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Costume Design Challenge

Designs generously sponsored by The Globe Theatre


Costume Design "Killer Dress" Challenge - Featuring the work of Costume Designers:


  • Beverley Kobelsky

  • Jeff Chief

  • Jensine Emmeline

  • Logan Martin-Arcand


Designers were challenged to create a design of a "Killer Dress" and imagine that they had an unlimited budget for materials. It is up to each designer to determine what makes a dress "killer".


2021 "Killer Dress" Designs


"Killer Dress" - Beverley Kobelsky

This project inspired all my loves of costume and design, including Victorian Steampunk style, chain mail, recycled and not typical materials for “clothing”, LED lights and fog machines.  The design began with my combining a number of costume pieces from past works (my history) to create something new.  My knowledge of Costume History brought ideas of how dangerous to our health fashion can be; from lead-based makeup to extreme corseting, stiletto heeled shoes…the list goes on.


My love and fascination of Victorian Steampunk style had me recalling the use of arsenic in a brilliant new green dye, known as emerald green, which was invented in 1814.  People then and now know that exposure to arsenic is horrible; producing ulcers on the skin, loss of hair, vomiting blood and death---Doctors knew the dangers and horrors this new dye brought and began trying to stop the use of it as early as 1857.  The British Medical Journal of the day remarked: “Well may the fascinating wearer of it be called a killing creature.  She actually carries in her skirt poison enough to slay the whole of the admirers she may meet with in half a dozen ball-rooms.”  Despite these warnings, people continued to use and wear the colour, some claiming that the doctors were lying and because some people will always believe that science is not real…hmm…  It took until 1895 for regulations to be placed on factories to stop workers being exposed to arsenic.  Finally, the Victorian people demanded alternatives to the green arsenic-based dye.


Therefore, in my “Killer Dress” design, the skirt having green LED lighting and a built-in fog machine, would waft green fog as the actor moves.  The scale mail mask protects the wearer and in the event the “fog” does not get you, the knife ridden Elizabethan collar is the backup plan.

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"Killer Dress" - Jeff Chief

This “Killer Dress” draws on the images of red dresses from the REDress Project commemorating Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and of the blankets that may have been used to spread smallpox to Indigenous people in earlier settler days. The dress is designed similarly to a traditional Indigenous women’s dress, but with a contemporary cut and the addition of the Hudson’s Bay point blanket as an overskirt. The red woolen fabric of the bodice and sleeves is intricately beaded to pay tribute to Cree and Métis traditions. The millinery represents the enduring strength of Indigenous women.

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"The Iron Maiden" - Jensine Emeline

“The Iron Maiden” dress is composed of various tools, both real and mythical, of pain and torture from throughout the centuries. The headpiece, an amalgamation of the head of an Iron Maiden and a Scold’s Bridle. The Scold’s Bridle was overwhelmingly used on female victims and functioned to silence the victim from speaking entirely. The bodice, fitted with an exceedingly tight corset and crowned with bear trap pauldrons, drip with precious, red gems. The skirt is modeled after The Pear of Anguish (Choke Pear), which is said to have been inserted into any orifice and opened, well, as far as it could go. Truly “killer”, “The Iron Maiden” dress is designed to grotesquely blend tools of pain into one beautiful, yet horrifying, gown.

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"Femme Fatale" - Logan Martin-Arcand

Inspired by the sultry sexy presentations of modern-day icons such as Lizzo and Megan The Stallion, I designed a deadly outfit reminiscent of the films of decades past. My curvaceous "Femme Fatale" wears a form-fitting 70s-esque red dress, with halter straps, and a plunging neckline. The dress is adorned with hundreds of thousands of ruby red Swarovski crystals. With every movement, she shimmers like a trophy you will never win. Her box blonde hair is done in a grandiose beehive that is ready to sting at any moment. Her red ostrich feather boa adds a camp value that's worth more than you will ever be able to afford. On her feet are cheap black vinyl combat boots, with ridiculously high heels and platforms. Her outfit quite literally drips with the kind of cheap looking, yet expensive opulence of the past. 

