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Students as Producers: Designing For Marie Antoinette

Posted by on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 in News.

The CFT’s “Students as Producers” theme year culminated in our end-of-year event, the Celebration of Learning. As a part of the celebration, an exhibition of 25 student projects from all four undergraduate schools showcased a wide variety of student work. This series of blog posts highlights some of the student projects from the exhibition.

Student: Kelley Hines
Course: THTR 216
Project: Designing For Marie Antoinette
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Alexandra Sargent

In the poster session of the Celebration of Learning in Alumni Hall on April 21st, 2014, Kelley Hines presented her project “Designing for Marie Antoinette” for Theater 216 “The History of Fashion: Sex and Propaganda” taught by Dr. Alexandra Sargent.

A graduating double major (Theater and Anthropology) in the College of Arts and Science, Hines’s topic spoke to both her interest in theatrical costume design and the significance of fashion as a political and cultural statement. Hines chose Marie Antoinette for her historical figure because she finds that research on Antoinette’s influence as a fashion icon does not consider the political elements of her fashion choices.

In her project, Hines imagined three designs for outfits that Marie Antoinette might have worn had she traveled around the world. The first location is the French Antilles, a Caribbean territory that was a colony of France during the late eighteenth century. The second location is Russia, an emerging European power, and the final choice was a hypothetical trip to the Far East. For each location, Hines sketched a detailed ensemble including Antoinette’s signature tall hair and wide panniers, and included details that would emphasize the queen’s connection to the region she was visiting.

Colorful swatches of fabric and trim hinted at the final vision of Hines’s costumes. To illustrate the results from similar sketches, Hines brought a sketch and a costume she had designed from a production of Twelfth Night performed last year at Vanderbilt. With Prof. Sargent’s guidance, Hines pursued both historical and creative research to develop her project. Hines met in multiple one-on-one sessions with her teacher at various points in the project. Dr. Argent also offers a sewing workshop early in the semester, so that students have a chance to develop basic sewing skills.

Hines appreciated the chance to take a class that opens up the possibility of creating a final project so unlike projects in other classes, one that could even end up with the tangible product of a completed outfit.

See more student projects and explore all of our “Students as Producers” activities by viewing our full list of resources on the topic.

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