Information on Circus Costumes

Written by beth fand incollingo
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
  • Introduction

    Information on Circus Costumes

    If you're captivated by clothing that soars beyond glamour to the heights of sheer extravagance, step into the nearest circus tent. At today's large circuses, you'll find costume collections created with multimillion-dollar budgets--and, in some cases, just as many sequins. Behind all the glitter are some of the world's best-known designers, who indulge their wildest flights of fancy as they invent costumes for human and animal performers alike.

    ( Brian Gurrola:, Heidi Elliott, Mzelle Biscotte, Wilhelmina Storm, Eric Greer, Scott Sandars)

  • 1 / 5


    Major circuses have in-house teams that design and make costumes, hats, wigs, masks and shoes. Cirque du Soleil's costume workshop has 400 employees, including pattern makers, textile designers and dyers. Like many, the team at another circus--Cirque Productions--keeps a large inventory of fabrics, crystals and other trims on hand, and uses them to build its vast costume collection.

  • 2 / 5


    At the circus, a wardrobe expert's work is truly never done. In a year, the costume workshop at Cirque du Soleil might turn out 25,000 pieces. The workshop generates about 3,000 pairs of shoes a year. With 19 shows featuring 1,000 artists playing at once, Cirque du Soleil has about 4,500 costumes at all its show sites, combined, on any given night. Meanwhile, at Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the wardrobe team routinely creates 350 to 400 costumes for a show populated by 80 performers, according to an article in the Plain Dealer.

  • 3 / 5

    Special Effects

    Technologies beyond sewing come into play when making circus costumes. At Cirque Productions, wardrobe experts are responsible for "mask sculpting, heat pressing, body moulding and milinery work," the show's website says. Specialists at Cirque du Soleil incorporate materials used in plumbing, dentistry, aviation and water sports into their costumes, along with batteries, adhesives and lights. One Cirque du Soleil costume included a crinoline supported by the type of metal bands that plumbers use to unclog toilets, and wardrobe experts have also created prosthetic body parts.

  • 4 / 5


    Renowned designers create costumes for major circuses. Designers who have worked with Cirque du Soleil include Dominique Lemieux, who has also designed for singer Celine Dion; Thierry Mugler, the creator of Angel perfume and a fashion designer who, according to England's Telegraph newspaper, has outfitted Beyonce Knowles; and Eiko Ishioka, who won an Oscar and a Saturn Award in 1993 for designing the costumes for the movie, "Dracula." The head designer for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, according to the Plain Dealer article, is Angus Strathie, who won an Oscar for his costume designs for the movie "Moulin Rouge!"

  • 5 / 5


    At Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, wardrobe experts expect their costumes to last from 2 to 6 years, the Plain Dealer reports. After that, the article says, the costumes join tens of thousands of others in the circus's warehouse for potential redesign and reuse. While the insurance policy for The Greatest Show on Earth won't allow its costumes to be sold, some of them end up on display in circus museums, the Plain Dealer article explains.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.