Costumer's Notebook

Often as I'm working I get curious peeks over my shoulder at my various notebooks to see my sketches and what I'm working on. Working off this idea, I named my blog "Costumer's Notebook" to help share some of the design work, the challenges, the triumphs and the end results of putting together productions or projects. I've found the people really enjoy getting to see what goes on behind the scenes. 

Something for myself. A cosplay inspired by "The Night Circus"

As a costume designer I get asked all the time if I make all my own clothes. And the truth is, I hardly ever do. In theater production or fashion the end result is fabulous but the behind the scenes is a lot of long, intense hours. My entire focus is making others look good. Costume designers usually only look fabulous on opening night and the remainder of the time we wear jeans and sweatshirts that are covered in lint, thread and paint.

I've made a couple of costume items for myself over the years, but literally the last time I made myself a gown was back in 2006. Since then I've worked on, or designed for, over 40 professional productions. 

I have spent a lifetime admiring the Victorian era and decided I was going to finally make something for myself using all the skills I had acquired over the last decade. This was a project partially for fun but also as an exercise to remain sharp in the historical sewing realm since most of my time is involved in the professional ballet world.

I am a huge fan of Erin Morgenstern's "The Night Circus" and also Gail Carriger's "The Parasol Protectorate Series" which was the inspirational push to create this. So this gown is an amalgam of my love and admiration for the novels and to be honest is a fair piece of Cosplay (mostly as magician Celia Bowen from The Night Circus). It could also easily serve as a base ensemble to add accessories to for a "steam" slant if desired. As a costume designer, I feel that if "Steampunk" were really a reality and ladies were running around in gowns fighting evil, the aesthetic would be more in the Victorian time frame of "Late Bustle Period 1883-1889". During this time the skirts, hems and accessories of the dresses were not quite as long and elaborate but if a lady desired, there could be lots of hidden weapons in that bustle. ;-) But I digress.

This is constructed from 100% cotton in various printed patterns. I chose the cream and black motif since everything in "Night Circus" is in black and white. In The Night Circus story,  a network of devoted fans styling themselves "rêveurs" ("dreamers") develops around the circus; they identify to each other by adding a splash of red to garb that otherwise matches the characteristic black and white of the circus tents. I put a small "pop" of red in with the lips and the small red feather in the hat band since I am a self-styled "rêveur". I also have a overwhelming personal penchant for stripes and pleats. 

The gown is worn over period-correct undergarments- corset, petticoat and bustle. Construction and sewing techniques are a mix between historical and theatrical. My trim choices are not necessarily historically accurate but like I said previously, that wasn't really the point of this excersize.

The photo shoot came out awesome and it was so hard to choose only a few favorites. I want to thank Amanda Tipton for her artistry and assistance with all the planning. It was truly the most fun costume collaboration I've had to date. And special thanks to Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec for her makeup design. 

Costume design and construction: Rachael Kras

Photography: Amanda Tipton, Photography for Fine Artists

Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec

To the reader: Thank you for finding inspiration in these photos. Please preserve all credits for the artists involved when sharing. All rights reserved.

  Costume Design and Construction:  Rachael Kras  |   Photography:   Amanda Tipton   |   Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

Costume Design and Construction: Rachael Kras | Photography: Amanda Tipton | Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

  Costume Design and Construction:  Rachael Kras  |   Photography:   Amanda Tipton   |   Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

Costume Design and Construction: Rachael Kras | Photography: Amanda Tipton | Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

  Costume Design and Construction:  Rachael Kras  |   Photography:   Amanda Tipton   |   Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

Costume Design and Construction: Rachael Kras | Photography: Amanda Tipton | Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

  Costume Design and Construction:  Rachael Kras  |   Photography:   Amanda Tipton   |   Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

Costume Design and Construction: Rachael Kras | Photography: Amanda Tipton | Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

  Costume Design and Construction:  Rachael Kras  |   Photography:   Amanda Tipton   |   Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

