Miles & Coltrane: Blue(.)…A Behind The Scenes Look At The Costume Designs

Last week, I had the fortunate opportunity to work with On Q Productions as a costume designer for the play “Miles & Coltrane: Blue(.)” by Concrete Generation.  It was truly an amazing experience being able to share the stage with so many multi-talented artists.  And the idea that my designs will be featured in the Edinburg Festival in Scotland is astonishing. 

I provided the looks for all of the men featured in the play and I wanted to give a behind the scenes look at how some of the looks came about. 

First, I had to get the sizes of the gentlemen in the play.  I had the guys meet me at Dupp & Swat in NoDa to take their measurements and try on some of the pieces.

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Once the measurements were gathered, I started to put the looks together based on the sizes of the individuals and their roles in the play.  Of course, more emphasis were placed on costumes for the characters of Miles Davis and John Coltrane.  There were a few setbacks when coming up with looks for Sultan Omar El-Amin (Omar), who plays the part of Miles Davis. 

1  This tan 3-piece pinstripe suit with the polka dot neck tie combination was originally put together for Miles Davis.  However, I mis-calculated the size of Omar.

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This suit was extremely too big for Omar, but it just so happens that CP Maze, who plays the role of The Storyteller, came to the fitting at the same time as Omar.  This suit was a perfect fit for CP Maze:

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So, I tweaked the combination a little and turned it into the costume for The Storyteller.

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Instead of the blue window pane button down, I went with the classic white button down and the cotton white pocket square. 

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And that’s how The Storyteller’s look came to together. 

Another look that sort of accidentally came together perfectly was the costume of The Griot, played by Filmore Johnson. 

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This was the final look for The Griot.  However, this was not the initial look for The Griot. 

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This was the initial look for The Griot.  Notice the plain grey trousers and the grey glen plaid fedora.  The trousers and the fedora were too big for Filmore and it kind of bothered him during the first performance.

I put together about five different costumes for Miles Davis.  Originally, those grey Ralph Lauren trousers with suede rust patches were a part of one of the costumes I put together for Miles Davis.  But when Filmore saw them, he went crazy over them.  He made a declaration that he will wear those pants from now on.  Omar even gave his blessing to Filmore to wear those trousers, as he was still in character as Miles Davis, “Listen young fella, you can wear those pants if you want…you have my blessing.  Just wear them with pride.” 

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Indeed he did!2

This is the original costume I put together for John Coltrane…but I was undecided on the shoes to complete the costume.  Quentin Talley, who plays the role of John William Coltrane, saw one of my looks in which I was wearing my black and white spectator shoes and he asked me to add those shoes to the show.  The light bulb went off in my head, and I stumbled upon a pair of black and white spectator loafers in Quentin’s size.

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And that’s how John William Coltrane’s costume was completed.

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I cannot recall a time in which I had as much fun working as I did during my experience working as the costume designer for this play.

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