Costume design is the fabrication of clothing for the overall appearance of a character or performer. Costume is specific in the style of dress particular to a nation, a class, or a period. The most basic designs are produced to denote status, provide protection or modesty, or simply decorate a character. Costume design is a tool to express an art form, such as a play or film script, dance piece, or opera. Costumes may be for a theater, cinema, or musical performance but may not be limited to such. Costume design should not be confused with costume coordination which merely involves altering existing clothing, although both create stage clothes.
Albert Kretschmer Selection of illustrated plates by the costumer to the Royal Court Theatre, Berlin.
Braun & Schneider One of the major historical illustrated costume texts The History of Costume fully online, with several hundred full color plates neatly categorised into era, then by country where relevant.
Caleb Calabro Sydney-based wearable art and costume designer.
Colin Winslow Gallery of costume designs from about a dozen productions.
Cynthia Virtue Excellent website with clear explanations and diagrams on how to construct a wide variety of medieval clothing.
Deirdre Clancy Website by BAFTA-nominated costume designer with excellent articles on the design process, the director’s view, tips on how to break into the industry as a costume designer, plus a lengthy essay on the history of costume design.
Elizabethan Costume Page Comprehensive directory of links and articles on everything you need to know about Elizabethan costume design and construction.
Erté Museum A worthwhile selection of costume and early fashion designs.
Knox College Costume designs for Macbeth.
Kristine Knanishu A small selection of interesting costume renderings.
Library of Congress Costume designs from an exhibition at the Library of Congress.
Linda Wigley Scribner Colour renderings for several productions.
Motley Collection of Theatre and Costume Design Excellent collection of costume designs for six Shakespearean productions.
Musuem of Costume – Bath Website detailing the musuem’s collections from various historical periods.
Northern State University Useful FAQ on the nature of costume and set design.
Robin L McGee Excellent portfolio of costume illustrations and photographs for theatre, dance and film by American costume designer, author and university lecturer Robin L McGee.
State University of New York Geneseo Excellent two-part lecture notes by Melanie Blood on the theatre costume designer’s goals, tools and processes. Also includes discussion on the historical conventions of costume design.
Society of British Theatre Designers Gallery of thumbnails from various productions, including both design and performance photographs.
Southern Illinois University Bruan and Schneider’s History of Costume book online with over four hundred full colour plates, spanning every historical period.
Tara Maginnis Excellent ‘how to’ manual for costume design and construction.
Tara Maginnis Outstanding selection of costume designs and photographs.
The Costume Gallery Website with articles, links, bulletin board and instruction manuals on how to make costumes or research clothing from various historical periods.
The Costume Page Directory of costume links for every historical period.
The Costume Site Large directory of links to costume resources online.
The Costumer’s Manifesto Website with resources on various types of costumes.
University of Kentucky Selection of illustrated plates of ancient Greek female costumes.