Newsletter

Next season I will start back in Brussels, with Richard Strauss’s Daphne opening the season at La Monnaie,  and reconnecting with director by Guy Joosten and set designer Alfons Flores. After that I’ll be working with Wayne McGregor in London, bringing Outlier from New York City Ballet to Sadler’s Wells as part of the Thomas Adès evening, as well as his first full length piece Woolf Works for the Royal Ballet. In December I’m returning with Ludger Engels to Theater Aachen for the German première of Brokeback Mountain,the opera by Charles Wuorinen. Spring 2015 will be dedicated to my Met debut back in New York with David McVicar’s Cavalleria andPagliacci.

POSTEDAugust 15th 2014
Category Newsletter
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Adapting Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for Zürich Ballet

Kairos is Wayne McGregor’s new work for Zürich Ballet, set to Max Richter’s Vivaldi Recomposed, with set designs by Idris Khan, premiered at Zürich Opera House on 24 April 2014.

I thoroughly enjoyed designing the costumes for this piece and being with this vibrant company for the first time.  My aim was to design something hyper modern and clean, but also creating theatrical impact to stand up to this bold piece.

We outsourced the costumes to one of my favourite work shops in Paris - Atelier Mine Verges Barral - who did an amazing job with multi layered Lycra nets. But the biggest joy was being able to meet and work again with both Peter Friederich and Martin Leuthold from Jakob Schlaepfer and their unique couture fabrics. As shown in the picture above, we made this reflective and light sensitive fabric part of the main costume piece.

We have been collaborating since my Westwood days and I have great respect for their craftsmanship and creativity, which has influenced so many couture collections over decades:

http://www.jakob-schlaepfer.ch

POSTEDAugust 14th 2014
Category Ballet
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Collaborating with Das Gewand for The Bolshoi and The Metropolitan Opera New York

This was my very unexpected contribution to the Verdi year. I got the call from Adrian Nobel and Tobias Hoheisel really late in 2013 and we had under 6 months to complete about 450 costumes between Moscow, London and Düsseldorf. I had great support from the in house  team at the Bolshoi, with Elaine Garlick supervising and coordinating this massive and time sensitive operation.

A real surprise - and massive help - was the Bolshoi agreeing to build the principal costumes for us with Angelika Nowotny and DasGewand in Düsseldorf. I know Angelika since assisting Jorge Jara in the late 1990s, and her superb costume making has made her atelier one of the leading independent international costume houses today: http://www.dasgewand.com

And we are now working on Pagliacci for the Met, which will open next season on their main stage, as well as being transmitted in cinemas world wide.

I have to say - despite all the cultural and political turbulence - Don Carlos at the Bolshoi was a great experience I would not want to have missed.

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Category Opera
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Costume Design For London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony

Designing the costumes for the Paralympics Opening Ceremony truly was something unique in my career to date, in terms not only of the challenging logistics but also of what it represented. The experience was intense and full of extraordinary moments, and it has taken some time fully to digest and reflect on it. On nights like that of 29th August 2012 when we were all working hard on the event itself it was very hard to take everything in, and I only realised after reading Stephen Hawking’s quote about his experience that night what an amazing moment we all have been part of and how moved I was being there, supporting him and millions of other people with disabilities proving that there are no boundaries.
About 3500 performers performed live to 80,000 people in the stadium and to 11 million on television world wide. The inspirational cast including Nickie Wildin, who played the protagonist, and the astonishing dancer David Toole. Other headline talent included Beverley Knight, Birdy, opera singers Denise Leigh and Elin Manahan Thomas, and Sir Ian McKellen.
We had just six months for the costumes from start to finish, and completion to such a tight schedule was only possible because we worked so closely in such a great team, including Jon Bausor, Bradley Hemmings, Jenny Sealey, and Alison Forbes Meyler. The most ambitious section involved the choir, with their Oscar Schlemmer inspired shoulder pieces, for which we collaborated with STI-LINE and Vanessa Bastyan: they prototyped and eventually manufactured 600 of these, with a harness specially devised to keep them in position – not an easy task! A small East End company manufactured the flag bearer dresses, and John Cowell painted each country’s flag onto the skirts. I also worked with Ivo Coveney and Phil Reynolds, who made all the aerialists’ headpieces and costumes. Nicola Killeen dyed virtually everything made. We all laughed a lot during this epic job – I think we had to!
As a final note, I’m delighted to say that some of the pieces have been donated to the Museum of London and are on display now; for more information please visit www.museumoflondon.org.uk.
POSTEDOctober 22nd 2013
Category Newsletter
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Newsletter

