Encore Atlanta was lucky enough to run into Into the Wood‘s Costume Designer Lex Liang at Tap right before one of the preview performances at the Alliance. In this short video he talks about his inspiration, the work that went into the costumes behind the scenes and his favorite part of the musical. A transcript of the conversation is below.
What is your name?
And what did you design for Into the Woods?
Tell me a little bit about your inspiration and how you approached each character.
There was a lot of different inspiration for Into the Woods, actually. I think the biggest inspiration for Into the Woods for me was the opening line, which was, “Once upon a time.” For any costume designer, you have to figure out what your period is. Well, once upon a time is any time, so we decided to have it cross a broad spectrum of periods and really resonate with a modern audience. So I wanted to make clothes that would really make sense to our audience and people who’d see the show, inspired by everything from prehistoric garments, really, to high-end fashion.
And which costume are you most proud of?
I am actually, oddly enough, the most proud of the most difficult costume I had to come up with but the most simple costume to create, which is actually the Narrator’s costume. Because the character was so hard to define, because he crosses these different worlds in the play … and how he actually … we were going to manifest that look.
A lot of people just see your finished product, they don’t see the work that goes into it. How long have you been working on the costumes for Into the Woods?
I’ve been working on Into the Woods since … June this year I would say? The sketches got done, the concepts got done and we have a fabulous shop head, Carol (Hammond), sort of on the phone with me every day for the last several months and Emily Kramer who’s one of my amazing design assistants, Emily and English (Benning) both sort of worked behind the scenes to make everything happen. Despite the fact that you’re the designer, there are so many different people who work around the clock to make these images come alive. So, we’ve worked on it for a few months now.
And how many people are in the costume shop, actually putting the costumes together?
I think there’s about seven people who work in the shop as drapers and stitchers. There’s Julia (Kennedy), there’s Laury (Conley), there’s Mila (Fesenko), there’s Cindy Lou (Who), there is Maegan (Robinson), there’s Diana (Thomas), who’s the craftsmaster, and of course English and Emily, who are the amazing design assistants and Carol, who’s the captain of the ship.
What’s your favorite moment in the musical?
What is my favorite moment in the musical? You know what? I honestly feel as if my favorite moment — in this production — is the downbeat of the exchange from the book to the Narrator and when the Narrator finally says, “Once upon I time.” I think it’s just a striking moment and it’s all it very much going to take the audience for a ride that I don’t think they’re expecting.
Cool. Thanks very much for your time.
Thank you very much.