Academy award winner costume designer

Academy award winner costume designer

Theoni V. Aldredge was a Greek-American stage and screen costume designer, who was born on the 22nd of August 22, 1922 and passed away on the 21st of  January 2011 (cardiac arrest). She was actually born in Thessaloniki, with the name Theoni Athanasiou Vachlioti. She was the daughter of a surgeon general of Greek Army and a member of the Greek Parliament. She was also the wife of the American actor Tom Aldredge from 1953 until her death, aged 88, in a Stamford, Connecticut hospital. He died on July 22, 2011, aged 83, from lymphoma, six months and one day after his wife’s death.

She received her training at the American School in Athens and then emigrated to the United States in 1949 and attended the Goodman Theatre at DePaul University, Chicago, on a scholarship. Her first Broadway theatre assignment was in 1959, designing the wardrobe for Geraldine Page in Tennessee Williams’ “Sweet Bird of Youth”. Her most recent was the 2006 revival of “A Chorus Line”. For twenty years, she was the principal designer for producer Joseph Papp and also designed several musicals for Michael Bennett. She sometimes was credited as Denny Vachlioti.

On being a Broadway costume designer Theone Aldredge had commented: “You don’t take over a show. What you do is enhance it, because the costumes are there to serve a producer’s vision, director’s viewpoint and, most importantly, an actor’s comfort. To me, good design is design you’re not aware of. On “A Chorus Line:” I just borrowed from what they brought. I took it as a compliment if people thought, “Well, they’re wearing their own clothes”.

One of the most honored costume designers of the American theatre, Aldredge received three Tony Awards (for “Annie”, 1977, “Barnum”,1980, and “La Cage aux Folles”, 1984), as well as 11 other Tony nominations, including such iconic productions as “The Devil’s Advocate” , 1961, “A Chorus Line”, 1976,, “42nd Street”, 1981, and “Dreamgirls”, 1982. She received numerous honors from the Drama Desk awards and other theatrical groups. In 2002, she received the “Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Theatre Development Fund.

Aldredge has also worked extensively in film and television as well. Her productions included “Network”, “Eyes of Laura Mars”, and “Rich and Famous”. She received the Oscar and a British Academy Award for “The Great Gatsby” in 1974. Her designs for the film were adapted for a clothing line sold exclusively by Bloomingdale’s in Manhattan.

Aldredge gave an explanation on how she decided to be a costume designer: “A strange happened. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the flowing garments worn by Vivien Leigh. People can look so beautiful in clothes. I said to myself. There is a mystery to costume. And that’s when it started”.