Friday, 30 May 2014

'Nosferatu' - Film Unit Collaboration Project

I am very nearly at the end of my second year at London College of Fashion, already. This year has both flown by and also gone very slowly, if that is even possible! The second year on the Costume for Performance course is very intense, with 18th Century Menswear (see my finished costume here) and an internship term. Our summer term is filled with a collaboration unit, much like our project in Year 1, Term 3 (my Irma costume) and this time the text is the 1922 film, 'Nosferatu'. Our task is to design it as if it were to be remade by a contemporary director - we chose the ever fabulous and fun Baz Lurhmann!

The character I am designing for is Knock, reinterpreted as a woman. Our production is set in the late Victorian era, with a suave and seductive Count Orlock and an insane Knock, imprisoned in an asylum for hysterical women. I have been researching Victorian underwear, asylums and the concept of hysteria, as well as the treatment of those labelled 'lunatic' in the 19th Century.

Here are a few images of my research so far. I have another week to finish my costume, and then I'll share some photos of it here...

My references up on the wall, ready for designing
My initial, rough design
My design after developments
So my costume consists of a chemise/underdress, bustle, petticoat and corset, all very very broken down. I am really looking forward to seeing how my costume progresses this week, it's currently at the stage where it is all coming together very quickly... And my partner Lily's wig, prosthetic and make-up work is stunning, so all in all I am feeling good for this outcome! Fingers crossed...

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Tudor Costume - Panes and a Fitting

I guess it is a good sign when you are working so hard on your projects that you don't actually have time to blog about them... although I do feel guilty for being two weeks behind on updates about the Hadham Tudor costume. Since my last update, I have done two fittings and many changes, here are a few photos. The model is my wonderful dad, who really didn't need much convincing to get dressed up!

Making up the trunkhose panes - I used some vintage gold fabric and trimmed it with gold silk dupion. I think the colours work really well together! And are very close to the original painting, most importantly! After making up 20 panes, I constructed the legs open and flat as shown above, then put the two legs together. 

And the first glimpse of the costume coming together! 

I had a fitting previously to get the size of the trunkhose right, but I still had them too big here... I had plenty of alterations to do, including changing the shape of the panes to better reflect the way they are in the painting, but other than that I am very happy with how it is so far! I have since made these changes and hopefully will have many more photos to post very soon.

At the moment I am also working on a Victorian costume for my university project, 'Nosferatu', as well as planning next year's final year projects and dissertation (!!!). I have a few other projects that I will hopefully be able to post about soon too...all in all I have plenty to share, let's hope I have some time to write everything here very soon! :D

Sunday, 4 May 2014

A quick trip to Paris - Christian Lacroix, Costumier

For Easter weekend a fortnight ago, I visited family in the north east of France. It was great to relax and spend time with family, although the trip was very short, we managed to do a lot! I spent Saturday with my cousin Chloe, and we took a quick day trip to Paris. She showed me around her favourite spots and we made our way to the Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art and the Galerie Colbert, for an exhibition of Christian Lacroix's costume designs for ballet and opera.

A few years ago the CNCS, a dedicated costume museum in Moulins, France, had an exhibition of Lacroix's ballet costumes - see my post about it here - I was desperate to go but sadly Moulins is nowhere near our hometown in France, so I never had the chance to see his work. When I heard he was the subject of an exhibition in Paris, I knew I had to go!

I have to be honest and say I was expecting an display a little bigger! This exhibition is really very small! But it's free, and very close by to the Louvre, and all the big museums along the Tuileries, so is perfect for just popping in even if you don't have much time. The display is great introduction to his style, his illustrations and his process. There were sketchbooks and reference images on display as well as fabric swatch pages. His final design sketches were shown alongside bible pages of final fabrics, and three costumes were on display with a video showing some of his work in situe.

A fantastically glamorous design for 'Othello' (1995) and fabric swatches alongside rough sketches.

I love the way Lacroix embraces colour in his work, to create a bold, playful and fun visual style. Tutus, with their layers and layers of net are a fantastic for bringing in plenty of colour. His sketches and paintings are really free-flowing and I love how this gives the subjects movement - perfect for illustrating a ballet costume. This is something I'd like to take into my work, a sense of freedom when drawing. I think it is really important to be able to get your ideas down on paper quickly, so seeing Lacroix's methods of drawing multiple characters on one page in swift lines has given plenty of tips to improve my illustration technique. His pages full of sketches act as a mood board of ideas and show the thought process and development of a costume clearly, which is great for us as exhibition visitors! It gives us a very personal insight. 

Arranged by project, his sketches are displayed alongside reference images, books and fabric swatches in the exhibition. I especially loved the beautiful lace pieces. Below are some sketches from 'Les enfants du sciecle' (1999).

It is really interesting to hear of more and more exhibitions celebrating costume design. If you are a fan of Lacroix's fashion designs or would like a quick introduction into his work in the ballet and opera, this is the exhibition for you! This exhibition is free, and open until 26 June 2014. For more information, go to the INHA website - here.

After a refreshing dose of costume inspiration, Chloe and I finished our trip to Paris with tea and macarons at Ladurée. After all, no trip to Paris is complete without a little bit of Marie Antoinette and a few lovely patisseries! We made sure to take plenty home...

Met Opera Internship Diary Part 5 - Costume Bibles, 'Maria Stuarda', John Macfarlane

When I was researching the Metropolitan Opera's vast repertory I was so happy to come across productions designed by John Macfarlane. His designs, attention to detail and beautiful costume drawings/illustrations are so inspiring to me.

In the Met Opera Costume Office, there are shelves upon shelves of bibles, for every production the Company has in store. While I was in New York and at the Lincoln Center I wanted to make the most of the opportunity to look at archives. I didn't have a chance to go to the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Archives, but the whole of the Met repertory was right above my head, literally, every day I was there. So I made a list of bibles that I wanted to look at. Top of my list was 'Maria Stuarda', designed by John Macfarlane in 2012. You should have seen how excited Ben, fellow costume intern, and I were to open this bible!!

The binder contained many photos of the production, set boxes and beautifully intricate technical drawings of costumes, with fabric swatches for each part - from panels to panes and piping to lining - alongside drawn and painted costume illustrations. These detailed working drawings are not available online, but here are some examples of illustrations from the online Met Opera Archives.


Looking through John's drawings and seeing the attention to detail really motivated me. I have put some images of his designs above my desk to keep me inspired throughout my uni projects, and to remind me to keep drawing, drawing, drawing!