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Acclaimed Costume Designer Transports us to Gilead

Costume designs from The Handmaid's Talel


Self-taught, 25-year veteran fashion designer, Liz Vandal makes her debut with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet this fall when her costumes will be featured in the world premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the novel by Margaret Atwood. An exquisite artist, Vandal’s work is in high demand and has been featured in numerous Cirque du Soleil performances as well as with companies such as Marie Chouinard, LaLaLa Human Steps, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, The Washington Ballet, and l’Opéra de Paris.


Vandal’s process places extreme attentiveness on the dancers first in terms of designing for comfort, ease of movement, and to beautifully showcase form. In addition, she works closely with the choreographer to ensure her costumes align with their vision for the overall work.


The Handmaid’s Tale costumes feature bold reds and several unusual fabrics including plastazote, which is extremely lightweight, malleable, and can be painted, dyed, glued, and placed on vac-u-form (molded plastic). The fabric was dyed at Cirque du Soleil in Montréal where they have facilities available to dye 34-50 meters of fabric at one time.


One particular challenge faced by Vandal in the creation of some of The Handmaid’s Tale costumes was the need for conservative pieces with higher necklines. Not wanting to cover the dancers’ lines and restrict movement, Vandal removed panels of fabric from the sides of the costumes to showcase form and movement.


To see Vandal’s exquisite creations in motion, don’t miss The Handmaid’s Tale, choreographed by New York based choreographer Lila York, October 16 to 20, 2013 at the Centennial Concert Hall. Tickets from just $27!

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September 2013

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