King Stag, Carlo Gozzi
Unrealized designs, 2013

The three main sources of inspiration for this project were the work of the late Alexander McQueen, a catalogue of European traditions and rituals surrounding the archetype of the Wild Man by photographer Charles Fréger, and the Triadic Ballet by Oskar Schlemmer.

The three sources described above have few aesthetic overlaps, and come from very distinct periods in history. Despite this, they do share one visual commonality: they all explore very specific ways of using clothing, props, masks, and items of personal adornment to alter the human form beyond its regular appearance for the purpose of creating a momentary suspension of disbelief in the viewer. This is precisely what guided me in the creation of my designs for King Stag. Drawing on the various ways in which each source addressed this goal, my designs are meant to push the boundary of what it means to be human both for the performers and for the audience.

In the process of creating the designs for these characters, it was important for me to keep in mind the physical experience of being a performer, and some of the practical limitations and implications of designing for live theater. Although my aim was to push the costumes in a highly stylized direction, I still wanted them to serve as vessels for the story that empowered the actors, not as independent augmentations or explorations of costuming on the human body. Thus, I relied on a spectrum of tools to play with the boundaries of normality – such as masks, headdresses, body/face paint, and non-traditional materials - using them to create relationships between the characters, and facilitate the unfolding of the play.

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