July 30, 2015

Doctor Dolittle (Part III)

What made the show so special for me was that it was the first time I really saw my designs fully realized on a stage which broadcast to a larger, local community.  I guess it was then that it clicked in my head that this fun hobby could become my career...

Tonight we're wrapping up Doctor Dolittle (2013), the Stages musical that I had the privilege of student costuming, with the third and final past project post of the series!  (You can read Part I here - all about Emma's foundation - and Part II here - an in-detail look at Emma's Act I ensembles.)

Emma's "Island" dress & bonnet.
Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Like in the first act, the directer, Dianne Schaumberg, wanted Emma to have three outfits for the second act: one for the "shipwrecked" scene, another for all of the "island" scenes, and one final, grand outfit for the "protest" scene.  So, without further ado, I present the act II costumes - enjoy!

Doctor Dolittle (Part III): Act II Costumes


Act II opens with our poor protagonists recovering from a slight navigational error.  Emma's trunks are nowhere to be found and she, herself, seems to have, ehem, lost the clothing off her own back! 

Photograph courtesy of STAGES.

Embarrassed to appear in only her underwear, a pair of pink drawers and a matching corset (see part one), every effort is made to successfully recover her clothing trunks.

Photograph courtesy of STAGES.

Pink Island Dress & Bonnet

Emma's trunks eventually wash ashore, and for the majority of act two, Emma dons her "island" ensemble.  

Preliminary sketch.

Photograph courtesy of STAGES.

The dress itself was another refashioned 80s prom dress.  (Could you tell by the giant bow?)  Delicate lace and sequin trim were added along the neckline.  At the time, I didn't have the heart to remove the giant bow in the back, but the slew of polyester flowers had to go!

Next, perhaps my favorite piece of the entire show, a matching, dinner-plate shaped, 30s poke bonnet was fashioned.  (Nicknamed the "Cosette Bonnet," and a little inspired by the bonnets in the 2012 Les Miderables, directed by Tom Hooper.  Les Mis has always been my favorite musical!)

Constructed in pretty much the same way as the Act I Turqoise bonnet, a straw base was cut to shape and bound with pink bias tape.  Gathered, cream lace was tacked along the inside brim, and the same, delicate lace that appears on the dress was used for the bavolet.  Flowers, vintage plumes and a neat, crocheted (?) butterfly complete the trimmings.  

Finished portfolio pictures:  Jessica (Emma) looked stunning! 

Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Finalle "Protest" Dress

Last, but not least, Emma needed a dress worthy of her grande finalle when she took the stage one last time to rally the animals in protest against tyranny and oppression.  The only dress I could think of to do the job was my "Young Victoria" inspired dress, a tiered confection of lacy fanciness! 

Photograph courtesy of STAGES.

Inspired by one of my favorite films, Jean-Marc VallĂ©e's The Young Victoria (2009), which was costumed by the talented Sandy Powell, this dress was originally created for the "pop culture movie" themed spirit day at my former high school.  There is just something about period dramas that instantly draws me in...perhaps it is the lovely dresses or dancing, not to mention dreamy couples.  Yes, Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend were perfectly cast as the royal couple - talk about one of the greatest love stories ever! 

Historically speaking, Queen Victoria has always been one of my favorite female figures of the past.  I admired her sense of nationalistic duty, her courage and bravery, her leadership skills, and just her all around toughness.  (I even channeled her words for my senior yearbook quote: "we are not interested in the possibilities of defeat.  They do not exist." ~ Queen Victoria)  So, lucky for me, I found a pale, pink prom dress buried in the back closet just waiting to be turned into an 1840s ballgown!  

Picture taken without flash.

After a fair amount of repair and alteration, especially to the undersleeves and pleated oversleeves, lots and lots of lace was added!  If you look closely at the lace panel on the bodice, you will see my piecing job.  Worn over a hooped petticoat and one ruffled petticoat; a vintage cameo brooch is pinned to the bodice.  

Picture taken with flash.

And that concludes Emma's Act II wardrobe & the Doctor Dolittle past project posts!  Thank you so much for reading!  

Photograph courtesy of STAGES.


  1. Beautifully done again!! You never cease to amaze!! I hope you do turn this or some sort of this into a career. You have the talent and eye for it!

    1. Thank you so very much, Gina!! Your comments are always so encouraging! I'm still hoping to be, someday, half as amazing as you!
      Anneliese :)