With NORPA’s extraordinary Railway Wonderland being reprised it’s time to find out a little more about the people behind the scenes. William Kutana is a costume and fashion designer who has been working in the field since completing his BA in Industrial Arts from San Francisco State University. After completing a Diploma of Fashion and Cert IV in Costume at Wollongbar TAFE in 2012 he worked with NORPA on the original production of Railway Wonderland and as costume adviser on developmental works. In 2013 he featured as one of the top designers on the reality TV show Project Runway Australia Season 4, where he showcased his first collection. William is currently living in northern NSW where he works out of his private studio, House Of Tailors, in Lismore as well as teaching Fashion and Design at TAFE.
What do you find inspiring about Railway Wonderland?
I absolutely love the fact that the show takes place on real, abandoned railway station. I’ve always found ‘travellers’, whether at an airport or railway station fascinating. I want to know what there story is, their destination, who they are meeting… I find it a bit romantic like Railway Wonderland.
What does your role as production designer involve?
Fortunately I was working with the original creative team during 2011 where I provided costume inspirations for the initial development of Railway Wonderland. As costume designer I am responsible for the overall look and feel of the show.
How are you working with TAFE students? What do you like about it?
For the relaunch of Railway Wonderland we wanted to find a way to involve the TAFE Costume students so I’ve worked with TAFE on the construction of some of the costumes. I am also giving them the opportunity to do some work experience in the field, fitting and altering costumes, watching rehearsals and running around chasing props. It’s great having this local collaboration because it gives them relevant real like theatre experience that every student should experience.
What is different in the design this year from the 2012 production?
We are definitely stepping it up with some of the costumes for this production. The choir’s costumes are all custom made and will have an authentic 1940s/50s look about them with very smart tailored jackets and vintage hats and accessories.
What is your inspiration for the design?
The story takes place over three different eras: modern, 70s and 40s. My inspiration comes from the fashion trends of those times, specifically the 40s when people used to get dressed up more when travelling. The natural train station setting is inspiring and magical so I want to transport the audience into a dreamlike wonderland into the past.
NORPA presents Railway Wonderland, Thursday–Saturday 22 October to 7 November at Lismore Railway Station.
Tickets on www.norpa.org.au.