{Costume Design: Frozen, Part Two – The Ensemble}

Today I continue the break down of the Frozen costumes with the ensemble characters, namely the villagers of Arendelle and the Hidden Folk. It is always a challenge to create the ensemble, as it generally involves a ton of kids playing multiple parts. However, the ensemble is extremely important for creating the mood of the show and ensuring that the audience believes that they are transported.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the different ensemble parts required for Frozen, Jr.

The Villagers of Arendelle

I absolutely adored creating the villagers of Arendelle. I knew exactly what I wanted them to look like from the get go, and I had such a good time combining various fabrics from my classroom to achieve the look I wanted. Between my own scraps, a trip to Materials for the Arts, and a large fabric stock, I spent very little money on a project that required costumes for about twenty-nine children!

Every villager had two costumes: their “casual” villager dress and their “fancy” villager dress for the “First Time in Forever.” I actually preferred the casual dresses because I took a lot of time to put them together into just the right combinations to get the exact look. This was the first time I really put trims to good use, using gimp braids on hemlines and waistlines, and occasionally on a few necklines.

For the fancy dress, some villagers also received an apron. They have to do a quick change during the song, and an apron was the easiest way to make that happen. These aprons were a last minute thing that ended up being so nice in the end. They’re a simple style but then we painted an Arendelle crest on them to make them look more official.

It’s often really hard to get a good picture of the ensemble, and it was particularly difficult for the fancy dresses as the ensemble is very much in the background of these scenes, but I found what I could (including a backstage picture from a rehearsal!). I used two basic patterns and scoured my classroom for anything that could look like a ballgown.

The Wandering Oakens

In the musical version, Oaken comes with family members. On Broadway, they are scantily clad for the sauna in what is essentially a skin colored body suit with a towel. So clearly that was not going to work for us.

Originally, I wanted all the Oakens (presumably that’s his last name…) to wear matching sweaters. But it’s fairly expensive to get your hands on twelve matching fair isle sweaters, and so I went back to brainstorming. Eventually I settled on kind of a long johns look, and ended up purchasing pajamas from Target during a Thanksgiving sale. They ended up being so perfect! They looked exactly how I wanted them to, and the kids loved wearing them.

They were a big audience hit too, as many people talked about them afterwards. Funny how that happens… as I didn’t put a lick of work into them other than online shopping! Still, they were chosen very specifically and deliberately to fit into the vision of the show, so not just random pajamas.

The Hidden Folk

The Hidden Folk went through a lot of different versions before we finally settled on the little elven looking things we came up with. I have to admit, these were not my favorite costumes to make or design. I wanted them to be much cooler but in the end had to go with time and resources. All the female Hidden Folk got a dress with brown leggings. The boys got a pair of pants and a vest/shirt thing. All of them got decorated with nature elements. The costumes were ultimately topped off by crazy-looking wigs.

Out of all the costumes from the show, it is the Hidden Folk that would go back to the drawing board if I had more time to get things done, but I did like them as is. My original idea was to make them bulbous rock people which wouldn’t involved a lot of hoop skirt wire, and in the end that just didn’t see feasible!

So… you live and you learn, and love the final product nonetheless.

And that’s the ensemble! Coming soon… Elsa, the character whose transformation dress needs a post all to herself!

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