Books & Reviews 2

Playing with Fire

Julie Taymor: Playing With Fire
Eileen Blumenthal & Julie Taymor 1999
Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
ISBN# 0-8109-3517-1 (Hardbound Edition)
Best known for her design work in the Broadway production of Disney's The Lion King, this is a wonderful collection of photos from her various projects, from her early days to her first feature film interpreting Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. It's a nice reference of her techniques, with lots of close-ups of the costumes.

From the Neck Up

From the Neck Up: An Illustrated Guide to Hatmaking
Denise Dreher 1981
Madhatter Press
ISBN# 0-941082-008
This one may be a bit difficult to get a hold of, except from a specialty costumer book/pattern dealer, if it's still in print. It's a great how-to book complete with pictures and illustrations, giving you step by step instructions on how to make various styles of hats, with historical notes, patterns, and so on. It's about 200 pages.

Special Effects

Special Effects in Film and Television
Jake Hamilton 1998
DK Publising, Inc.
ISBN# 0-7894-2813-X

While not strictly a costume book, it is really cool for seeing how the pros do the effects and the kinds of materials they use, to get ideas for your own costumes.

Period Makeup

Period Make-up for the Stage
Rosemary Swinfield 1997
Betterway Books F & W Publications
ISBN# 1-55870-468-X

"How to create the authentic looks of the past -- from Egyptian and Elizabethan, to Restoration and Victorian, to the 20th Century."

That pretty much describes it. It's not for the beginner or the professional, but somewhere in between. It shows the techniques, but it assumes you already have the basics of makeup down. It lists what items you'll need, but it assumes you already know what brands to buy, amounts, etc. Not real huge detail, but enough for someone who at least has an inkling of makeup theory.


MASKS: Faces of Culture
John W. Nunley & Cara McCarty 1999
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers (In association with St. Louis Art Museum)
($30.00?) softbound
ISBN# 0-8917-8078-5
Published in connection with the museum exhibit of the same title, which was here in St. Louis from 10/9/99 - 1/2/00, this catalogue is a stunning collection of one of Man's oldest accessories of costuming. A over-size book of over 300 pages, it is chock-full of beautiful full-color and black and white photos of masks and costumes. The exhibit was broken into various themes: Prehistory and Origins, Rites of Passages, Festivals of Renewal, Men as Women, Theatre, and Offense/Defense. Their examples range from early clay pieces, to ethnic examples, hockey masks, Darth Vader, and an astronaut's helmet. We can't say enough about this wonderful book. Excellent inspiration.

The Modern Fancy Dancer
by C. Scott Evans and
J. Rex Reddick 1998
Crazy Crow Trading Post
ISBN# 0-09624883-2-1
64 pages

The Modern Fancy Dancer

The Northern Traditional Dancer
By C. Scott Evans 1990, (Revised, 1998)
Crazy Crow Trading Post
ISBN# 0-9624883-2-3
48 pages

The Northern Traditional Dancer

Both books, very reasonably priced, are absolutely gorgeous to look at, with lots of large color photos of Native American costumes. Each have detailed articles and illustrations on how to make the individual costume pieces. These both came from company called Written Heritage, which is dedicated to Native American cultural information. It sells pattern, books, videos, and other items. Their website is

Make Your Own Japanese Clothes

Make Your Own Japanese Clothes

By John Marshall 1988
Kodansha International
ISBN# 0-87011-865-X
130 pages

A good book for what it is, we recommend it for experienced sewers. Some of the instructions would be confusing to the novice, despite how simple some of the kinds of clothing are made. The measuring system for making patterns are pretty thorough, though. Clothing includes kimonos, haori, obi sashes, hapi coats, tabi socks and hanten. For some strange reason, though, it does not include hakama -- the traditional men's long pants worn at court and by samurai.
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