LEARNING TO DRESS THE PART: Given the reach of breakout streaming series and Oscar-nominated films, the once fusty field of costume design has a certain sheen as of late.
Millions tuned into “Bridgerton,” “Inventing Anna,” “Cruella,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Queen’s Gambit” as much for the attire as for the narratives. Up-to-speed with that burgeoning interest, the Florence-based fashion school Polimoda will soon be offering a short course in costume design, under the guidance of Broadway choreographer and director Lorin Latarro. When the program gets rolling in July, Latarro will lead the introductory course with input from Broadway professionals and teachers at the school.
The New York-based Latarro is a graduate of both the Juilliard School and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Having performed as a dancer on Broadway and toured with world-class dance companies early in her career, Latarro’s knowledge is multilayered. Her portfolio includes choreographing “Into the Woods,” “Waitress,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Les Liasons Dangereuse,” “Waiting for Godot,” “Merrily We Roll Along” and ”Assassins,” among others. Her director credits included Candace Bushnell’s one-woman show “Is There Still Sex in the City?” at the Daryl Roth Theater.
During the monthlong costume design course, students will learn about the cultural and technical aspects of costume design and gain some intel about some of the iconic looks from famed New York musicals. Open to applicants from around the world, the continuing education course is geared toward those with previous experience in fashion design as evidenced by a diploma. Their training will include studying the step-by-step process of creating an outfit for a character in a musical — from visualizing a concept to prototyping and the final design.
The initiative also paves the way for more of a U.S.-Italy exchange. The leading talent in the program will walk away with an internship in New York’s theater district. The opportunity came to pass after Polimoda’s director Massimiliano Giornetti met Latarro during a business trip to New York last spring.
This marks the first time that Polimoda is offering a course in costume design, and the summer offering is already attracting “great interest,” according to a Polimoda spokesman. So much so that in an effort “to further cultivate aspiring designers in this field,” the Italian school is now working on setting up “an enriching undergraduate program for future generations,” he said.