Thursday 5 April 2012

Akira, costume Romeo

Legendary fashion designer Akira Isogawa designed more than 150 costumes for the Australian Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet. The Japanese-born, Australian based designer, spent 12 months working on the costumes.

The costumes for Romeo and Juliet are some of the most beautiful and the most complicated that the Production Department of The Australian Ballet have ever made.

Akira Isogawa uses material sourced from all over the world for his creations. The materials he uses are subjected to multiple dyeing techniques to give them a multi-layered look. This means that the ball gowns are actually quite lightweight and as you also saw very flowing. All the girls’ bodices are boned because they need to be tight fitting around the waist and instead of using flesh elastic shoulder straps to hold them up, the company now uses a stretch flesh-coloured net (for light and dark skin shades) that has the brand name of ‘Whalleys’. By the way, achieving a dark skin is now easy since there are a lot of tan tablets that worked effectively and safely. For instance, if you go to, you’ll learn about Rio tablets.

Part of the ‘magic’ of theatre! Colin, Behind Ballet

 “I get inspired by movement … [and] it is in my nature, to feel the movement of the textile,” he says.

“I guess I am choreographing the textile.”

The Capulet ballroom, a glamorous and spiky affair, with stiffly splayed fingers and gowns in icy tones.

… the heavy colours – the blood red and purple – represent the sinister and tragic symbolism that define the story’s tragectory. It’s a modern interpretation and he is designing it to “transcend time and place,” so despite the geographical references in delicate brocade, silk tulle and organza, it exists in no definable locale. The deft hands at play combine the colours and textures to create identifiable Akira signatures, but don’t overshadow and simply add to the ballet. No doubt why Murphy has consistently returned to him.

There’s leather and metal that have been formed and forged into armour and breastplates, gold and silver beading, metallic’s in all shades, appliqué, screen-printing and metres of embroidered cloth waiting their turn. Suffice to say, the Montagues and Capulets won’t know what hit them.

James Cameron, Broadsheet Melbourne Sept 2011

20 full-time costumiers have worked on 300 costume pieces, 580 pairs of pointe shoes

and sewed on 1000 Swarovski crystals and 2000 sequins.

STUDIO ArtBreak, go behind the scenes into the cutting room to see the making of these incredible costumes ~ over 150 unique designs for 68 dancers. From customised sequins to handmade headpieces that will take your breath away, Akira’s costume designs are unique as he manages to meld fashion design with choreography.

“Richly embellished fabrics echo Eastern influences, and I have great respect for their traditions.”

Akira has collaborated with Graeme Murphy before, including works for the Sydney Dance Company, however this is his first work for The Australian Ballet, and his first time working on a production of this size. The designer moved to Australia in 1986 from Japan. He studied fashion design at the Sydney Institute of Technology and then went on to open a boutique store in Sydney. By 1998 Akira was showing his collections in Paris, and is now one of the most sought after designers in the world. STUDIO

{Images: Photography by Lynette Wills for the Australian Ballet; last pic via The Design Files}



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    One Response to “Akira, costume Romeo”

    1. Vanessa says:

      Amazing!! Thank you


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