The High Roman Fashion: Costume Design in Julius Caesar

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Let’s do it after the high Roman fashion

-Cleopatra, Antony and Cleopatra, IV.xv

In Julius Caesar, Costume Designer Mariah Hale handles the designs for soldiers and soothsayers, assassins and their prey.

Mariah has worked in design and textiles for 25 years, doing costume design for various Off-Broadway and regional theaters. She was nominated for the Helen Hayes Outstanding Costume Design award this past year in recognition of her work on Twelfth Night (2013) and has been a collaborator on Othello, Henry VIIIHenry V, and Richard III here at Folger Theatre.

Below are some of Mariah’s thoughts on her design of Julius Caesar along with a sneak peek at at a few of her renderings of the costumes. Enjoy, and don’t forget to join us starting October 28.

From Mariah: 

“For telling the ancient story in Rome, we want clothes that conjure no associations to any specific time or place. We are using modern (but are they really ‘modern’?) clothing shapes and silhouettes (t-shirt shapes, hoodie shapes, cargo pants) with ‘ancient’ rustic materials (bulky, raw  silks, unfinished linens, leather and skins, hammered metal).

The components combined create a simple, utilitarian look. These are clothes that could have been worn 2000 years BC just as easily as they were worn in 1050, as they might be worn 1000 years in our future. Inspiration predominantly comes from the film Noah, but also The Centurion, The Eagle, Agora, Star Wars, Planet of the Apes and from the ‘medieval modern’concept shown recently on the fashion runways.

The clothes for the second part, the battle on the plains of Philippi, are in fact a collection of 20th century military uniform components and field equipment combined in a ‘stew’. This gives the audience an overall image without visual reference to specific military uniforms, rank or division and without conjuring associations to any specific 20th century conflict. Again, creating a simple and utilitarian look with military items that have been used for centuries and may continue to be used for centuries more.”

-Mariah Hale 

Single tickets for Julius Caesar are now on sale, as well as tickets to the other two plays in our regular season, Schiller’s Mary Stuart and Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

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