A Look at the Handmade Costumes of Aida

Senior Philip Errico works on one of the many handmade costumes for Aida.

Senior Philip Errico works on one of the many handmade costumes for Aida.

The story of Aida is an enchanting one. An enslaved Nubian princess, Aida, finds her heart entangled with Radames, an Egyptian soldier who is betrothed to the Pharaoh’s daughter, Amneris. As their forbidden love blossoms, Aida is forced to weigh her heart against the responsibility she faces as leader of her people. While this all sounds very dramatic and intense however, what play is complete without intricate costume designs?

With the help of senior film major Philip Errico, we shall enter the fascinating world of Aida costumes designs.

“The whole costuming experience is very time-consuming and intense, and the intensity grows exponentially every week we grow closer to the opening night of Aida. There’s always something to do. I stay after school pretty much every day from 3pm to 6pm doing any tasks I can find, whether it be painting a leather jacket, finalizing measurements, styling or sewing,” Philip said. “The tasks can be very miscellaneous. My costume team and I are very blessed to receive help from our head costume designer Caitlin, who has worked on FSSA performances for many years in the costume department.”

Deadlines are certainly another important part of the process, and something that can hold up rehearsals and need to be finished in the right order.

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“Every single costume has a certain level of importance and some must be done in order to be utilized in dress rehearsal. We have a huge runway show in the middle of the “My Strongest Suit” scene, which involves a light-up LED dress. We haven’t even started on that – I’m prepared though when it comes,” he said.

With a multitude of working parts and the intricacies that come with each piece, one has to wonder if wardrobe malfunctions ever occur. Phillip said that malfunctions have happened in other shows, but the talented crew is ready to repair them at a moments notice.

“Usually, we wait for the actor to finish the scene and take it off stage, and then, if they don’t need to wear it for the rest of the show, we take it down to the sewing machine immediately and restitch the seams that broke. We don’t just work in the shop, Spyridoula [the other head costumer] and I are always present during the show with the help of other costume runners. We are all very active in quick dressing, repairing and maintaining the costumes during the craziness of the show,” Philip said.

Another handmade piece, the production features the most costume changes in an FSSA production.

Another handmade piece, the production features the most costume changes in an FSSA production.

Even though deadlines are approaching and the stress of getting everything done on time can prove to be overwhelming, Philip said he loves the gratification of seeing his costumes on stage.

“I’ve always loved fashion. Garments really can transform the being who wears them. I guess you could say I enjoy seeing the change that happens when someone puts on something I designed or created or co-created,” he added. “I see more power and confidence enter the person, and they get more into their character because of what they are wearing. I guess I just like seeing the unexpected power in clothing.”

– by Khristine Rojas ’16

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