From Page to Stage: The Ugly Duckling Costume Design

William Mellette, Costume Designer

William Mellette,
Costume Designer

Costume Designer William Mellette grew up in Hall County and went to Riverbend Elementary. He graduated from North Hall High School and studied with Gainesville Theatre Alliance and WonderQuest during his college years. Mr. Mellette graduated from Brenau University 13 years ago. He now lives in New York City, where he designs costumes for different theatre and film projects. Mr. Mellette is happy for the opportunity to come back to Gainesville and design costumes for The Ugly Duckling. While he’s in town, he also gets to spend time with his parents and brothers.

Costume Drawings for Mandarin Duck and Peeper

Costume sketches for Mandarin and Peeper.

Mr. Mellette began his design process by reading the script and talking with director Gay Hammond about key things she would like to see in the costume design. Ms. Hammond told him she would like the play set in England around the time the original story was written, but she left the details to his imagination.

From there, William began researching the different animals in the play and thinking about how he could make people look like the animals their characters represent. He made a collection of research pictures and began making plans for what clothes each character should wear. He also thought about hairstyles and other costume items that could tell the audience something unique about each character. Once Mr. Mellette and Ms. Hammond agreed on the concept for the design, Mr. Mellette began to sketch the characters so the WonderQuest elves could sew the costumes. Just kidding! The sketches are used by our team of stitchers to make the costumes.

Costume Drawing and Inspiration for Great Blue Heron costume.

Costume sketch and inspiration images for Heron.

William traveled to Atlanta to select fabrics, making sure that he found the perfect colors and patterns to help give the characters their personalities. The costumes also have to look good against the set. You can’t have the costumes the same color as the set or everything would blend together!

To create the costumes, William starts by measuring every actor in the play so their costume would fit. In addition to making sure the costumes express the character, William also helps actors create a make-up design for their character to bring the whole look together.

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