Vivian Lamb: more than just a costume designer

The Trinity costume shop is a crucial part of the plays and musicals performed here. It not only supports the Theater and Dance Department by supplying costumes, but it also fosters an environment of teaching students costume construction.
The costume shop can provide students with all the elements that are needed for a show. For instance, recently the costume shop designed the costumes for the Fall Dance Concert, Let’s Make It Last created by Jonathan Gonzalez ’13.
The time frame was of the 1970s, costume shop supervisor Vivian Lamb’s time period. She built the costumes from scratch to create “historical fashion.” A creative phrase she came up with on the spot. Lamb is a short woman, but do not judge her by her size. She is eccentric, exuberant, and vibrant, this along with being organized and well-prepared.
Lamb has been working at Trinity College for thirteen years, where she hopes for the costume shop to “cultivate somebody who wants to be a designer, or a hair and make-up person.” Subsequently, each semester Lamb selects 6 gifted students who will learn the fundamentals of designing under her guidance. Students spend time learning how and when to use the tools along with safety and health hazards. In fact, the students have learned how to build a hand-made straw-string bag from scratch: the teaching process is very hands on. Lamb also teaches her students how to measure a body and how to collate single measurement sheets into one cheat sheet. Furthermore, if a student is interested in make up, Lamb shares her wisdom regarding make up too. Thus, it is no surprise that one of her students states, “The costume shop is my favorite place to work because I get to meet so many new people. I get to know artists, stage technicians, choreographers, dancers, and anybody who is involved in the production process. It is exhilarating.”
Lamb’s passion for designing exudes through all her designs. She was introduced to designing in her junior year of high school through her home education class. One of her professors asked her to act in the musical, Funny Girl. Instead she volunteered to design the costumes for the show. Once she saw her costumes on stage, Lamb was hooked. She passes on her passion to her students, which can be seen by the theater and dance departments as they collaborated with her over their pieces. They enthusiastically assist with fixing costumes or simply washing the costumes. The costume shop is a family by itself where they hope to enhance each other’s lives through their love for designing.
On a broader note, the costume shop is closely connected to the Hartford community. If the costumes are not built from scratch, they are obtained through renting or donations or simply by purchasing them. Many times, another school in the vicinity has costumes that Trinity needs for their show. Consequently, we borrow the costume from the other school and vice versa. This way the costume shop is well connected with the local community. In addition, Lamb connects her students with the contacts she made over the years through her immersion in the field of designing.
Lamb looks forward to coming to work at the costume shop each day because of its warm and fostering environment. The motto she and her students follow is to “make to the actor look awesome at all costs.” The costume shop bend over backwards to ensure the time era and costumes are in sync, so the audience can have a joyful experience.

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