CDG - The Costume Designer

Winter 2017

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Winter 2017 The Costume Designer 39 Shortly thereafter, a mutual friend introduced her to April Ferry. When Ferry was hired to design her first studio production, Big Trouble in Little China, she brought DeArmond on as her illustrator. Ferry warmly recalls their first collaboration: "We worked together on my first movie as a Costume Designer and had a won- derful time together. I'm very fond of her, and she is just a wonderful talent." They would continue to work together throughout the '80s and '90s. On the subject of the costume sketch and its function, DeArmond speaks passionately about the importance of understanding fabric and construction. "I have a good knowledge of cut and drape, and I think that's important if you're going to be a good costume illustrator. You need to know how clothes go together. Costume illustration is where you figure out between [the illustrator] and the designer how something is going to be made … and if indeed it can be made. The designer may have a solid idea in his or her head what exactly this thing is going look like, and I just need to put that on paper. Or they may not. They may have a vague idea, some bits and pieces or some elements, and the drawing is where you put all that together and it's really the start of the conversation about what the cos- tume is going to look like." DeArmond sees the greatest payoff to clear illustra- tion in the workroom. Where a good cutter-fitter can certainly bring a vague idea to fruition, the back and forth with the designer is likely to be a longer process. While her personal drawing style is quite tight, she also knows there are designers, and by extension their directors, who prefer to start with a more fluid illustration and then work out the costume in mock-ups. Ultimately, DeArmond sees the illustration as the beginning, and regardless of style, the costume can always evolve as needed. DeArmond's colleagues have clearly appreciat- ed her ethos. Costume Designer Carol Ramsey says, "Working with Lois DeArmond has been one of my most satisfying professional collaborations. First, she is the gold standard of classic costume illustration, turn- ing out beautifully rendered paintings in record time. Second, her deep knowledge of costume history and her research skills help keep things on track period-wise. Finally, Lois' deep understanding of costume construc- tion and fabric makes taking approved designs into the Linda Hunt as the Magician in Maverick, CD April Ferry.

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