March 29, 2012
We have had Himani, the costume designer we met in Delhi, over for a week of meetings and costume research in reverse.
It was rather bizarre to take her into the Indian shops in Whitechapel and have her take photos while I was being the guide, and I saw the richness of the RSC's resources in a new light when we toured all the craft departments in Stratford.
Whitechapel was too down-market for our world, except perhaps the cook and servants who would be more traditionally and cheaply dressed, and in the end Himani and Sabine (our costume supervisor) went to the more boutique-style shops around Wembley.
Most things were about four times as expensive as India, so it might be that we buy a lot of the base fabrics over there and get them made up in Stratford.
The best thing was sitting sharing references and discussing characters, it really feels like we are sharing the vision and agreeing how the colour scheme of the show might work. How it will develop from a naturalistic world in the first half to something more mythic in the second, with the wedding, funeral and revelation of the brides, which should complement the way the set opens up for Act 5.
We also had a chance to discuss the whole approach with Meera, who invited me over to see what she feels works in her wardrobe! We ended with a coals-to-Newcastle trip around the fabric shops on Berwick Street, full of Indian silks at vast expense – we took samples just in case, more to have an idea of our colour palette than for actual outfits.
I have to show the model to all the workshop staff on Friday, although it is still rather rough, but I know I will be able to work on the details and finishes with everybody. Might just be able to afford it.
by Tom Piper
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