Costumes are essential to the design of a show because they relay important information to the audience. First they let you know what a character is like:
- Are they old? Young? Do think they are opposite of their age?
- Are they rich or poor?
- Do they like to dress up? Or are they a slob?
- Are they happy? Crazy? Distressed?
How a character dress may also give clues as to their background, where they came from, what they like? If throughout show, one character only wears the color purple all the time, this could mean that their favorite color is purple or perhaps, they believe themselves to be royalty.
Costumes also help set the scene of a play. They add to the world creation of a show. If characters all came on stage wearing tuxedos, empire waist dresses, dusters, and large hats, one could visually see that the show is taking place at the turn of the 20th century. However, if you saw characters wearing period costumes and also modern dress, you might think the show is set in two time periods. Interpreting these ideas and turning them into a design are all the tasks of the costume designer.
Ana Kuzmanic, costume designer for Camino Real, tells us more about costume design and her process: