Sunday, November 9, 2014

Behind-the-Scenes: Costume sketches by NY designer Sueann Leung

Luminarium's long-awaited 2014 feature production is bringing with it several "firsts" for the company. For starters, the show has expanded to a two-week run in an effort to make the work more accessible to Luminarium's growing audience. It is also the first time co-directors Guerra and Holman have presented a production intended to be viewed as a singular joint work. Yet the most stunning "first" of all has to be the costumes...

Sueann Leung is a New York-based costume designer and the Costume Director of Opera Roanoke. She studied Costume Design and Gender Studies at Mount Holyoke College, where she met Luminarium founders Kim and Merli. Fascinated by the links between sartorial signifiers and the creation and recreation of one's various identities, the fusion of her two fields of study is often reflected in her work. She first designed for Luminarium’s Agonía in 2011 and is delighted to collaborate with them once again. She has been featured in a number of fashion columns, most notably The Wall Street Journal.

Behind-the-Scenes with Sueann Leung:

How do you create a dreamworld? What does a dreamworld look like? In my early conversations with Kim and Merli, I suggested we make an inspiration board as a way to visually explore and get a feel for this world we hoped to create. You can see it here:

Using this as my jumping off point, I began to formulate a language for the costumes. They would be:
  • ephemeral 
  • fractured 
  • turbulent 
  • surreal 
  • deteriorating 
  • soft 
  • murky 
  • seeping 
  • simultaneously floating and submerged
I landed on this for my color palette:

And because The Sleeprunner delicately shifts back and forth between the worlds of waking and dreaming—muddling the line between reality and fantasy, I wanted the costumes to reflect that journey as well. Each costume has a base of various shades and textures of white like clean canvases. Just as we drift off to sleep and our unraveling subconscious starts to fade into our mind’s eyes, soft comforting ephemeral hues seep into the costumes, punctuated with a menacing undercurrent of darkness.

Still sewing away, but I cannot wait for you all to enter the world we have created!


December 5 . 6 . 12 . 13 @ 8pm
Multicultural Arts Center, Cambridge MA

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