Designing the costumes for Abigail's Party

Designing the costumes for Abigail's Party

Emma Williams, the costume designer behind Abigail's Party, shares some of her influences and reasoning behind the outfits she chose.

Our first design discussions centred in contemporary films and popular culture from the time.

The characters are all at different stages in their lives and have different emotional journeys, which the costumes needed to reflect.

We watched the film Annie Hall for character contrasts as there were a lot of different fashion styles in 1977.

Clothes by Halston represented the New York affluence and sophistication that Beverley aspires to.

Other designers were influenced by African arts and culture as well as a romanticised version of Romany culture, creating kaftans with African prints and bohemian blouses and gypsy skirts like the ones Susan is wearing.

Knowledge of the wider world and social and political influences such as the break up of colonialism , revolution and conflicts around the world led to designers using uniforms and military influenced patterns, echoed by Angela’s dress.

Men’s choices of clothing as a way of showing affluence and status as well as being a form of self-expression are demonstrated by Laurence and Tony’s watches, suiting and shoes.