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The Costume Designer

The costume designer creates or acquires the clothing worn by the actors. She may do research to emulate historical fashions, or key original designs to the vision established by the production designer. A good costumer is a fashion designer with a gift for tailoring clothing to the personality and life situations of fictional characters. Quite often they are also good shoppers, trading upon a long mental list of antique clothing stores. The costumer needs to possess a fair amount of diplomatic ability, as well, since they will be working closely with actors who may be insecure about their appearance. Many actors regard their costumes as an extension of their performance by other means, and rightly so. In order to do its job in a narrative context the beauty of a costume is often much less important than how expressive it is. Costume design can be extremely complex on a film with a large cast of principals and extras; costumes worn by foreground players need to be much more detailed than those worn by background extras, for example. Expending time and energy on fine points that will not be visible on film can cost a production a great deal of time and money.


A graduate of New York's Cooper Union School of Art, Evelyn Thompson studied costume and set design at the Polakov Studios. She has worked with Collected Stories director Gil Cates on over a dozen TV movies. Indeed, her career in show business started as secretary to legendary New York producer Joe Cates (Gil's brother) and has spanned four decades.

Thompson's television credits include six annual The Magic of David Copperfield specials, three Steve Martin specials, three George Burns specials and fourteen Johnny Cash specials from Nashville's Grand Ole Opry. She designed various series including Martin Mull's White America, FTV, Madame's Place and many soap operas.

Thompson's theater credits include four years as resident designer at New York City's Classic Stage Company and many off-Broadway play, among them seven at The Roundabout and three at The Chelsea Theatre Company.


Evelyn Thompson
Evelyn Thompson


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