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Beverley Kobelsky

Beverley Kobelsky has worked as a professional costume designer in Saskatoon for just over 25 years.   She is also an Instructor for the University of Saskatchewan Drama Department where she teaches costume design and construction.  She holds a B.F.A. in Visual Arts, and a B.A. in Drama from the University of Saskatchewan and completed her first year of a M.V.A in Printmaking at the University of Alberta.  She has designed costumes for more than 165 productions for Saskatoon’s theatres including Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, Persephone Theatre, Greystone Theatre, La Troupe du Jour and Twenty Fifth Street Theatre.  She is the recipient of seven S.A.T. Awards (Saskatoon and Area Theatre Awards) for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design and was awarded in 2017 with The Henry Woolf S.A.T. Award for Continuing Achievement.

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Jeff Chief

Jeff Chief is a Cree costume designer from Onion Lake First Nation on Treaty 6 territory in Saskatchewan. He currently lives in Saskatoon. Jeff began his career in fashion design before starting to work in theatre wardrobe. He has been a costume stitcher and cutter for theatres across Canada, including The Stratford Festival, The Banff Centre, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Citadel Theatre, and the National Arts Centre. Here in Saskatchewan, he has worked at Persephone Theatre, Globe Theatre, Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre (GTNT), La Troupe du Jour, and Dancing Sky Theatre. While working in costume construction, Jeff began designing costumes in Saskatoon for GTNT and has continued to work in indigenous, and non-indigenous, costume design across the country. His costume design credits include Being Here: The Refugee Project (Belfry Theatre); Leave it to Weavers (Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre); Life After Hockey (La Troupe du Jour); Ahtoyakwin 4 (The Crossing Theatre); Ministry of Grace (Belfry Theatre); Kronborg: The Hamlet Rock Musical (Confederation Centre of the Arts); Honour Beat (Theatre Calgary); Hedda Noir (Theatre NorthWest); Le Wild West Show de Gabriel Dumont (National Arts Centre); Ipperwash (Blyth Festival); In Care (GTNT); Popcorn Elder (GTNT/Dancing Sky Theatre); Dreary and Izzy (Theatre NorthWest); Othello (Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan); Where the Blood Mixes (Western Canada Theatre); Migration (Red Sky/Black Grace); A Man A Fish, God of Carnage, The Berlin Blues (Persephone Theatre).


Jensine Emeline

Jensine (they/them) is a theatre designer and stage manager from Saskatoon and an alumnus from the U of S drama department. Recent stage management credits include: The Fourth Wise Man; With Glowing Hearts; Blow Wind (Dancing Sky Theatre), Blow Wind (Station Arts Center), and Girl in the Box (Scantily Glad Theatre/Live Five). Recent costume designs include: With Glowing Hearts (Dancing Sky Theatre), The Penelopiad (Ferre Play Theatre), and Girl in the Box (Scantily Glad Theatre/Live Five). They have also been able to stretch their other design skills by creating the set and lighting design for The Wolves (Little Big Theatre/EvilStick Productions/Live Five) and lighting for The Fourth Wise Man (Dancing Sky Theatre). Jensine is honoured to have been awarded Saskatoon & Area Theatre Awards for Outstanding Costume Design for The Penelopiad, and Outstanding Emerging Artist in 2020. Jensine is endlessly grateful for their mentors and friends, the guidance and support they have been given, and to be able to work in and share their passion for the arts and community in Saskatchewan.

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Logan Martin-Arcand

Logan Martin-Arcand is a queer Indigenous theatrical artist and scholar from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Logan has numerous credits to his name as an actor, director, designer, producer and writer. Some of his recent credits include producer/writer for The Gay Card (Horsetrade Theater NYC 2019, and SexualSpaceWalk Theatre, 2016, 2020), writer/actor in Politics of Happiness (SexualSpaceWalk Theatre, 2018), costume designer for Reneltta Arluk’s Pawakan Macbeth (Theatre Prospero 2017, Akpik Theatre 2020), costume design for Tony Kushner's The Illusion (Greystone Theatre, 2017) and as Vernon Little in Vernon God Little (Greystone Theatre, 2014). Logan has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours (Theatre Design / Acting) from the University of Saskatchewan

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