Costume Design and Construction: Rachael Kras | Photography: Amanda Tipton | Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

  Costume Design and Construction:  Rachael Kras  |   Photography:   Amanda Tipton   |   Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

Costume Design and Construction: Rachael Kras | Photography: Amanda Tipton | Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

  Costume Design and Construction:  Rachael Kras  |   Photography:   Amanda Tipton   |   Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

Costume Design and Construction: Rachael Kras | Photography: Amanda Tipton | Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

  Costume Design and Construction:  Rachael Kras  |   Photography:   Amanda Tipton   |   Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

Costume Design and Construction: Rachael Kras | Photography: Amanda Tipton | Makeup Design: Meredith Strathmeyer Worobec. All rights reserved.

Wonderbound, Colorado's Contemporary Dance Company

Wonderbound is an American dance company that lives at the convergence of tradition and innovation, vulnerability and courage, and intimacy and openness. Under the leadership of husband-and-wife team Garrett Ammon and Dawn Fay, Wonderbound is committed to the development and sharing of collaborative artistic experiences. These undertakings have come to define Wonderbound, producing creations that erase boundaries between mediums and engage artists and audiences in candid explorations of the human experience.

These undertakings have come to define Wonderbound, producing creations that erase boundaries between mediums and engage artists and audiences in candid explorations of the human experience. This video not only invites you into our artistry, but also opens up our world of creative place making, collaboration and community projects.

Music by: 
Chimney Choir http://chimneychoir.com
Ian Cooke http://www.iancookemusic.com
Jesse Manley http://www.jessemanley.com

Choreography by: Garrett Ammon, Artistic Director for Wonderbound.com

All Costume Design: Rachael Kras


Source: http://wonderbound.com/about/

The Masks of "Marie"

For those of you who experienced Marie last weekend, you know the haunting effect that Tom Varani and Andi Pliner’s masks had on the production. Not only did they illustrate the unstoppable march of revolutionary fervor but they also highlighted how alone and helpless the Queen felt at the end of her reign. Crafting such emotionally potent pieces of art was no easy task and involved hours of casting, sanding, recasting and painting. We caught up with the artists behind the masks to see how it all happened.

Costume Design by Rachael Kras http://www.RachaelKras.com

Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado: http://www.bcocolorado.org

Tom Varani and Andi Pliner: http://wonderbound.com/collaborators/tom-varani

Amanda Tipton Photography: http://amandatipton.com

Videographer: http://wonderbound.com/people/samuel-pike

Source: http://wonderbound.com/shows-events/marie-...

Presenting Denver: Designing Woman, Rachael Kras - Costume Designer

Marie Antoinette is known for several things –gravity-defying powdered coiffures, lavish tastes, a falsely ascribed quote – the least of which being seen as an actual person. Rachael Kras, resident costume designer for Wonderbound, says that when Garrett Ammon, the company’s Artistic Director, approached her with his idea to examine the French queen through a contemporary lens, she was “terribly excited.” ...

 

Source: http://www.presentingdenver.org/blog/2015/...

Inside the costumes of "Winter"

Happy holidays everyone! 5280 did a wonderful write up and interview with me about Wonderbound's new take on a winter tradition. I've also posted some fun videos regarding the production below.

For many ballet companies, December means Nutcracker time. But we wanted to get back to the "roots" of what winter time means and mix in a few fairy tales.

It was a very fun show to do as the space was quite small and intimate. This allowed me to add more detail than I usually do for the stage. We also engaged all 5 senses of the audience for this production to create an immersive experience. 

Have a wintery, wonderful, Wonderbound holiday!

Costume Design Interviews:

Inside the costume design inspirations for "Winter" by 5280 Magazine

"Winter" sneak peek

Performer Interviews:

Wonderbound goes into the woods - Point Magazine Interview with Dancer Meredith Strathmeyer

Interview with Candice Bergeron about her character for "Winter"

~Rachael

Welcome to the new site!

Hi all!

