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LCT costume designer stays true to the era

Barbara Hunter has lived a thousand lives. 

Hunter is a self described Army brat who traveled around the world as a child before landing in the Lawton area after her grandparents retired here. She left university to attend the Ringling Brothers Clown College as a young woman. Her parents supported her decision to walk a new path, giving her a year to sow her wild oats. Seven years later she left the circus.

Hunter bounced around at a few jobs before finding her way into the government.

"I figured a three-ring circus to a three-ring circus, and you're golden," Hunter said about her stark career shift.

These days, Hunter can be found toiling away in her backstage "lair" at the John Denney Playhouse, where she has served as costume director for the last three years.

Hunter has been hard at work designing the costumes for "An Inspector Calls," LCT's latest production.

"We are talking 1912, you are out of the corsets, basically; you are a lot looser so they don't have the hourglass figure, so it's more high-waisted, you know way up high, and drapey," Hunter said of the dresses she designed for the production. "So, you're getting out of this really heavy corseted Victorian era going into Edwardian; it's just loosening up the costuming."

Despite the disappearance of the corset, women still had qualms about how much of their body to show in the early 1900s, according to Hunter.

"No matter what, they are going to be in their evening gloves up to their elbows. Even if they have short sleeves."

Because the play is a period piece, many of the designs that went into the costumes were based on research.

"It all has to do with the hierarchy and the class system," Hunter said. "The maid still looks like the maid would have looked a hundred years earlier  they are head to toe black; you don't even want to see them, basically."

One of Hunter's favorite things about the costumes for "An Inspector Calls" are the men's evening suits.

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