When it comes to creating a character, the actors in Kansas City have a strong ally in their corner—Georgianna Londré Buchanan. Londré Buchanan is one of the city’s most esteemed costumers, having worked on more than 300 shows over the last 20 years. If you’ve seen a show at the Coterie Theatre, Shakespeare in the Park, or Quality Hill Playhouse, you’ve likely seen Londré Buchanan’s creativity in action.
Londré Buchanan grew up around the theater. Intending to study art history, she gravitated toward costuming classes and found her place with a needle and thread and all of history to pull from. Together with the production team, Londré Buchanan says that telling stories through clothing is what separates fashion from costuming.
But even when she’s building pants-full of tacos, as she did with this summer’s Coterie Theatre production of the children’s classic, Dragons Love Tacos, she’s utilizing current fashion to support the story.
“Trends are interesting because people do notice these things. If I’m doing a costume design that has modern-day clothes, it’s more relatable if I’m able to use current trends to say that it’s a modern-day story. I’m always interested in what’s out there, product-wise in fashion. Plus, I have to stay on budget, so using current products helps a lot,” she says.
For Dragons Love Tacos, she even repurposed a trend piece—the once-again popular scrunchy—as a tail for the main character’s dog, played by Chelsea Rolfes. With very on-trend baggy brown overalls and the actress’s own pigtails as ears, the character is built with items that you could find at your local Target.
Offstage, Londré Buchanan says that although she has a wardrobe full of black from working backstage, she loves to experiment with color.
“I think wearing color is a way of putting yourself out there. A lot of people are worried about what other people think. I think that’s a big obstacle in truly wearing and doing what you want. There are items that are going to be a little trickier, but you should put up with it [the risk of being noticed] because you feel good and you look good and want to make that statement,” she says.
Another way to step out? Support local designers. Londré Buchanan has found amazing pieces by thrifting and shopping at local stores. Finding those unique pieces help define your wardrobe in a way that makes you feel and look good. Now, to work on lighting. . .