Dressing to Delight: The Spectacle of Costume and the Character of the Fop on the Restoration Stage, 1660-1714
The costumes of the Restoration period, many of which were donated by elite patrons, were infused with declarations of character, class and social acceptance. Dress, and consequently costume, in the theatres of the Restoration were employed as a form semiotic display, designed to talk directly with the audience. For the theatrical Fop, costume presented itself as a means of elaborate presentation and ornamentation which distinguished his character and his social standing (with the costume doing most of the work). As a reflection of the court and the audience, the Fop crossed between the bounds of the theatre into life, and vice versa. Considering plays between 1660 and 1714, this paper examines the ways in which costume was employed as a means of communication and reflection between the stage and the audience. Through the consideration of the Restoration stage as ‘spectacular’ (i.e. something to be admired and enjoyed), this article will consider how costume was paramount to the audience’s understanding and enjoyment of Restoration theatre.1 Through the development of a typology of character roles, this article will explore how (i) class/status, (ii) character personae and (iii) situational meaning were constituted by costumes and adornments to assist in the production of a spectacular visual aesthetic for the Restoration audience.
Citation : Bakewell, L. (2018) Dressing to Delight: The Spectacle of Costume and the Character of the Fop on the Restoration Stage, 1660-1714. About Performance, 16.
Research Group : Drama Research Group
Research Institute : Institute of Drama, Dance and Performance Studies
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Arts