Costume designer Patricia Toovey created two costumes for "The Phoenix." The first costume she began in 2020 is the 1800s-style hoop skirt. Patricia sewed this period costume on a machine from the 1800s. She engineered it to sway beautifully under linen ruffles and over a petite chemise. Patricia chose linen because it is ancient, and is one of the first fabrics. Linen is historically used to make shrouds. As it burns it gets black and grey. Yes, we did do tests to burn this lovely costume for dancer Abby Enson who will dance as Stella Rosa. Another twist. Another turn. Don't burn, I hear. What tugs on me now is her infernal beauty.
Whereas Stella Rosa is the soul in "The Phoenix," her Assistant is the spirit in the performance. She is the one who watches, plays witness, and is the one who lifts Stella Rosa's fiery hoop, freeing her so it seems. Patricia wanted the Assistant's costume to also be of the period, a bit formal, but ragged. She chose to use an unusual fabric she found at a local thrift shop. It reminded me of netting, and though I originally told Patricia the Assistant was from the forest, in the end I discovered she in fact is from the sea. It wasn't until I saw the costume wet with bits of seaweed caught in the skirt that I began to embody the Assistant. She is the Unknown Photographer in my photo narrative, "Rodin's Photographer."