5 Books Every Costume Design Student Should Read


Costume designers are an integral part of any theatre. While the audience might see a beautiful costume on stage, behind the scenes there is a great amount of detail and work put into preparing each costume design. Costume designers shine through their work on stage by understanding not just each individual piece, but the history behind it. Here are the five books every costume design student should read at least once!


Costume Designer’s Handbook: A Complete Guide for Amateur and Professional Costume Designers 2nd Revised Edition by Rosemary Ingham and Liz Covey

Newly revised and updated, The Costume Designer’s Handbook is now more comprehensive than ever and is the backbone of any costume designer’s library since its original publication in 1983. Features of this new edition include:

– A foreword by Arvin Brown, Artistic Director of the Long Wharf Theatre

– Guidance on how to read and analyze a play

– Plans for establishing a costume plot

– Insights into working with directors and other designers

– Resources for doing historical research

– A discussion of the properties of colour

– Sketching, drawing, and drafting techniques

– An 8-page color insert

– 150 black-and-white photos, drawings, and charts

– A complete, up-to-date reference section

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5 Books Every Costume Design Student Should ReadThe Costume Technician’s Handbook 3rd Edition by Rosemary Ingham and Liz Covey

In the third edition of The Costume Technician’s Handbook, Rosemary Ingham and Liz Covey once again draw upon their many years of hands-on experience in costume design and technology. Now they add information gleaned across the country from shop managers and staff about their methods and supplement it with images of some of the very best theatrical costume work to be seen today. And they continue to provide the most complete guide to developing costumes that are personally distinctive and artistically expressive.

Ingham and Covey have been attentive to technical developments as well as to keep you up to date and ready for action. They have expanded their book to include:

– Two new chapters on costume shop management and the use of computers in costume shops

– Instructions for using new materials

– A substantially updated bibliography

– Lots of brand-new color and black-and-white photographs

– New appendices on mathematics for technicians, health and safety standards, and much more

Whether you’re a professional costume technician, a student of costume design, or an adventurous home stitcher, settle for nothing less than the best – The Costume Technician’s Handbook.

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5 Books Every Costume Design Student Should ReadFundamentals of Theatrical Design: A Guide to the Basics of Scenic, Costume, and Lighting Design by Karen Brewster and Melissa Shafer

Script analysis for designers — The objectives of theatrical design — Researching the design — Collaboration — Design elements — Design principles and visual composition — Scenic design — Costume design — Lighting design — Building a career in theater design .

With clear and concise examples and hands-on exercises, Fundamentals of Theatrical Design illustrates the way in which the three major areas of theatrical design–scenery, costumes, and lighting–are intrinsically linked. Veteran theater designers Karen Brewster and Melissa Shafer have consulted with a broad range of seasoned theater industry professionals–playwrights, actors, directors, producers, stage managers–to provide an exhaustive guide full of sound advice and insightful approaches to design. From beginning designers just starting out to experienced directors looking to gain exposure and advance their careers, anyone with an interest in theatrical design is sure to appreciate this book’s unique approach.

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5 Books Every Costume Design Student Should ReadThe Costume Supervisor’s Toolkit: Supervising Theater Costume Production from First Meeting to Final Performance (The Focal Press Toolkit Series) 1st Edition town Rebecca Pride

The Costume Supervisor’s Toolkit explores the responsibilities of a Costume Supervisor within a theatrical, opera or dance production company. Rebecca Pride provides an insight into all manner of processes, beginning with a definition of the role, and offers explanations of the timeline from the first design meetings, leading all the way up to managing fittings and final rehearsals. This how-to guide outlines best working practices, including building a team and creating a Costume Bible, whilst also providing helpful resources such as sizing guides, a list of useful addresses, and case studies from renowned theatrical organisations.

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5 Books Every Costume Design Student Should ReadAuguste Racinet. The Complete Costume History town Françoise Tétart-Vittu

Originally published in France between 1876 and 1888, Auguste Racinet’s Le Costume historique was in its day the most wide-ranging and incisive study of clothing ever attempted. Covering the world history of costume, dress, and style from antiquity through to the end of the 19th century, the six volume work remains completely unique in its scope and detail.

This TASCHEN reprint presents Racinet’s exquisitely precise color illustrations, as well as his delightful descriptions and often witty commentary. Spanning everything from ancient Etruscan attire to French women’s couture, material is arranged according to Racinet’s original plan by culture and subject. As expansive in its reach as it is passionate in its research and attention to detail, Racinet’s Costume History is an invaluable reference for students, designers, artists, illustrators, and historians; and a rich source of inspiration for anyone with an interest in clothing and style.

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