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Reviewed by: Christine Oka, Research & Instruction, Northeastern University Libraries, Boston, MA
Double-blind, peer reviewed, Studies in Costume & Performance is a journal exploring costume not as an artifact or image, but as integrated within the performance environment. Published by Intellect, Ltd. a company specializing in books and journals related to “art, cinema, media, music theatre and cultural studies” this new journal, described as “the first in its field,” aims to “bring together experts in costume, scenography, performance fashion and curation as well as critically engaged practitioners and designers to reflect and debate costume in performance, its reception in production, exhibition and in academic critical discourse. In the first issue, editors Donatella Barbieri and Sofia Pantouvaki discuss this new research perspective in the editorial, “Towards a Philosophy of Costume.”
The premiere issue meets this research expectation with content selected from submissions received after Critical Costume 2015, a major international costume-based event which included an academic conference with “presentations of theoretical approaches and practice-as-research, as well as an exhibition of costume, art, costume design and costume research. . . Critical Costume 2015 invited contributions from scholars and practitioners interested in addressing the implications of research processes and methods, as well as of new technologies and media for the study and practice of costume today and throughout history.”
Articles are international in scope, ranging from research on Hindi film costume “within its historical, cultural and social context of production” to a comparative study of costume in “two significant twentieth-century productions of The Tempest.” The two productions in question are Giorgio Strehler’s Tempest at the Piccolo Teatro, Milan and Thomas Adès’ The Tempest for the Metropolitan Opera in collaboration with Ex Machina. Costume in television is covered with an investigation on how it contributes to the performance of race, gender and sexual identity of Asian American drag queens performing on the reality television show, RuPaul’s Drag Race.
In the Visual Essay, the question, ”Where is the Body in the Design Process?” is asked. Sally E. Dean, the author of the essay who has led the Somatic Movement, Costume & Performance Project, discusses and depicts “alternative costume design methodology that starts from the body or ‘soma’ . . . whereby perception in inherently active and relational.” In the project, the designers take a multi-sensorial, somatic and holistic approach, creating Somatic Costumes through co-creation, collaboration and participation. The article contains color pictures of the process, including balloon hats and tube/boundary costumes as the costume designers try out various materials and shapes to discover the answer to what the materials are doing to the body.
Additional content in Studies in Costume & Performance includes substantial Event Reviews, Exhibition Reviews, and Book Reviews. Intellect, the publisher, openly explains their citation style--as they acquire more journals, now more than 50, they find an “agreed house style” of references promotes editorial consistency, and reduces “costs, delays and difficulties for everyone. . . . Deviations from house style are occasionally allowed, but please ensure that you discuss these deviations with the journal's manager so that they can brief the copy-editor.” Intellect journals, including Studies in Costume & Performance, are accessible through the IngentaConnect platform. Recommended for libraries serving performance students and scholarly researchers.