Drew Facey, Costume Designer for The Merchant of Venice, shares the images he used for inspiration to create the wardrobe of three characters in the play – Antonio, Bassanio and Portia.

1.       How did the play’s settings/main locations inspire the costumes?

Merchant is set in the two Italian cities of Venice and Belmont. I endeavoured to capture a certain quality that Italian fashion has – incredibly chic and also effortless. Venice is more finance driven in the play, so I focused on a black and white palette with a sharper, more architectural quality to the clothing. Belmont is coastal and more relaxed, so I played with more drape in the clothing as well as lighter textiles like linen and cotton as well as a soft palette of whites, creams and coral pinks.

Drew’s inspiration for Portia

2.      What did you want to say about each character and how do you go about doing this with the costumes?

It’s always fun as a designer to imagine how the personalities of characters would reflect their choices in clothing. With Antonio for example, the very simple move to have him in an open collar dress shirt with no tie, gives him a look of confidence that I really like.

Drew’s inspiration for Antonio

3.      How do you get from the first idea to the final design?

My design for Merchant was driven by very current fashion so for this show, my process involved a lot of shopping! I had two buyers on this show and between the three of us we shopped, did fittings and returns for six weeks, to create the show.

Drew’s inspiration for Bassiano

Check back for Part 2 of our Behind the Scenes blog posts with Company member Kate Besworth next week. The Merchant of Venice runs until Saturday, September 16, 2017. Read more about Merchant and purchase tickets here.