Monday, 25 November 2013

18th Century Menswear Costume - Danceny, "Les Liaisons Dangereuses"

Today was the hand-in of our first project of second year Costume for Performance at London College of Fashion - we have spent the last couple of months working from the text "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" (1782) by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos and realising one male character. I chose to make Danceny's costume, for a ballet production. 

My concept drew upon the steady moral decay that drives the narrative - as the integrity of society disintegrates so does the costume, revealing excess, extravagance and debauchery beneath. Danceny, a young Chevalier, starts the story as a sweet music tutor in love with the innocent Cecile. He is coached by the scheming Vicomte de Valmont, who corrupts him into a selfish and proud person with destructive consequences. This costume would be for Act I (of III), Scene iii - the beginning of the relationship with Valmont and the licentious pre-Revolution French aristocracy.

Underneath the coat is a waistcoat that looks relatively plain from the front, but portrays the lavish nature of 1770s French aristocracy at the back. It was inspired by my visit to see ballet costumes from the Birmingham Royal Ballet's 'Sleeping Beauty' and seeing the use of layered nets, lace and glittering fabrics to wonderful effect on stage. 

I cannot believe that I managed to make a full man's costume in about 4 weeks of making time - a shirt, breeches, waistcoat and coat. A year ago, I would never have thought that possible! I am so happy with the results. Of course, there are many things I would do differently next time, but for now I'm just going to appreciate what I have achieved today! A big big THANK YOU!!! to my wonderful brother for being my model, putting up with my surprise 11pm "YOU NEED TO TRY THIS ON RIGHT NOW!!!"s and "HURRY UP AND STRIKE A BALLET POSE!!!". I am so grateful for your patience and help.

I will share some of my design work as soon as I get my portfolio back. Expect plenty more blog posts now that I am not absolutely snowed under at uni!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Costumes for "Jewels" by the Royal Ballet

We are getting very close to the hand-in of our 18th Century Menswear and "Dangerous Liaisons" project for the first term of this year at LCF, so I apologise for not posting for two weeks! I have barely had a minute to sit down with my laptop, let alone write anything of substance... on top of school work I was working on costumes for the Sir John Soanes Museum with Sanya (see her blog here) and as a wardrobe assistant for "Grease" by Green Room Productions. At London College of Fashion we have also been preparing for our placements next term, and I am so excited to say that I will be going to New York for five weeks, to spend some time at the Metropolitan Opera! I have also been planning with the Much Hadham Forge Museum and I will soon start making the Tudor man's costume to go with the woman's costume I finished in the summer, inspired by original 16th century wall-paintings at the museum... clearly I won't be getting bored any time soon!

After these next two weeks at LCF, I will be filling my Christmas break with exhibitions - there are so many fantastic ones just opened! At the RA, V&A, National Galleries... I have also booked to see Matthew Bourne's "Swan Lake" at Sadler's Wells at the beginning of December, and "Jewels" at the Royal Opera House at the end of this year.

I have wanted to see "Jewels" for a long time, so I am really looking forward to it. It is the perfect New Year's ballet, with its beautifully opulent, shining costumes. Here is a peak at the three jewel variations:


"Jewels" is being staged at the Royal Opera House throughout December and into January - more info here.

I look forward to sharing everything from my projects from last week, as well as my upcoming adventures. For now, I have at 18th century man's coat to finish...