The beginning of the project can be found here and on The Mended Soul but as a small recap the original design is by Jean-Baptiste Martin entitled Paysanne Galante (1722). It is a depiction of a costume from a ballet. I would also like to take the opportunity to point out that I started this project researching dance and theatre costumes of the 18th century which explains why the skirt is so short. At The Mended Soul I will be posting a more in-depth explanation but for now I will merely say that it is a nod to La Camargo who shortened her skirts so that the movement of her feet would be seen from stage.
I sought to put my dissertation and research into practice in the studio and I plotted this year in detail. My first costume was a Fancy Dress costume worn by Alexandra, Princess of Wales to the Devonshire House Ball in 1897 for the exhibition at Buckingham Palace. This costume satisfied my need for a highly decorated historical costume that could be displayed in a museum as a reproduction of an original unable to be displayed. It also related directly to my dissertation as I mentioned the House Ball in detail.
As my final piece I choose this particular design because it is the complete opposite of everything I am. I am very fond of historical costuming (I will have my BA in a month on this subject). That said I don’t normally gravitate to theatre. It’s not that I disdain this type of costume, it is simply that it’s something I have never shown interest in publicly simply because I wanted this costume to (pardon the phrase) shock and awe. Paysanne explores the transitional period from 18th century Masquerade into 19th century Fancy Dress which was the basis of my dissertation. By doing both of these costume I have not only showed that I can tie my research to practice but I can take two very different time periods and translate those into costumes that are harmonious and show a wide range of skills.
From the shocked response of my peers that I had chosen something so theatrical and different from everything I stand for I would say it worked very well. The common theme of yesterday’s commentary was a very dazed expression of 'It's so PINK … so many roses! Frills! Lyze?! It's a theatre costume!!!' It has been very hard to not contradict everyone the past year who explained that I would not be interested in something because it was so theatrical. I would say that while showing such a disinterest was very hard to maintain at times it was so throughly enjoyable due to the various expressions of utter disbelief present in the faces of those who know me.
This costume has been a work of utter adoration. I feel that I have poured my soul out in ways that I have never done before. Everything that I am, everything that I have worked for the past three years to become has accumulated in this costume. I feel that with each stitch I attached a tiny piece of my psyche and that I have transferred my being onto the fabric.
This costume represents who I am, The Ornamented Being. I am experiencing an illogical sense of nervousness, calm, and bravery in the face of worry of the unknown. I have hopes for tomorrow’s outcome. I am confident in myself but I am still scared. My exam is tomorrow and I only ask that you please think kindly of me as I prepare for the future.
I promise after tomorrow I will return to you with a renewed sense of vigour and excitement.