Here’s a riddle for you: What do designing an opera costume and re-siding your house have in common?
The Utah Opera Costume Shop has been busy at work for one of our neighboring opera companies – Central City Opera in Colorado. One of their productions, Les Mamelles de Tirésias by Poulenc, has gone outside of the box in terms of the costume design and construction. Some of the dresses and suits for the production are made of Tyvek, instead of fabric. (Other costumes include flowerpots, fountains, and garbage cans, and a whole slew of babies.) Tyvek is a synthetic, polyethylene material that is often used in home construction, mailing envelopes, and those wristbands you get when you go to a concert.
The costume shop had a ton of fun experimenting with the material. I saw Ken, our cutter/draper, playing with a wide assortment of different styles of pleats to figure out which one would work best for the material.
Right now, the Tyvek costumes are just white. When they arrive at Central City, they’ll be decorated and colored with paint and markers for the show. We’re hoping to get some pictures of the finished product, and I’ll share them with you then.
Update: View this blog post for production photos: Update on Unusual Materials, Extraordinary Costumes.
Just goes to show that if you’re creative, you can make a costume out of anything!