I begin the creative journey poring over hundreds of photographs and written descriptions of Anna Pavlova from books, original theatre programs, descriptions of ballets, artists’ images and websites. After verification of the accuracy of information the costume design process begins I start sketching each part of a costume from various angles.
Fabrics & Embellishments
In many cases it is a guess as to what color Pavlova’s costumes actually were—color photography had not been invented yet—so a best guess has to be made. Selecting natural fiber fabrics that align with the historical context, I then pair embellishments such as beading, ribbons, fur and feathers to adorn each re-created costume.
Patterns & Construction
Using the measurements of a 16" manufactured mannequin I begin creating the paper pattern from the final costume design. Many times I use a muslin prototype that is directly fitted on the mannequin before the final fabric is cut out. The garment construction is both machine and hand sewn, and then meticulously embellished.
The final display places the completed costumed mannequin into its historical context with an archival photograph and biographical information. A custom-made wooden display base supports each mannequin.