Photo / Regina Ramos
The musical Hamilton made so much news during the 70th Tony Awards (winning 11 of the 16 noms, the most for any show in a single year) that it almost eclipsed other nominees. However, there was one winner that didn’t escape our sight: Filipino costume designer Clint Ramos won for Best Costume Design of a Play for Eclipsed, a play starring Lupita Nyong’o.
In his speech, he said, “I just want to say thank you to everybody, to a group of women who are unbelievable,” referring to the cast, director, and playwright.
Eclipsed tells the story of five women, Nyong’o included, who survive the second Liberian Civil War. Written by Danai Gurira and directed by Liesl Tommy, the production received five other nominations: Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for Nyong’o, two nominations for Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Play, Best Direction of a Play, and Best Play.
Ramos dressed the actors in a mix of clothes with pop culture designs like Rugrats and Tweety, and African fabrics with bright patterns. According to him, he researched and studied the characters to accurately portray the women of the time. The references to pop culture is the result of donated secondhand clothing from missionary groups in the US.
All the clothes were recreated from scratch. They were silk-screened, distressed, and dyed to portray blood or sweat stains that could not be washed off.
The costumes and set were warmly received, with Variety calling it “meticulously detailed,” Hollywood Reporter calling it “evocative,” and Vogue.com saying that it is “essential to helping piece together an identity that war has the potential to destroy.”
This attention to detail stems from Ramos’s history in the Philippines. He was born and raised in Cebu, eventually studying Theater Arts in the University of the Philippines. He did design work for Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas (DUP) before flying to New York on a scholarship to take Master of Fine Arts in Design for Stage and Film at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
DUP artistic director Alex Cortez told Inquirer.net, “When Clint was a student, he was much ahead of his time! He is a stickler for details. In his early works as costume designer of ‘Mayor of Zalamea/Alcalde ng Zalamea’ and as a stylist of ‘M. Butterfly’ and “Noli Me Tangere,’ Clint showed a sense of artistry destined for bigger things!”
Some of his works include The Elephant Man, starring Bradley Cooper, and Here Lies Love, the musical about Imelda Marcos. His work for the latter was praised by The Hollywood Reporter and New York Magazine.
In the Philippines, he designed the sets of Tanghalang Pilipino’s Mga Gerilya sa Powell Street and DUP’s Mary Stuart/Maria Stuarda, The Duchess of Malfi/Ang Dukesa ng Malfi and The Country Wife/Ang Misis Kong Promdi.
Through the years, he has amassed awards from various award-giving bodies like the Craig Noel Award, the Lucille Lortel Award, the Theatre Development Fund Irene Sharaff Young Master Award, the American Theater Wing Henry Hewes Award, and many more. If Ramos wins the Tony, it will be first.
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