When people think of the word costume, they most often think of Halloween or “Sexy Nurse” or a lingerie set paired with animal ears. Tell them you work in theatrical costuming and they usually jump to the conclusion that you’re a Costume Designer and they imagine period gowns or elaborate costumes from The Hunger Games. Not all shows, however, require Effie’s extensive millinery or Katniss’ white fluffy ball gown. My current backstage work on Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company would showcase the opposite, but just as much strategy, skill, and planning goes into finding just the right pieces for characters in a modern show. Adding a twist to this set of modern designs is a twist in the plot where the characters head to a costume party, only to bring about tears, drama, and family feuds to Christopher Durang‘s comedy. Meghan Anderson Doyle‘s recreation of classic costumes from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to transform Vanya, Sonia, Masha, Spike, and Nina show us how modern fashions and costumes can be combined with these Disney character costumes to create and compliment an onstage character’s personality. Since fashion can influence costumes, can costume designs have an influence on fashion designs? To see how they can, take a look at fashion inspirations from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company‘s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike:
My first set begins with Masha, a movie star who returns home to visit her brother Vanya and her adopted sister Sonia. Masha’s desire to be the center of attention is further illustrated not only by her tendency toward younger trends and vibrant colors, but also by her determination to dress as Snow White in order to be the central figure of the rest of the group attending the costume party. Using a yellow retro-styled dress from Faire Jour as a base, this outfit pairs hints of purple with a necklace and bracelets from fair trade jewelry company, Faire Collection, and a purple jacket from U.K. based company, Deploy Workshop. By wearing blue earrings from Mata Traders, and accenting with a red purse from luxury fashion company Maiyet and vegan shoes from U.K. company Beyond Skin, Snow White is complete and ready for a weekend brunch. Don’t forget Faire Jour‘s sparrow ring to complete the look!
Snow White would be lost without her dwarfs, which is where Vanya’s Doc costume comes in handy. To add contrast to Zady‘s yellow-brown pants, a burgundy shirt from U.K. Fair Trade Clothing company Braintree Clothing, Apolis tan tie, and tan tweed cap from Cock and Bull Menswear stay in character with the wise and traditional Doc. Bringing in some browns with a zip coat from Nau Clothing, tweed shoes from Bourgeois Boheme, and brown leather belt from In God We Trust help compliment the natural colors of Doc’s clothing. And, of course, Doc would be nowhere without his glasses, this set from Ray-Ban. But don’t be fooled by his quiet nature, behind his glasses he sees what others often overlook and take for granted!
Refusing to be a dwarf and be an afterthought to her sister’s glamorous movie star personality, Sonia purchases her own costume for the Evil Queen and talks with a Maggie Smith accent. Covered in sequins and gems, Sonia is anything but forgotten. In order to give the purple dress from Muse Clothing Company a glamorous sheen, gemstone covered black sandals from Oliveira and rhinestone jewelry from ethical luxury company Cred Jewellry have been added for a touch of elegance. A black necklace handmade from artisan groups for Mata Traders and a black wrap clutch from Shop Ethica add finishing touches to this look. Be ready to outshine Snow White, who may have brighter colors, but gemstones from head to toe will always be the winner.
Like Nina, the girl next door who is eager to meet and please her favorite movie star, you might not realize Snow White is the theme for your group. A pink sequin and tulle dress may not be the best choice for an everyday style, but this pink dress from eco-fashion company Elroy Apparel is. Combined with jewelry from U.K. ethical jewelry designer Arabelle Brusan, diamond earrings from Maiyet, and a pink and gold bracelet from Faire Collection can make anyone feel like a Princess in pink. With gold and pink Beyond Skin sandals and a purse from Fashion Compassion, you’re ready to go . . . until Masha makes your realize you’ve worn the wrong costume and pulls out the Dopey costume Sonia refused to wear. Dopey may not seem like a fashionista’s dream, but don’t worry because purple, green, and brown can make any fashionable outfit! Start out simple with a green dress from Muse Clothing Company, a brown belt from Hearts.com and brown boots from Fortress of Inca, a Sustainable Fashion company who works with Peruvian artisans. Stay warm with purple leggings from Nature Shop, Vaute Couture‘s brown coat, and purple cap also from Hearts.com. Keep your look stylish with purple and green jewelry from Faire Collection.
It might take a lot of convincing to get your beau to use Prince Charming as style inspiration, like it does for Masha convincing Spike not be a rap star for the costume party, but with styling with blue, white, and a hint of red has more influence than you may think. Start with a basic white shirt from U.K. fair trade fashion company People Tree and chinos from Nau Clothing. Adding brown boots from Fortress of Inca and belt from Zady, a company that carries Sustainable Fashion products, will help compliment the basics. Does he still need convincing? Then don’t forget about Prince Charming’s light blue with a tie from Faire Jour and a hint of red with a pocketsquare from Apolis. Like Spike, he may still want to wander around in his underwear, but he won’t want to in public with this outfit!
Want to see more of Meghan Anderson Doyle’s costume designs and enjoy a night out at the theatre? Then head to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts website to purchase tickets to see the comedy about family feuds in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike!
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company
Director: Jenn Thompson
Costume Designer: Meghan Anderson Doyle
Actors: Sam Gregory, Eddie Lopez, Kathleen McCall, Socorro Santiago, Lesley Shires, and Amelia White.