Maria Adele Cipolla, Theatrical Costume Designer
StageWear provides theatrical costume patterns using custom-tailoring measurements (now also ready-to-wear sizes) to anyone who wants to make costumes for any purpose: theatre, film, historical pageants, Mardi Gras or Halloween parties.
Anyone who has dealt with historical costume production knows just how difficult it is to make a pattern that follows historical cutting techniques, and how it is becoming increasingly difficult to find someone who can cut well. However, they also know that a mistaken cut can cause numerous problems in the quality of the outcome and production schedules.
With StageWear, I have designed a service that provides just what I would have wanted when I was managing costume production: the possibility to have theatrical costume patterns cut to exactly fit an individual’s measurements in a very, very short time. StageWear guarantees delivery in three working days, and in special cases I have been able to provide a custom-tailored pattern in just one hour.
The patterns provided by the StageWear service (you can navigate through the costume sketches on the Patterns page) cover the historical periods from the Middle Ages to the end of the XX Century.
Every pattern is based on my personal experience as a costume designer and maker for over twenty-five years. However, this experience is uniquely enhanced by a mastery of a complex software that generates pattern Macros. Each Macro is defined following the very strict rules of the traditional tailoring schools, so that every line or curve is the result of a mathematical calculation based on one or more body measurements. So a single Macro can generate an infinite number of unique patterns, each especially proportioned for a given individual.
When you send your measurements for a specific model (for example, the “1906 Women” men's frockcoat), I input them in the corresponding Macro file and generate the personalized pattern. Even still, I control each pattern individually so that nothing is entrusted entirely to the computer: if an armhole doesn’t have a harmonic form I will adjust it, just like a tailor of the traditional school would.
At this point the pattern is transformed into a PDF file (printable on one or more European A0 size sheets or any other format requested) which is sent as an email attachment. You thus receive your pattern in real time, anywhere in the world. All you need to do is take the file to a neighbourhood printing service to print out the pattern at your convenience.
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Maria Adele Cipolla, who created StageWear, was born in 1957 in Palermo, Italy. Having obtained her degree at the ISIA (Superior Institute for the Artistic Industries) in Florence, she returned to Palermo exploring different materials. She worked mainly with papier maché for several years, exhibiting in both personal and group shows.
In 1982 she started to work in the teatro stabile Biondo theater, first as a scenic sculptor and then as costume designer. In 1989 she left the Biondo to start her own theatrical costume house, Arteinscena Atelier. She thus collaborated with some of the major theaters in Sicily, including:
INDA (National Institute of Ancient Drama, Syracuse): Curculio in June 1991 and Alcesti in May 1992
Taormina Arte: Elektra in September 1992
"Orestiadi" festival in Gibellina: Oedipus Rex in July 1988 and Fu Mattia Pascal in July 1990
The Theater of Messina: Barber of Seville in May 1994
At work with an angel.
From 1996 to 1999 she was the Costume Designer for
the Palermo "Festino", the parade-event celebrating the patron saint, Santa Rosalia. Although the "Festino" dates back to the Baroque period, the celebration rediscovers its original splendor with the editions organized by the Studio Festi of Milan starting in 1995 and followed up by reknowned directors such as Maurizio Scaparro and Jerome Savary.
For the 1996 edition of the "Festino" she created seven baroque angels each 2,7m (9') tall that were hung from the baroque gate of Porta Felice, one of Palermo's more important monuments. The group of angels afterwards travelled to other installations, such as the Milan Galleria for Christmas 1999.
In parallel, Maria Adele teaches both theory and practice for costumes, sculpture and artistic decoration alike.
This activity is primarily with the State Professional Institutes for fashion and garments (IPSIA) and through professional training courses financed by the Sicilian Region and/or the European Union.
She also continues her own work as a sculptor using a range of materials (papier maché, ceramics, plaster, resins, ABS, semi-expanded poliurethane, rubber lattice, silicon, salt paste, etc.) and as painter using oil and acrylics, in her private studio in Palermo.
Three students wearing costumes they've made.