lauren hess

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Anastasia Costumes by Linda Cho → Lauren Blackman as Alexandra Feodorovna

“A major focal point is the Tsarina, played by cast member Lauren Blackman, who is dressed in “50 pounds of costume that all dazzle,” Cho says. “She’s tall and gorgeous, and then she wears an eight-inch crown that makes her seven feet tall. Historically, the Tsarina would have been the most dazzling, and that real gown was covered in real diamonds and pearls. Historically, that dress would have been worth $10 million.”

Blackman’s costume is so heavy and massive, that it cannot be carried up the six floors to her dressing room, so it is housed in a changing area underneath the stage where a team of dressers help her into it just moments prior to the start of each performance.

“Her dress is an amalgamation of various different royal gowns,” Cho says. “The great thing about being a costume designer is that I get to just pick my favorite things from various pieces of research. Lauren has a tiny waist. The real Tsarina had five children, and was a very different shape than our actress. So you design for the actress in mind, and what will have the most impact onstage. We also had to balance the glitter factor. It sounds like sort of a frivolous endeavor, but you have to think about different qualities of shine, different textures, and different sizes. We lay out different things, and figure out a scenario that has the most impact.”

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10 Trickiest Trompe L’oeils in Summer Gallery Shows

The practice of tricking viewers to think an artwork is something else dates back to antiquity, but it never gets old. Indeed it’s one of the top trends of the summer art season, judging by the number of gallery shows featuring objects that flaunt mad technical skills–and a deadpan sense of humor–to make you do that double-take. See if you can guess the materials of these trompe l’oeil works currently on view in Chelsea and the Lower East Side.

From top: David Adamo, “Untitled (orange peel),” 2014, bronze, at Kai Matsumiya; Nicolas Party Blackam, “Stone (orange),“ 2012, acrylic on stone, at Salon 94 Bowery; Hannah Cole, "Safety Fence,” 2015, acrylic on canvas, at The Lodge Gallery; Bill Adams, “Balls,” 2015, clay, acrylic, and marker, at Kerry Schuss; Matthias Merkel Hess, 3 of his “5 Gallon Bucket,” 2015, stoneware, at Salon 94 Freemans; Martha Friedman, “Loaf 1,” 2010, cast rubber, at The Hole; Leslie Wayne, “Paint Rag 57 (Adinkra),” 2015, oil on panel, at Mixed Greens; Lauren Seiden, “Cloaked,” 2015, graphite on paper, at Louis B. James; Bertozzi and Casoni, “Cestino della discordia,” 2012, glazed ceramic, at Sperone Westwater; Sarah Harrison, “Rug 13,” 2015, oil on panel, at Mixed Greens.