The season is in full flow. Firstly, Wayne McGregor’s Infra opened at the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago in February, the first time this production has been received by another company. It features Julian Opie’s amazing LED sets and figures.
Then at the end of May, Chroma – the first piece Wayne and I worked on together –  will open at the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen. The most successful of our collaborations to date, this production has already travelled to The National Ballet of Canada, San Francisco Ballet and the Bolshoi.
David McVicar’s Aida, a co-production between the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia Valencia and Den Norske in Oslo, also opened in Norway at the end of April. Den Norske was the last stop, where a run of 11 performances will culminate on June 16.
In Germany, I designed the costumes for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Theatre Aachen in March, directed by Ludger Engels. This is the second Tennessee Williams play we have worked on together; we opened A Streetcar Named Desire at the same theatre in 2006.
The two big projects I’m designing at the moment are Les Troyens (Trojans) at the Royal Opera House and the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Paralympics.
Les Troyens opens 24th June and is another David McVicar production with sets by Es Devlin, so I am on deadline with rehearsals well underway. With a cast of 120, and around 450 costumes, the sheer scale of it is overwhelming and it will be one of the highlights of the London 2012 Festival! Les Troyens will also be in cinemas worldwide in November this year (http://cinema.roh.org.uk/).
The Paralympics opening ceremony, meanwhile, is directed by Jenny Sealy (of the Graeae Theatre Company) and Bradley Hemmings (Greenwich and Docklands International Festival). With another mega cast of 3000 people, it’s hugely exciting to be part of one of the biggest shows on earth, which will be broadcast live across the globe on August 29. The set is by Jon Bousor – who won the Linbury prize the same year I did. It’s great to meet again on such a prestigious project and we are having a great time designing together on this.
Finally, my new website by No Days Off (www.nodaysoff.com) is now up and running. Acting as an online photographic archive of my work, they have done a brilliant job – thank you!
POSTEDMay 21st 2012
Category Newsletter
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The Making Of “35 Years Circus Roncalli”

Getting the call from Thomas Schütte, then MD of the Circus Roncalli, and subsequently being invited to meet the company’s legendary creative powerhouse Bernhard Paul, was a dream come true. Literally. Following a fateful meeting at the 35th Monte Carlo International Circus Festival at the beginning of 2011, they wanted to know if I was interested in designing some costumes for this year’s 35th anniversary show.
Thomas knew my work, had posted my Lavazza campaign on his wall, he said, because it embodied his vision for the circus. For my part, I had wanted a piece of Roncalli since I first experienced the fantastically artistic and creative production as a child. This, surely, was destiny at play.
I chose to work with two of the top London costume houses, Amanda Barrow and Parkinson Gill, as well as the classic circus costume makers of Paris – people like Caroline Valentin, who is famous for her painstakingly hand-embroidered pieces, and Maison Clairvoy, who does all the shoes for the Lido and the Moulin Rouge, as well as performers like Kylie Minogue and Cher. Not to mention Maryse Roussel, “the Godmother of showgirl headdresses”! These incredible makers are embedded in the circus and music hall tradition, and it was important to me to carry this on.
Creating brand new costumes for outlandish performers like Vivi Paul, the Azzario Sisters, Andrey Romanovsky, Clio Togni and Fabricio Nogueira, was so much fun, and overall it’s been a hugely successful collaboration. Vive le cirque!
POSTEDNovember 20th 2011
Category Circus
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Live Fire Exercise The Royal Ballet London

Live Fire Exercise The Royal Ballet London. Choreographed by Wayne McGregor, set design by John Gerrard, costume design Moritz Junge, lighting design Lucy Carter.