I'd like to welcome you to my newly designed website. I've been tweaking and reworking this for a bit and remembered the saying; "art is never finished, it is only abandoned". So I'm just going to publish it! In launching this new site I realize that many things tend to come full circle for me in March. RogueCostumes.com was founded in March of 2006. The original site was launched in March of 2007 and here is the new site with loads of new work presented to you- in March 2014. Whether it be the advent of Spring, (or maybe tax season), that spurns new thought and planning towards the future that makes March into something significant, I don't know, but here it is. Ha!

I've had interesting feelings and emotions in creating this new site. Seeing the enormous body of work I've started to accumulate brings back memories and throws time into perspective as well. (I also had the thought of; "Oh my gosh I have a body of work!".) Challenges and experiences I thought were exceedingly difficult when I first started out in costume are only mildly amusing stories now. Those same challenges presented now barely garner a passing thought as I execute the next design. Good, bad, & ugly; it's been a rewarding journey and I wouldn't trade any of it. 

When I had started out my costume work doing private commissions and contract work it became necessary to have a web presence. So the L.A. based, uber-talented artist and web designer, Bret Rigney, made my first website and logo for me which served me well for many years. I just wanted to give Bret a big shout out to say "thank you". 

Needs change over the years and I wanted my site to be more dynamic, easy to edit and update, and to be managed without the brain damage of using a text editor. I hope to show the work I'm creating now and provide deeper insight into the costume design and build process. The new site not only helps me create some lovely galleries on the fly, but has a built-in blog function and links to the latest social media activity. Visit the site to see the latest works, but feel free to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram to see more behind the scenes stuff as it comes. Some things will appear on social media but won't make it into the official production galleries.

Often as I'm working I get curious peeks over my shoulder at my various notebooks to see my sketches and what I'm working on. Working off this idea, I hope to create articles in my "Costumer's Notebook" blog to help share some of the design work, the challenges, the triumphs and the end results of putting together a production for the stage. I certainly don't claim to know it all but in the age of "reality" shows, I've found the people really enjoy getting to see what goes on behind the scenes. But for myself, I know that the average person often has no idea that a production is built up from scratch over the course of 6-8 weeks (or even much less) by a group of full-time, highly skilled artists, craftsmen and technicians. All done to bring you 2 hours of entertainment. Perhaps by sharing some of this, I can show part of the scope of the enormous work that goes into creating art for the stage.

Grateful acknowledgement is given to Garrett Ammon, Artistic Director of Wonderbound who is not only my boss, but one of the most inspiring people you will ever meet. I'm grateful everyday to get to create art with him. Garrett maintains a blog where you can follow not only the art he creates, but how it is used to better a community, cross boundaries and make meaningful impact on the public.

Lastly, but certainly not least, if anyone has ever worked on any kind of website or blog, you start to discover very quickly that you could be making the most gorgeous stuff the world has ever seen, but if you don't have good photographs you can't even begin to show it. Amanda Tipton is both a wedding photographer and a fine arts photographer. Look her up if you are in the Colorado area. She's a consummate professional in her art.

Thanks for visiting!

Hugs,

Rachael

Presenting Denver: Wonderbound's "Love" and the Examined Life

Wondering what to expect from this Wonderbound performance?  Expect enthusiastic applause.  Expect to witness powerful artists flexing their various crafts and loving it.  Expect a multi-generational audience ready to participate in the humor and joy the company brings to the stage. 

Read more here...

How does one produce costumes that are striking but not overwhelming, sumptuous but wearable (for serious movement!), and inform the choreography? I don’t know. Ask Intimate Letters (also “When the Power Goes Out” and “For the Love of Pete”) costume designer Rachael Kras. While immaculately finished, the general sense is of a state of undress, which suggests vulnerability. This suits the close and private nature of the piece. That is, private within oneself as well as private between two people.
— http://www.presentingdenver.org/blog/2014/02/16/Wonderbounds-Love-and-the-Examined-Life.aspx