The costume make is distinct to the samba school that will participate in the parade. It takes months, sometimes even a full year, for the main designer and supporting community to choose, sew and put up the finishing touches to each costume design.
Unless you buy your costumes from a supplier in Rio, you get an opportunity to help construct your own costume. It doesn’t matter which samba school you find yourself in, the costume make is as elaborate as the other. The Carnival designer or what is locally known as “carnavalesco,” is the focal person who will decide what the type of fabric, sequin, glitter, feather, thread, cord and whatever material necessary to come up the best costume but still remains true to the theme.
The carnival designer starts by drawing an outline on paper, taking care to distinguish between float and ground costumes. According to tradition, the float performers are typically dressed ostentatiously because they are the first to be seen by the crowd.
The performers and marchers beside the float are dressed according to the “wing” where they belong. The task is very daunting when you think about making a costume for hundreds of performers at the Sambadrome.
Each ground marchers make up a “wing” and each wing has around 200 people dancing literally elbow-to-elbow.
As stated above, the ground marchers are dressed in the same costume to keep up with the theme’s harmony. The different wings, however, sport different costumes but still make sure nobody sticks out like a sore thumb.
If you want to wear the most ornate and colorful costume then off to the float you go.
Take heed, however, this is where the most skilled dancers perform and the most fearless when it comes to wearing those very skimpy costumes.
If your samba is not perfect, performing on the float may not be advisable because the constant moving and shaking make it harder to dance. It’s also quite difficult to sustain the highest energy all throughout the performance. However, the best costume make is probably reserved for the floater or the singer of the samba song at the head of the float.