Tuesday, January 15, 2008
It stuns me to realize how small people were until recently. At almost 6ft tall, I cant imagine being so tiny. This photo of me was taken at the Victoria and Albert museum in London about 5 years ago. The detail in the dress is amazing. I am always so excited to see these garments up close and personal after looking at them in books all my life. You just cannot get the grandness and scale of anything until standing right next to it.
I had the same excitement when I saw the Shinrone gown in Dublin for the first time. You cant get the same scope when looking at a photo or a diagram on a pattern. I saw how the threads were so expertly woven in the cloth. I cried. Maybe it is just an old dress dragged from the bog, but could the woman who had worn that dress even imagine a woman of the 21st century crying at the loveliness of the weave of her simple gown?
I'm sure the guard thought I was silly if he took any notice at all.
Here is an article I stumbled on last night that says it all for any of us who make or create things of quality and value. I constantly get asked how much it would cost to make something like in this photo. And when I give a rough quote, I am always surprised at the sticker shock. Like I could actually make this for $300.00. I know you all suffer from this........I wish we had a way to band together and get some uniform pricing, but that would be pretty difficult. And I'm sure that's why it hasn't been done yet. That I know of anyway. Great article at any rate. And this doesn't apply to everyone of course. I am so very appreciative of everyone who gets how much things cost and why and want to support me and do.
The Cost of Making or Buying Costumes
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Oh Yes, I said it. And before you try to find my address to shoot me, there is a fine story behind this blog.
My friend Lynne's mother had a mink coat that she just never wore. Living down in southern california just wasnt practical for a mink coat and it hung there in the closet for years - sad and lonely.
Lynnes' dad had bid on the coat at a hospital charity auction for breast cancer. He forked out some bucks for this baby and it went to help some woman who needed it.
I dont condone the slaughter of animals for furs that we dont need. However, if I lived in Russia, I would probably want one for myself. The fact is that these animals die for our needs wethere they are warrented or not and I cringe at the idea of wasting the fur or any part that could be used. What a waste of a life. I will recontruct or refuerbish or alter a fur coat if it can be used again. If you have ever looked inside one of these coats, they are a miracle of technology. HUNDREDS of little tiny pelt pieces are sewn together. It is truely incredible.
HOWEVER, working with fur is a bitch. The little mink fur flies everywhere. I wore a mask and I still caughed up a hairball or two. I respect anyone who works with fur, fake fur, or feathers. Ive done it many times. Pay these people well, my friends.
So as you can see by the photos, I took this white mink coat apart, took the lining out, made an ultrasuede back and reconstructed this coat into a vest by using the front and neck ruffle. I then used the coat lining as a vest lining.
Now this can be worn and used with love and respect for the animals who died.
I stole this photo off the web. Couldnt help myself. The sheerness of this little 19th century bonnet just thrills me. Im going to make one for myself. One of these days. And then I went to see Sweeney Todd last night and Lucy was wearing a very reasonable facsimile of it. Well, this and the movie gave me crazy dreams all night. Nobody makes murder more fun than Mr. Depp! Why, oh why can we not dress more creatively in our every day modern life? Why are not children learned in the art of threading a needle at least - and sewing on a button?
In fact, Im in a velvet and English Cotton Netting kinda mood these days. Wouldnt it be lovely if more were?
Oh, a nice light organza or voile as well. Maybe its the little flowers popping up in the winter garden that are doing this to me.
If anyone was attempting to try to get a coherent word from me last week, it was because I was sick with that hideous cold with sniffles and sneezing that never stops and I was working on a costume for the teaser of this magnificent work of art that showed the other night to a packed house.
Go see this. Its amazing.
MORDAKE will premiere at Shotwell Studios (3252-A 19th Street, San Francisco)
International Arts Festival, from the 21st of May through the 8th of June 2008.
For the latest info. visit mordake.com or call 415-399-9554
One of the weirdest as well as most melancholy stories of human deformity is that of Edward Mordake, said to have been heir to one of the noblest peerages in England. He never claimed the title. He lived in complete seclusion refusing the visits even of the members of his own family. He was a man of fine attainments, a profound scholar, and a musician of rare ability. His figure was remarkable for its grace, and his face--that is to say, his natural face--was that of an Antinous. But upon the back of his head was another face, that of a beautiful girl, 'lovely as a dream, hideous as a devil.' The female face was a mere mask, 'occupying only a small portion of the posterior part of the skull, yet exhibiting every sign of intelligence, of a malignant sort, however.' It would be seen to smile and sneer while Mordake was weeping. The eyes would follow the movements of the spectator, and the lips would 'gibber without ceasing.' No voice was audible, but Mordake avers that he was kept from his rest at night by the hateful whispers of his 'devil twin,' as he called it, 'which never sleeps, but talks to me forever of such things as they only speak of in hell.
Music Erling Wold
Libretto Douglas Kearney
Director Melissa Weaver
Starring John Duykers
Costumes Kathleen Crowley
Drawings Lynne Rutter
Extra sounds Thom Blum
The Mother Diana Pray
Friday, January 11, 2008
Connie Champagnes' grandmother was a flapper. It must be in the genes.......
I repaired her granny's dress. Fixed some rips and reattached the waistband. The dress was in pretty excellent condition and it fits Connie to perfection, but we just wanted it to be able to withstand a few performances without disintegrating onstage.
I wish this was a better photo because the construction was fun to examine. Gran made it herself as many women did back in the day before clothes were so easily mass produced.
Souless mass production.
Did I say that?
Sunday, January 6, 2008
The Rattie Tattie™ Dance skirt: A little coverup to go over your Flufflie Rufflie™ Dance Pants and pantaloons. No two skirts will be alike, but there is a basic shape and it consists of overlapping layers of knit lace and whatever else floats our perspective boats. Vague, I know - but I dont buy volumes of fabric. I just grab what I can find thats affordable and I love. It has an elastic band covered in lace. Looks great over your jeans or another skirt as well! Thanks for modeling this, Audra! You look amazing!
XS hip 31-35
S hip 33-37
M hip 35-39
L hip 37-42
XL hip 39-44
Inquire about ordering:
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Alison Banks is shown here dancing out the old year! This woman can twirl like Stevie Nicks .....Surely a good sign that 2008 will be full of fun and excitement!
Her corset was provided by moi......custom made for her and only her. She is also shown here in my workshop. Look how great this looks with jeans! I espeacilly like how the double ribbons in the back match the colors of the corset so well. Notice Carrie laughing in the background...... Obviously we have fun here at KathleenCrowleyCostumeCouture! Its the main reason that I do this. I work hard and I love it. I meet the loveliest people who often become my friends. It really doesnt get much better than that, now does it!
I want a photo of that waist cincer, Carrie! It was beautiful on you!