02 June 2012

TSC Spotlight On: Well-Dressed Extras

So the other day, posting about Allison's wardrobe (that's right, folks, after a brief intermission we are back on the Cry-Baby tip), I talked a little about the task, in costume design, of establishing a major character through her appearance. But what about the big picture: using costuming to establish the feel of an entire world, or at least a larger group?

OH fantasy Fifties...even separated by barbed wire in front of the juvie building, everyone's looking sharp.

Crowd costumes, or how the extras are dressed, is another costume design factor I find really interesting, for two reasons. First, it's so ultimately ignorable and yet so important in establishing the identity of the people onscreen--including the principals, of course, because having a clear idea of who the main characters' peers and friends and fellow-citizens are affects how we interpret them. Second, because extras are so often a part of the "background" of a scene, meant to be sensed but not specifically seen, clothing crowds and walk-ons is half costuming, half set design, in a way.

As far as establishing identity goes, let's take a look at the same drape/square distinction we were looking at before. It's not necessarily a dramatic, unbridgeable divide; contrary, actually, to the principles I was talking so big about in the last Spotlight post, we see drape girls in full skirts,

 (on the left--the better to jive in!)

square girls in bright colors,

 We know this girl is a square because about two seconds earlier Wanda is intimidating/scaring the crap out of her in line. The dress is high-necked and modest in shape, but look at that red!

and so on. But even on a spectrum, rather than in dichotomous groups, you get a clear idea of who exactly these groups we're dealing with are.

The squares, versus

the drapes.

(By the way: I set the photos to this size for slightly easier pageloading, but if you click through to the full photo view you can make them bigger. Since extras are, of course, often not front an' center, it's a little hard to see the details of the garments otherwise!)

The other thing is that Cry-Baby's extras just have really great clothes, some of 'em:

 Those orange pants! They almost make me like pants!

She was standing so, so awkwardly in every screencap, but the girl on the left has a great blouse on.

All three of these ladies are absolutely killing it.

 I had trouble finding square clothes I liked as much, because mostly the primary square girls you see are Allison's co-talent show chicks and I am not the biggest fan of those bouffanty prom dress type gowns. But I like this woman's dress, what I can see of it,

and she's tiny (try clicking to fullscreen the picture?) but the girl running to join the Shame Parade--what an awesome circle skirt, with the color spectrum stripes!

And now for more Turkey Point action: Lenora's buddy on the left has a great swimsuit!

I talked about this girl in passing in my last post; I really just think her, like, two point five seconds of screentime are hilarious. But also: bathing cap!

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