21, No. 5, Sept. 6, 2001
On the Job:
by Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
(217) 244-1072; firstname.lastname@example.org
by Bill Wiegand
Faurant, costume rental manager at Krannert Center for the
Performing Arts, also holds a master of fine arts degree in
costume design from the University of Georgia.
As costume rental manager at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts,
Nicole Faurant helps outfit performers in local community theaters in
Champaign and Urbana and in theater productions around the country.
Faurant earned her baccalaureate degree in biochemistry from the Lycee
Chevrolier and a bachelors degree in social work from a private
school, both of which are in her hometown of Angers, France. She also
holds a master of fine arts degree in costume design from the University
of Georgia. Faurant is an avid reader of all kinds of literature, in
French and in English, and relaxes by doing yoga.
How did a scientific person end up being a
Does your scientific background help you as a costume designer?
My hobby since I was young has been costumes. I have worked on the side
as a costume designer for the French television school, which is in
Paris, for several childrens movies. And I also worked a lot at
the International Festival of Theater in Avignon doing costumes and
The rigor that you have to apply to do costumes for a show is the same
rigor you have to apply in science. You need to have a keen eye and
be very strong in capturing the essence of a character through meticulous
You also have to be very strong in research. A major part of my job
is to know my costume history because when people tell me they need
early Georgian- or late Georgian-era costumes I must know the
Who are your customers?
I am not involved in any of Krannerts productions, although the
costumes I rent out were originally designed for the theater and opera
departments productions. Occasionally, we may land a rental with
big-name people like Walt Disney. I rented them three costumes for the
1999 Easter parade at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. I also rented
boots to Comedy Central in New York for the "Upright Citizens Brigade"
show. But this is not the norm. We are always impressed when these kinds
of people call.
Last year we did an entire show, "A Tale of Two Cities," for
a college in Birmingham, Ala.
We do a lot of business with free-lance designers from Chicago; they
prefer to drive all the way down here rather than rent from Chicago
places because of the quality of our costumes.
How do these other theater people know about
the Krannert costume shop?
We have a strong reputation in the field developed solely by word of
mouth from our students and other costumers.
We have a costume designer who is very talented and has been here for
more than 20 years. We also have two professional cutters and drapers
and three professional stitchers, which gives us an extremely good quality
of costume very well designed, very well constructed.
How much do you charge to rent different costumes?
In the field, we are not expensive at all. Some people from Comedy Central
in New York were looking for knee-high boots, and they could not find
what they wanted there. So they called us, and I sent them all the boots
they needed. It was $25 to rent each pair for six weeks while in New
York it was $150.
The period dresses are the most valuable because they require a lot
of fabric and are very elaborate constructions. Maybe it will be only
be $30 to rent, but the value of the dress may be $1,500, and thats
what people will have to pay if they damage it.
How many costumes do you have in stock and
how do you keep track of them?
Altogether, including all the accessories, we may have 100,000 pieces
of costume. Every other year, to make space we have a big sale and remove
pieces that are no longer rentable or that are not in demand. We are
in the process of putting all the costumes into a database. We put labels
Do you rent to individuals who arent
We rent to people for theme weddings and parties, especially around
Christmas and New Years Eve. I had people who wanted to do a Civil
War-era wedding and others who had a "Titanic"-themed wedding.
We do not rent costumes for Halloween because that is not our business,
and we are not equipped to do that. Also we do not want to take that
away from local businesses.
In your spare time, are you a big fan of the
Oh, yeah. I go to everything from concerts to plays to opera to dance.
I am a big fan of performance. I dont like Halloween. I like to
dress up other people, but me, I dont like being in disguise.