POSTEDJune 21st 2011
Category Ballet
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Król Roger Staatstheater Mainz

Karol Szymanowski’s opera received its world premiere on 19 June 1926, and was born from Szymanowski’s passion for depicting Mediterranean culture as a melting pot of different religions and philosophies.
The central themes of personal and political conflict, and the clashes when different religions co-exist together, brought up a lot of imagery of the human race in daily turmoil for me – from images in the news, to references from art history and religious iconography.
Without being too obvious, I tried to bring this through in the costumes. If you study the individuals in the everyday crowd scenes, you will notice subtle references to different individual religious statements. I tried to create a chorus of archetypes which build the backdrop to the opera’s apocalyptic climax. Musically this one of my favorite operas, and so the rehearsals have been an absolute delight.
POSTEDMarch 7th 2011
Category Opera
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F . A . R Wayne McGregor Random Dance

F.A.R Random Dance London 2010. Choreographed by Wayne McGregor, set design by Random International, costume design by Moritz Junge, lighting design by Lucy Carter. Production images Ravi Deepres.

TOUR DATES

FAR (premiere), Sadler’s Wells London, 17, 18, 19, 20 Nov 2010
FAR, Festspielhaus St PoltenSt. Polten, 19 Feb 2011
FAR, Maison de la Danse Lyon, 23, 24, 25 Feb 2011
FAR, Laban Theatre London, 9, 10 March 2011
FAR, Maison des Arts de Creteil Creteil, 14, 15 March 2011
FAR, Snape Maltings Aldeburgh, 18, 19 March 2011
FAR, Lawrence Batley Theatre Huddersfield, 22 March 2011
FAR, Reggio Emilia Reggio Emilia, 26 March 2011
FAR, Teatro Sociale Trento, 29 March 2011
FAR, Teatro Ponchielli Cremona, 2 April, 2011
FAR, Theatre de l’OndeVelizy-Villacoublay, 8 April 2011
FAR, Maison de la Culture d’Amiens Amiens, 11 April 2011
FAR, Madlenianum Opera & Theatre Belgrade, 16 April 2011
FAR, Serbian National Theatre Novi Sad, 18 April 2011
FAR, Trafo Budapest, 21, 22 April 2011
FAR, Teatro Verdi Padova, 12 May 2011
FAR, Teatro Chiasso Chiasso, 14 May 2011
FAR, Theatre Royal Winchester Winchester, 18, 19 May 2011
FAR, Auditorium Conciliazione Rome, 1 June 2011
FAR, Theater Bonn, 8 June 2011
FAR, Hall for Cornwall Truro, 21 June 2011
FAR (excerpt), Turner Gallery Margate, 26 August 2011
FAR (excerpt), Britten Theatre London, 11 September, 2011
FAR, Brighton Dome Brighton, 26 September 2011
FAR, Edinburgh Festival Theatre Edinburgh, 4, 5 October 2011
FAR, Belfast Festival Belfast, 14, 15 October 2011
FAR, Montclair State University Montclair (USA) 27, 28, 29, 30 October 2011
FAR, Theatre National de Bretagne Rennes, 17, 18, 19 November 2011
FAR, Madrid Dance Festival Madrid, 24, 25, 26 November 2011
FAR, The Spa Bridlington, 30 January 2012
FAR, University Musical Society Ann Arbour (USA) 18 February 2012
FAR, Duke Performances Durham (USA) 24 & 25 February 2012
FAR, Het Muziektheater Amsterdam, 8, 11 March 2012
FAR, Sadler’s Wells London, 19, 20 March, 2012
FAR, Warande Turnhout, 19 April 2012
FAR, Theatre de la Place Cultuurcentrum, Hasselt, 21 April 2012
FAR, Palais des Arts et des Congres Vannes, 24 April 2012
FAR, Theatre de Cornouaille Quimper, 27 April 2012
FAR, Bregenz Bregenz, 6 May 2012
FAR, Teatro Central de Sevilla Seville, 11, 12 May 2012
FAR, Oslo Opera House Oslo, 21, 22, 23, 24 May  2012

POSTEDFebruary 5th 2011
Category Dance
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Adriana Lecouvreur Theater Freiburg

I used two references from completely different centuries for the inspiration for this production – John Cassavetes movie “Opening Night” as well as the Watteau painting “Les Comédiens italiens” – which examine the world of the theatre both on and off-stage. This led to some interesting results – for example, an 18th century crinoline, made from a Royal Mail post bag.
It was the third time I have worked with this team – Catalan director Joan Anton Rechi and set designer Alfons Flores – and the production was staged at the Theatre Freiburg in Germany, where I did my original tailoring apprenticeship. Many of the same people are still there in the workshops, and remembered me from when I first worked here in 1992. It was a lovely experience, a bit like travelling back in time to see old friends.
POSTEDDecember 21st 2010
Category Opera
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