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Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record
Costume Programming
Headed to the Gate

Bob Haven
Costume Design & Technology Louisville Programming Chair

As we get closer to post time for the 2006 USITT Louisville Conference & Stage Expo, it's time to check the racing form to see what costume programs will be at the starting gate.

First out are the two professional development workshops (PDWs) being offered this year. Join Herb Camburn and friends for a two-day, intensive rendering workshop. Participants will work through the realm of drawing from life models to rendering in various media as well as running headlong into the world of using a computer as another rendering tool.

Also running on Tuesday will be a millinery workshop, Hats Entertainment! This day-long session, to be held in the classroom of Louisville's own Baer Fabrics, will be a hands-on version of the projects Joel Ebarb amazed us all with in Long Beach. Since participants will be asked to use their own fashion fabric (from home or from the selections available for purchase at Baer Fabrics), this is the perfect opportunity to build a hat or two for an upcoming show, to build up your stock, or just get ready for the Kentucky Derby!

Hats will also play a role in the regular programming as freelance milliner Hannah Bledstein of Chicago will explain a method of creating your own hat block. Her process uses lightweight but durable materials that are very cost efficient.

While we are on the subject of heads and hats, let's add some hair. Bill Brewer's session on Non-Traditional Wigs will provide a wealth of ideas and techniques for creating wigs out of a variety of materials.

Filling up the starting gate is an interesting session on the Theatre De La Mode, a presentation of a unique collection of theatre and fashion in miniature. It was developed in 1945-46 by over 55 couture houses, milliners, and accessory makers of the Parisian couture industry to raise funds for war relief. The collection is now housed in the Maryhill Museum in Goldendale, Washington.

Following up on the international aspects of the conference, Hilary Baxter, a British designer, will present a session on Drag Gay Pride, and Priscilla: The Role of the Designer. She will discuss the relationship between Drag, Carnival, and Cabaret costumes and how the styles develop from influence into design. Feather headdresses and sequins are optional for this session.

This year we are not forgetting about the "business" part of show business. Two sessions will feature panels dealing with management and business skills. The Costume Shop Management: Tools and Techniques session will include leading costume shop managers who will present tools and techniques for managing projects to come in on time and on budget. Areas of discussion include checking in with drapers/cutters, time estimates, forms, procedures, systems, and computer programs to enable the most effective work during planning and construction through opening.

In another session, Business Skills for the Freelance Costume Designer, a panel will discuss various business skills to include as part of a costume design program.

These are but a few of the programs prepared for the starting gate and ready to run in Louisville. Don't miss this one; like the Kentucky Derby it will be over in a flash!

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Hands-on professional development workshops from the Costume Design & Technology Commisson can provide a variety of tactile experiences, as the tutu construction PDW did in Toronto.

Photo/Casey Kearns