Tweed & Taffeta: Romeo + Juliet
Tweed & Taffeta is a series from Laura Murray Public Relations that explores costuming in celebrated performances – the varying interpretations from one production to the next and the subtle yet sweeping influence of wardrobe on a show’s overall texture.
“Designing costumes is story telling in the same way that a writer or a director tells a story. Our work goes directly to bringing forth the personality that is written on the page. As costume designers we get under a character’s skin the way an actor does.”
– Jeffrey Kurland, Costume Designer
When speaking of classic love stories, it’s impossible to disregard Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Told time and time again, this cherished tale of star-crossed lovers has become an iconic narrative on stage, on film, and at the ballet. A romance we know by heart, storytellers must take extra care to understand how wardrobe choices will affect their interpretation of this timeless tragedy.
Film adaptations of Romeo & Juliet have experimented with costuming and manipulated the era in which the story takes place to offer a fresh angle. With the up-close-and-personal nature of film, extra care must be given to the details – fabrics, beading, even the threading must be handled with care.
From left to right: Romeo and Juliet (1968); William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996); Romeo and Juliet (2013).
The ballet world has also embraced this classic love story. First composed by Sergei Prokofiev in 1935, Romeo & Juliet is now included in the repertoire of companies across the globe. For dancers the costuming must allow for unencumbered movement, therefore Juliet is often garbed in a long, romantic chiffon gown.
From left to right: San Francisco Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, English National Ballet.
Theatrical versions of Romeo & Juliet have seen many unique and original costuming adaptations. Popular even in Shakespeare’s day, this play has been seen on stage thousands of times, allowing theatre creators to draw inspiration from stage performances past.
From left to right: Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford Festival, 2013 Broadway staging.
On January 30, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet will bring this beloved narrative to Vancouver, leaving audiences breathless with it’s sweeping, romantic beauty. The costumes promise to be nothing short of spectacular, several of which you may have already seen in select locations across the city.