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One of the popular sessions at the 2007 Annual Conference & Stage Expo was about Irene Corey. Suzanne Lockridge, left, and Kathy Kreuther discussed Ms. Lockridge's aunt, Irene Corey, and her imaginative journey. The 2008 presentations from the Costume Design & Technology Commission are already being planned.

Photo/Casey Kearns


Costume Sessions Span the Spectrum at Houston

Kevin McClusky
Costume Design & Technology Commission

To say there is a strong slate of costume and technology programming for the 2008 USITT Conference & Stage Expo in Houston is a Texas-sized understatement. There are so many great sessions to look forward to.

Costume and fashion history assumes an importance this year with sessions covering period silhouette, clothing inventions, and non-western dress. Kristina Tollefson leads a session dedicated to the architecture of women's silhouettes from the Renaissance to today, using live models and recreations derived from period research to illustrate the evolution. After a long hiatus from the Costume History podium, LaLonnie Lehman returns to present a lecture dedicated to ways in which clothing has changed because of inventions (think the zipper) and other social influences.

Deepsikha Chatterjee, from SUNY at Albany, will present a session titled Jewels of India -- Costumes of the Classical Dances exploring the predominate dance forms of the Indian continent and how costumes for those dances are shaped by social and religious values.

Teri Tavares presents a session in shoe modification, including both do-it-yourself alterations as well as those modifications best left to a cobbler. C. David Russell, from Ohio University, will lead a session in the use of Thermoplastics and their applications to "tricky, movement-based" costume pieces. Emily Parke-Koll of Dye Pro Services offers a demonstration of precision dying techniques with union dyes, which are also applicable to acid, and direct dyes. Finally, "glitra" takes stage when Doug Kreinik demonstrates all the goodies Iron On Embellishments has to offer costume designers and technologists.

And there is more. Rafael Jean leads a session on developing the ideal portfolio, Gwen West leads a session on long-distance costume design collaboration via the computer, and Period Corsets offers a session on starting a costume business. Sandy Bonds leads a discussion of costume education opportunities in London. IATSE offers a session dedicated to what to expect the first day on a Broadway wardrobe crew, and USA offers a session dedicated to professional costume design. Both sessions proved of great interest in Phoenix.

There will be a plethora of guests, each of whom shares a unique perspective on theatre at different sessions: wig and makeup artists from the Alley Theatre in Houston, the Gold Medal Award winner for Costume Design at the Prague Quadrennial Eloise Kazan, and artists from the Houston Ballet Theatre and the Houston Grand Opera Rebecca Cunningham is this year's Distinguished Achievement Award winner.

Look for an article in November previewing the Professional Development Workshops and a January article covering costume/technology relate programming from other Commissions!

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