It is very exciting building a new ballet.  Even more if it is a full length ballet and a well known classic.  We call it building because the costumes are made from renderings.  There are no patterns or instructions, we come up with that ourselves.  Every detail has to be worked out so that it looks beautiful, dances well, fits well and is easy to maintain.  Whether it is the first performance or the last it should still look new and perfect.

Peter Farmer, a world famous costume and set designer and also my good friend was chosen by Terrence Orr our Artistic Director to design our new GISELLE.  I had heard of Peter years before I had met him.  He designed THE GREAT GATSBY for us in 1987, our NUTCRACKER in 1990, BALLET IMPERIAL and SWAN LAKE costumes.  Incredible artist and great fun to work with.


Peter Farmer and I in 1994 working on SWAN LAKE

After two trips to England to meet with Peter and working on the costumes for two months, this is where we stand:

The 625 yards for the Wili romantic tutus has been cut and 25 skirts are now ready to be fit and finished. Each tutu is four layers, five panels per layer. We choose a very soft tulle for the tutus, it floats like a dream and looks great after multiple washes.  It will take a couple more hours to finish the closures and trim them to the right length right below the calf.  All the Wili bodices have been cut and are ready to be fit. They are silk with a bit of lycra, piped in a shiny satin.  Each bodice will take about three days to complete.  We started with the Wilis because we needed 25 of them.


25 “Wili” romantic tutus – Can you find the one that has been trimmed?

Next on the table were the Friends of Giselle.  There are six plus one extra for sizing purposes.  They are a pale yellow silk with a cream blouse and a silk organza over skirt.  The underskirt is made of the same tulle as the Wili’s just tinted three different colors. They are all cut and partially constructed.  Each bodice is piped in a different color.


“Friend” costume with Peter’s rendering in the background.

It is exciting to get a costume from a group worked out, then you just have to make the rest.  We made the skirts detachable so that we can fit them easier, the blouses also detach so they can be laundered and the flowers snap on and off the blouses so they don’t get wilted from washing.  Details, details, details.


Stay tuned for more updates on the progress of our building of GISELLE!