School of Theater
About the Program
Head of Costume Design: Ellen McCartney
The Costume Design Program led by designer Ellen McCartney, the school’s Robert Corrigan Chair in Theater, enables students to develop a unique aesthetic voice and acquire the skills necessary for professional work. Students are encouraged to break with traditional notions of costume design and think instead in terms of garments that expand or otherwise reshape the physical space of performers.
The program focuses on the application of contemporary arts philosophies to the medium of design and takes a global approach to exploring modes of dress and adornment, including the relationship between new media and the body from the perspective of art, architecture and science. Foundation studies cover the history of clothing, text analysis, construction, new technologies, management, and graphic skills.
The curriculum emphasizes critical thinking and the designer’s contribution to the collaborative process. In addition to theatrical work, students take part in other collaborative projects throughout CalArts such as film and video works, dance performances, and installations.