ANACHRONISTIC APPAREL: UNDERSTANDING THE SEMIOTIC VALUE OF HYBRID-PERIOD COSTUME DESIGN
The purpose of this study is to investigate and categorise the use of a hybrid of periods in dramatic costume design. The main objective is to examine and explore the theory of, what this study has named, Anachronistic Costume Design (ACD). The first aim is to define ACD, discover the structure of the method, and analyse the semiotic interpretation and psychology of hybrid-period performance attire. Secondly, the study researches the use of anachronistic costuming throughout the ages to gain an understanding of its evolution from the early emblematic costumes of Ancient Greece to the Modernist costumes of the early nineteenth century. In combining the established theory and the knowledge of its historical background, the study then explores the conventions of ACD in contemporary theatre by proposing a system of categorisation for the technique. This includes dividing it into three subgenres, each representing the differing forms in which hybrid-period costume may manifest. These are classed as: Visual Period Conflict, Concordant Period Amalgamation and Neoteric Genre Creation. Each category is supported by a modern case study. The fusion of time periods in design is an important signifier as it engages a viewer. It alerts them to alien garments/costumes in a production, resulting in an increase in audience appreciation of the design and its semiotic purpose. As this theory has not been clearly codified before (however has been widely practiced), this research is open to interpretation. The formula hopes to aid costume students by providing them with a concrete design method. It should also encourage them to test, and contest, this versatile costume technique so that it may further develop and expand as a legitimate design theory.