Friday, 4 March 2011

Ballet Russes...Canberra Style.

Over the summer break I decided to take a day trip with my Mum, (who needed some convincing), to Canberra to see the Ballet Russes exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia. I had previously taken an interest to the Russian lifestyle so I thought this may further inform my design inspiration...Or at least I was hoping it would as I wanted to make the three and a half hour car trip down there (and back)worth it.

And it was.

The gallery exhibited costumes from the Ballet Russes that were designed by a collaboration of musicians, artists, dancers and fashion designers in order to make these stories and musicals come to life. Initially I was stunned at how small people were at the turn of the century...but then I was quickly distracted by the amazing silhouettes in the costumes... over-exaggerated sleeves, shoulders and detailing. In addition to this, the use of colour was outstanding, (keep in mind these costumes would have faded over the years as well). As these garments were designed for stage - everything had to be more exaggerated, bigger and bolder. The interpretations of people within social classes during these periods was very informative, and sometimes humorous, not to mention the attention to detail and fabrication... velvets, leathers, beads, silks, furs.

I bought the book.. and because I couldn't help myself I bought a book on Tsars throughout the Imperial Court.

This was truly inspiring, and well worth the trip! Not to mention I had a fabulous lunch on the water - I'll definitely be going back there!

Le Pavillon d'Armide, Madame Thamar Karsavina & Aldolph Bolm, 1909

Cloak from a costume for a harpist: Cotton, wood, paint and metallic thread. 1909
Images from the Ballet Russes website Gallery:

Journal work and visual inspiration.

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