Specialists in unique and bespoke theatrical costume and set design.
Mr Hatter is yellow skinned due to the over use of Hat stiffener which in Victorian times contained mercury and was absorbed into the milliners skin and slowly poisoned them turning the craftsmen ‘mad’. He has a Venetian style mask within his hat design to indicate one of his many personalities. His extra high ‘creeper’ shoes give him the illusion of being one of the tallest creatures in Wonderland.
His printed fabrics reflect the idea of ‘the Tea Party’ and combine photographic elements of Art Deco original cake stands with the ‘tools’ of the Trade arranged as it they were the cakes on the table.
Using the stark lithographic techniques as a ‘homage’ to Andy Warhol’s iconic Electric Chair and famous people portrait prints, we have included images of hat styles modeled by unique individuals in a polaroid frame to create a bizarre catalogue fit for a ‘Hatter in Wonderland’. The hand stitching on his costume is echoed throughout the ‘theme’ of Wonderland to give it a feeling that he has ‘mended’ his world which is cracked and broken due to the result of the Queen of Hearts violent temper shaking the ground beneath her.
To reflect the timid, sleepy character we based the costume around mid Victorian smoking or dressing gown style Jackets worn within the safety of the home. By mixing the luxury of the shape with a print inspired by one of the major obsessions of the time Taxidermy and creating collections of everything natural we produced a print depicting the idea of ‘butterfly collecting’ and combined it with a traditional mens pyjamas stripe.
Depicting her as a blue creature gives an extra feel of ‘not of this world’ which helps to set her apart from the norm. She also wears wonderland ‘creepers’.
An exploding full pack of cards was the starting point for this characters print. We wanted him to be a ‘softer’ partner to the Queen. By elongating his body we created a silhouette which paid a nod to his alter ego the Mad March Hare (a visit to the show will explain this) combined with the ‘Wonderland cut’ of his jacket. Together these enabled us to play with the ‘angle’ of cards being positioned within the confines of a ‘royal’ stripe.
Once again we added an exaggerated court room Judges wig to emphasis the feeling of nonsense.
Our Queen of Hearts is a character who reflects a 21st century obsession with consumer goods with this in mind we have paid homage to Lulu Guinness and put a Fox and Shriek slant on it.
This year the character is played by an internationally renowned opera singer so we have made reference to this by the use of the wording ‘The Great Caruso’ and simplified music notation.
We loved the idea of the Queen being on a version of a stamp for everyday correspondence in wonderland. As part of the celebration of both the Customs House and the anniversary of the published book we franked the stamp and dated it appropriately. This theme is also taken into the Card costumes which feature postcards sent from various characters living in wonderland to individuals in the ‘real’ world as their backs.
To give the Queen a sense of the ridiculous we crowned her with an over the top Marcel waved structured Wig this gives her the stage presence worthy of an Operatic Diva.
The print created for Alice evolved from the idea of roses climbing a garden fence then drawn to give a simplified William Morris feel to evoke an Arts and Craft feel which was growing in popularity at the time the book was written.
The use of traditional script calligraphy is a reminder of the skill of writing that is no longer in use in today’s society but was essential to a Victorian way of life.
By not giving her a ‘solid’ fabric base for her skirt she has a more ‘floating’ silhouette.
Yellow legs just a nod to the ‘mercury’…
The Hare has a defined ‘country’ feel to his fabrics with a nod to a highland heritage. The use of disjointed tartan and tweed effects linked with a colour clash palette helps to create a character who is both eccentric and approachable. By using exaggerated fishing flies as inspiration for his under garments we have captured the feel of ‘pastimes’ of life in the country.
Once again we have styled this character with two tone ‘creepers’ to give a sense of fun and ‘wonderland ‘ identity. The overall look is that of a country squire…the very type that would in the real world shoot a wild hare.
To give the emphasis of a ‘late’ character it was important to give a lot of movement to the way the costume performs. With this in mind we created a shape we named the ‘wonderland cut’ which travels with the actor and is alive within the working space. We have used this shape for several of the characters as it adds a sense of luxury to the costume, this may be due to the fact it takes over 6 metres of fabric to realise the cut.
It was important to us that this character had a true sense of style and eccentricity to enhance this a print was developed from a traditional Willow pattern image into a fabric which shows signs of wear in its ‘crackled glazing’ and gives a nod to the crockery traditionally used within a Tea Party.
To add to the image a pair of white Dr Marten boots help bend the rules.
The basis for this character was that she is the cook in the pantomime with this in mind we created costumes that reflected a feel of the ‘domestic goddess’. We played with notion that her costumes would fit into the Wonderland world and take elements from the set and visa versa to give her a larger than life personality to meet the role of the Dame.
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The Gallery is a selection of garments, prints and set featured in the show
(Craig Leng Photography)
(Fox and Shriek)