating the wigs for a few characters and came to Mecham to discuss how the wig could enhance the design of the costumes. Here is a look at what inspirations and ideas Mecham shared in order to help Turley create the perfect wig for the character of Clarice. You can find the complete journey to Clarice’s costume (and other characters) in the program study guide.
Clarice: Ingénue in looks, period influence, but with modern edge
These were the main pictures (and descriptive words) I kept from the “character icon” packet for Clarice. The first one is the traditional Clarice from Commedia shape. I liked the loud but soft hairpiece in the second, and I love the roll/curl/”hurricane”/swirl in Paris’ hair. It wouldn’t have to be that big and I definitely don’t want the slick look for everything else, but I love that swoop. Especially if it’s ombre.
These are images Stephanie sent in the beginning. Something that really helped me to understand the characters and where to take them was watching rehearsals and run-through. The dress from the front cover of strictly ballroom definitely played part in Clarice’s dress though, so that’s still there.
These were the ideas that inspired the rest of Clarice. I did a mesh of everything and came up with two different renderings. The design progressed from my favorite (it actually goes left to right) when I found out what she needed to do in rehearsal. I loved the sparkle, but we decided the best mix would be the shape on the right, but that we could invert the layers to underneath instead of over the top. That tied in the “period” feel we wanted but let it still be modern. Making sense?
This is the painting, titled “The Happy Accidents of the Swing,” painted sometime in the second half of the 18th century. In the movie “The Slipper and the Rose” this scene is almost replicated as far as the female character goes.
This film is the reason I have always wanted to be a costume designer. When Director Stephanie Breinholt told me that she wanted a mix of the periods in every character, I knew the inspiration for “period” in Clarice’s dress would come from this movie.
I love the tiny little, perfectly round spit curls on the side next to the beautiful swoop over the ear. I love the height, and I’m pretty sure there are little sparkly things in it because in the movie, the Fairy Godmother makes the wig out of a mop head and magical bubbles. It’s really cool.
I also pulled some inspiration from early movie stars for the dress, though the sleeves are about the only thing that stayed. A different option to curls that lead into the chignon could be fingerwaves. I have no idea how well they hold up, but this is gorgeous, and reminds me of some of the rippled trims on her dress.
So that is a brief look into some of my inspirations. That was fun. Designing IS really fun.