It goes without saying that costume is considered to be whatever an actor (or actress) is wearing during a performance. As a matter of fact, costumes may be rather costly and at the same time time-consuming. It can be easily explained by the fact that some of more elaborate female costumes in the recent performances cost more than five thousand US dollars each and take up to three hundred hours to make. Every more or less educated person knows that for the actor costumes are most important elements. It plays a central role turning the actor into a character.
Speaking about stage costume designers, it is necessary to admit that unlike any other design arts the difference between costumes for screen and stage is minimal. By the way, the world of stage costumes design often includes the related art of make-up. So, as it has already been mentioned stage costume designers are responsible for creating the personality and for the most part contribute to the presence of the stage character. At the same time, they should have an extensive experience, skills and knowledge in the area of various materials, which are being used (such as fabrics, leathers, furs, metals, etc.). Among other important things to be taken into consideration by stage costume designers are undergarments, gloves, oats and suits, shoes, jewelry, armor, stockings, weapons, glasses and other image-making accessories.
As it is a case with set designers, stage costume designers should in some cases create clothing, which is a work of imagination rather than modeled after actual cultural, historical, or fashion examples. The mentioned examples can often be seen in science fiction and various space movies. Most of the time stage costume designers are using a combination of strategies and sources for creating new garments. It is worthy admitting that the first question usually asked by stage costume designers should be: Is this a contemporary or historical period show? By the way, for the costume designer contemporary means today; modern is considered to be the period within the last twenty years; on the other hand, the period means anything that happened any time earlier in the past. If a stage costume designer is told to create a costume for the contemporary he or she has the advantage of being able to purchase various kind of ready-made garments. If the stage is supposed to be modern, stage costume designers are likely to find some pieces at second-hand stores (these options are usually cheaper and less-consuming). The choices of stage costume designers are probably more limited if it is a period piece.
One of the first documents prepared by stage costume designers is, no doubt, a costume list, which is supposed to comprise each costume and accessories necessary for the show. Costume list is considered to be an important tool for wisely implementing the funds allotted for this certain purpose in the production budget.
It is impossible to speak about stage costume designers and not to mention the most notable of them that are well known in many countries of the world: Theoni Aldridge and William Ivey Long. The second one is American stage designer who has a reputation of a stickler for details.