William Ivey Long is an American costume designer born August 30, 1947, specialising in stage & film. He was born in Seaboard, North Carolina where he completed high school & went on to study History at the ‘College of William & Mary’, receiving a BA & graduating in 1969. Both his mother & father were theatre educators, with his father founding the Winthrop University theatre department. William spent much of his spare time in Manteo, North Carolina, working with his family on Paul Green’s outdoor drama, ‘The Lost Colony’.
He pursued a Ph.D. in Art History at the ‘University of North Carolina’ at Chapel Hill, where visiting professor Betty Smith suggested he apply to the design program at Yale University. He commenced Set Design studies at the ‘Yale School of Drama’, where he met fellow university students Sigourney Weaver, Wendy Wasserstein, Meryl Streep, Christopher Durang & Paul Rudnick. William has credited designer Ming Cho Lee (whom he studied under) as a major influence on his personal work.
In 1975 William received an MFA in stage design & graduated from Yale & moved to New York City where he worked as an unpaid apprentice for couturier Charles James, until 1978. Karen Schulz (a fellow Yale student) was the set designer for a Broadway revival of Nikolai Gogol’s ‘The Inspector General’ & suggested that William Long be hired to do costume designs for the show. To this day William Long has since designed for over 60 Broadway shows.
His most notable work include ‘The Producers’, ‘Hairspray’, ‘Nine’, ‘Crazy for You’, ‘Grey Gardens’ & ‘Young Frankenstein’. Each summer he returns to Manteo, where he has served as Production Designer since 1988, with 2012 marking his 42nd season with the production.
“Long’s creations have had a tendency to become as much of a celebrity as the people who wear them. His pieces are so lively that they seem to have personalities on their own. The movements the costumes were made for seem to reflect in the fabric. Each detail is lovingly stitched for the characters of the stage and speaks of the story itself, giving the viewer a little taste of the spectacle that is Broadway.”
~ Encore Magazine’s art columnist, Lauren Hodges.
Other costume design works include:
“A Streetcar Named Desire”, “Sweet Charity”, “La Cage aux Folles”, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial”, “The Front Page”, “Big Fish”, “Catch Me If You Can”, “Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway”, “The Ritz”, “Little Shop of Horrors”, “Cabaret”, “Guys and Dolls”, “Dreamgirls”.