CSU intern tailors timeless costumes for magnificent Santa Fe Opera productions


Nicole Grebb’s summer internship takes her on a journey through time. The apparel and merchandising major interns with the Santa Fe Opera and creates masterpieces inspired by fashions of the past. She works long days as a stitching and dressing apprentice in the costume department, and constructs clothing for exquisite opera performances. Her time away from the Santa Fe Opera allows her to indulge in the rich culture of New Mexico, which further inspires her creativity.

You can see images from Grebb’s experience at the Santa Fe Opera by following the ProudToBeaCSURam student-run Instagram, the week of July 25.

Nicole Grebb’s internship in her own words

So far, I have assisted my draper to stitch a Western wear set, influenced by the Gold Rush, for La Fanciulla del West and hand-embroider millions of red roses for Don Giovanni. Currently, I am constructing flared ensembles for Capriccioinspired by Charles James’ works from the 1950s.

One of the most rewarding accomplishments was finally attaching the infinite quantities of lace and beaded trims on top of the 1850s-inspired crinoline skirts for Romeo et Juliette. We created the entire under-structures of the hoop skirts and basques, and made some daunting alterations to the dresses, which presented seemingly endless hems. Overall, the most gratifying aspect of working here has been creating simply beautiful garments that transcend time.

When I can finally take a break from the consistent 14-hour work days, I delight in the beauty that is Santa Fe. A truly interesting blend of Pueblo Indian, Spanish Conquest, and Mexican Colonialism exhibits a vibrant and artistic atmosphere that is nestled in the stark, desert climate of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Without the encouragement from my lovely instructors from Colorado State University and the rigor of its Apparel Design and Production concentration coursework, I would not be able to relish this wonderful opportunity. Certainly the all-too-familiar all-nighters in the sewing lab and scrambling to complete projects for the due date have accounted for the ability to rapidly and efficiently construct for the performances.