Christina Molcillo: Costume Designer

Spotted at: Alameda Antiques Fair

Occupation: Costume Designer

What is your occupation?

I'm a costume designer.

How did you get started doing that?

I went to the Academy of Art, and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be. I took photography and illustration and I wasn't too great at either one of those, and then I picked fashion design as a last choice. I fell in love with it because you can do actually all of that stuff! You can illustrate your designs, you can take pictures of them—all of it.

When did you have the first inkling that this was going to be your path?

When I started to illustrate my designs, they were always kind of over the top and very ornate. It was something that I'd never done before, and I couldn't stop coming up with ideas. I realized you can be inspired by anything. I mean, I can look at a desk and pick out colors and patterns and text

ures. Or I can be inspired by culture, or a movie—anything—and it just kind of opened up a world to looking at things very differently.

Any particular things you gravitate toward when working on a project?

Every project I take on, it's kind of whatever I'm obsessed with at the time. The latest one I did was nature in its decaying forms. So I spent a lot of time in winter, just hiking and looking at the ground and seeing the kind of elements that take over forests and that kind of thing. So, if I can immerse myself in it, that's the best way. And then bringing a little camera and some headphones and just sort of zoning out taking pictures.

What kind of project were you working on?

It was a live art installation. I did the set design and costuming. It was a second attempt at melding the two together. So we created like a giant 10 by 20 foot forest that was in this festival, and all the costumes were things that represented elements that took over the forest. So, cobwebs, bones, decaying animals, insects, birds, branches.

Is this antique faire one of your regular stops?


Any finds so far?

Yeah today I found these cupped sconce candleholders—I just bought them right now. They're old candleholders. I thought originally that I was going to put them in my house, but then we were holding them up and they were kind of looking like they'd be this rad bra. We're shooting a really beautiful belly dancer soon so I was thinking we'd makeshift a bra for her shoot.

Wow—great example of thinking outside the box!

Yeah! And it's just very subtle, my friends were like, oh these are really nice, and I was like, [mimics bra cups with candleholders] yeah they are! [laughs] We're doing a mermaid shoot, that's our next project coming up—so we're actually trying to scout for seashells right now. If you see any let me know!

Have you read anything interesting lately?

I haven't read any books in a while. If we're on the topic of fashion, I just watched a documentary called Advanced Style, which is a guy who does blogs about women in New York City who are anywhere from 50 to 100 years old. And it's these fashionistas who . . . I mean, they're works of art. They dress to the nines every time they go out, their outfits and costumes are beautiful, and it's like they never grew up. They still feel like they're in their teens. They're still playing dress up. For me that was really inspirational, because I felt as you get older that maybe you should tone it down. And these women were like, why?! You know, there's no reason. When people look at me they smile, and I feel good and they feel good. This is a beautiful thing. So if they still want to rock colored hair at 80, they're still doing it. And gracefully too.

So I tell me about your outfit!

Um . . . it's half of what I slept in! We sort of rolled out of bed and my friend texted me "Alameda Antique Faire" and I was like oh yeah that's today! Really . . . this is so embarrassing. I wore the tights last night to a swing dancing 50's thing, with the socks. But then I was cold, so I put on this skirt to sleep in and then I literally just got out of bed and put more stuff over the top and was like, ok I'm ready to go. This is just a hodgepodge of last night. I love all the textures though! I like the bag and the sweater. The bag is thrifted. Most of this stuff is thrifted.

Is the sweater thrifted too?

No this is Forever 21!

Did you cut the fingers off of those gloves too?

I did. yeah.

I noticed you have a tape measure tattoo too!

Oh yeah, it's a tattoo ode to my sewing and my craft.

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