Aurora ascending stairsAurora entering

Aurora Espinosa

Character Analysis

Aurora is the baker's daughter.  She is haughty, imperious, kind and concerned about the welfare of others, especially her father.  Her costume should convey her basic loyalty and goodness as well as her wealth. 

Historical Model /Inspiration

This costume was inspired by  portraits Isabella Queen of Portugal, Anne of Austria, Queen of Spain and most especially Infanta Isabella Clara of Spain.  In addition it is patterned off of Janet Arnold's study of  Dorothea Sabina Von Neuberg's  dress that is on display in Bayerisches National Museum.
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Concept Sketch

Aurora costume needed to reflect the regal fashion of the time and yet be appropriate for the daughter of a wealthy merchant.  The bodice is trimmed in silver lace as are the attached sleeves.  The second version of the concept below shows the Spanish sleeve which was eventually chosen for the costume.  The skirt is very large with a train.  The bodice and skirt are both built from a French blue damask brocade material.  The petticoat and under sleeves are made of blue bridal satin.

Designer's Notes

Aurora had to have two identical costumes, one of which was "distressed" to show that she had spent three months in prison. It's shown in the pictures below.   The major problem of making two identical costumes was the huge amount of material that was required.  The hem of each skirt was over 14 feet in length.  Over 60 yards of "lace" were required for the two dresses.  I had read that painted lace works well in the theatre. Usually the costume is built first and then the trim is  painted on it.  A  student was painting the lace and I thought it would be too much pressure for her to paint directly on the costumes.  So I cut fabric for the lace and had her spray paint the lace.  It looks fabulous, but it did ruin my iron and  quite possibly my sewing machine.  Sewing spray painted fabric is something I've vowed never to do again.

The costume required  proper under garments.  We made cotton shifts for all the women so that the heat of the lights and discomfort of the costumes wouldn't  interfere with their acting.  Aurora and Ines both had pairs of bodies (16th century version of the corset) and Spanish  farthingales.  Both bodies and farthingales were constructed based on the design diagrams in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion.  The metal boning was acquired through a place called Farthingales.  The undergarments were the first garments built for two reasons.  First the actresses had to become accustomed to moving in them on stage.  Secondly, they had to wearing the bodies to be correctly measured and fitted for their outer costumes.  A farthingale is a kind of hoop skirt.. Each was constructed with 7 hoops made from lightweight plastic tubing.  During rehearsals we discovered that one of the farthingales would fold up on itself.  I replaced the tubing in the lower hoop twice and finally had to soak the tubing in hot water, shape it to the proper diameter to cool and then replace it.  The tubing that had been last on the role (and hence in the bottom hoop) had a memory of its place on the tube that had to be erased through heat.

Aurora's prison costume was distressed by painted grime, ripping and tearing and the removal of her ruff and cuffs.  It was really difficult to make it look bad and we had to distress it again after the first try.  Near the end of the play Aurora has to show up after being released from prison.  There was no time for a full costume change so I designed a very large traveling cloak that covered the distressed costume.
Aurora Concept Sketch 1
Aurora Concept Sketch 2

Alternate Views

Aurora's entry in "The Baker of Madrigal"Aurora in Prison 2Aurora & Ines prepare to travel

Aurora in prisonSide view of Aurora



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