Designing Cinderella’s Ball Gown
Designer Julian Crouch on Creating the Perfect Outfit for a Ball
Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella is part of SF Ballet’s 2023 Repertory Season. It will be performed in Program 6, from Mar 31–Apr 8, 2023.
Designing and constructing costumes for dancers is a unique and challenging art. For Cinderella© Scenic and Costume Designer Julian Crouch, creating Cinderella’s ball gown was an exercise in restraint. “It has to move beautifully, and usually the way to do that is to take things away rather than add things,” says Crouch. “That was a new thing for me. . . . I was supported so well in that process, particularly by [Costume Supervisor] Oliver Haller. He taught me the fabric that would move properly on the human body.” Flexibility and durability are also extremely important for such a costume, so elasticated panels were added around the bodice to allow for a full range of movement by each of the ballerinas who will dance the role of Cinderella
Cinderella’s “feathered” gold ball gown was actually created by photoshopping feather patterns onto a sheer fabric. “If I would have made the dress with real feathers like on [Crouch’s original] drawing, then you would have been able to wear it once and all those feathers would have been broken,” says Haller. “And now we have this beautiful dress with photographically printed feathers that looks—from a distance, it really looks like real feathers.”
Header Image: Misa Kuranaga in Wheeldon’s Cinderella© // © Erik Tomasson
Cinderella© by Christopher Wheeldon