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The Costume Virtuoso


Mrs. Carmia Marshall-David is star dresser and stylist in the film and television industry tells how to make it work for you.   


Job Title(s): Costumer, Wardrobe Mistress, Star Dresser, Stylist and personal Shopper

Born: Flint, MI  Lives: Brooklyn, NY Works: where the job takes me

CT: Describe Your...



  • Star Dresser: Russell Crowe for Noah, Winter Tales, Fathers and Daughters and The Nice Guys 
  • Key Costumer: The OA, The Affair, Annie, Sex in the City 2, Spider-Man 2 
  • Personal Shopper: Individual clients looking to create a functioning closet
  • Head Stylist: Of Whonder Luxury Apparrel


CT: what do you do?

These days we have have a slash behind each career title since some specialized industries over lap

As a star dress/key costumer,  I execute the vision of a costume designer. I maintain the wardrobe continuity of any film or television show since we making the project we shoot out of order.  

As a personal shopper, I help individuals clients create a functioning wardrobe closet for their overall lifestyles.  

As a stylist, I create an image in collaboration of my client on a image that help identify the brand. 

CT: what is the easiest way for someone with no experience to do what you do or break into your field?

Internships are great.  As cliche as it may sound, an internship can lead to job ops.  In NY, there's a program called Made in NY that help place interns are professional film and television sets.  It's a great way for someone with no experience to work on a full throttle set.

CT: (project) what is the project/work that you're most known and/or proud of?

Noah is one of my favorite projects.  It was a ton of water work and keeping the costumes in tip top shape was a daily challenge. Not to mention, we were shooting during the winter months.  Imagine all of your clothing completely wet during the winter in NY.   We were working with raw fabrics that didn't react well to water and we had to figure out ways to keep them camera ready.  

CT: (process) how would you describe your process?

My process is to understand the story and the character of whom I am dressing very well.  During filmmaking we don't shoot in order so there are times where I have to justify why things are being worn a certain way.  Take for example, someone wearing a blazer during a fight scene.  I just to the actor to keep the jacket open.  Why? More movement to fight without damaging the costume.  He won't have to worry about the jacket popping open during the fight.  As a result, he can purely concentrate on the chreography of the fight and he or she doesn't have to worry about the costume. 

CT: (practice) what skills do you need and how did you learn to learn these this? (skills)

The skills required are many: pro-active, ability to follow directions. Sewing skills are very usual. I was trained on the job.  The more I practiced, the better I became at my job. I also read technical fashion books to learn about style and cuts, fabrics, clothing maintenance, distressing  

CT: (progress) what do you do to stay relevant or creative?

I look for the subtle nuances of human interaction and behavior. The small details of what and how someone is wearing clothing is crucial for me to understand especially when storytelling via garments.  People give you a sneak peek of who they are by what they wear at any given moment.  I stay tuned to these details since its feeds my creativity and makes me a better costumer and stylist.


For more in depth look into the careers of a star dresser, stylist and personal shopper, log in to the LIVE CHAT on [date]  Prepare your questions and get the scoop beyond the page on how to work in this fabulous career.