Suncana Dulic theatre and dance costume designer
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Dressing in period, in fashion, out of fashion, out of taste, in style…

I was trained and graduated as a fashion designer at the former school of art and design (now called school of design and media) in Hanover, Germany. A part from being in a design team for two collections during one year in the fashion industry, I’m working exclusively as a costume designer since many years, sometimes teaming up with set and props designers.

The way I’m working means that artistic and technical aspects are tightly woven together. My way of being creative is by making and experimenting directly in 3 dimensions, being a maker as much as I am a designer. My techniques vary from pattern cutting with different fabrics or in calico or by transforming existing pieces of clothes in something completely different, and less by drawing scratches on a piece of paper. Many times I have experienced that much more interesting ideas just happen when I’m manually transforming and manipulating shapes. I also find it easier to discuss and to demonstrate the look of a costume directly during fittings on the performer wearing it.

I get inspired by various themes and human aspects. But not in the common way how a fashion designer may translate them into trends. I’m much more interested in the person or character wearing it, making him/her absolutely authentic and believable. I approach a character in many different ways. One day, during a break, I said to an actress:” Oh look at this car, the character you are playing would definitely drive a car like that.” Understanding a character is, as if I’m meeting a person for the first time in my life and I’m getting to know her/him. This is the basis of everything I do, and then comes the theme of the play, in which era it takes place, and in which style it needs to be created.

There are several general aspects and themes that I’m focusing on, here are just a few of them:

The 1930’s, 1940’s and 50’s elegance was always something that deeply fascinated me. It is the world that is captured in the Film Noir genre. Watching these old black and white movies, I can’t stop observing all the lovely details that got lost in the way how people dress today.

In past shows I have used very strong colours in several dance productions, as if I would turn the performances into some sort of modern paintings, working closely with the lighting designer. This was a more abstract approach and I enjoyed composing colour like a painter on a canvas.

Humour is very important for me and I love to create transformed funny body shapes, exaggerated or grotesque looks. First I design the transformed body directly on the actor and then the costume on top of it. Sometimes it can go as far as bad taste, giving a sense of ugliness that can show the beauty even more.

Lately I got more and more fascinated by period costumes. I discovered that they can still be fresh and new for me. I specially love to transform existing modern clothes, a jacket for example, into a period look. I admire old drawings and love to study how exactly gowns, crinolines etc were made, and which aesthetics they create. For me there is no contradiction to think about clothes, worn centuries ago, in a futuristic way, exploring all the new possibilities that they hide.

I enjoy combining all these different concepts, and at the same time I’m always very open to work with new people on new themes.