Designer Anja Vang Kragh shares her fantastic designs for the groundbreaking L’Ormindo, a collaboration between the Royal Opera and Shakespeare’s Globe currently playing in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, and the inspiration behind them:
“When Kasper Holten asked me to do costumes for L´Ormindo he wanted period costumes but with a contemporary feel to them, so I just knew that this would be a wonderful project to do!
“Probably because of my background as a fashion designer (working for John Galliano, for Dior for six years and later for Stella McCartney in London), I find it most interesting when clothes have a cross-reference feel to them.
“For L´Ormindo, I have drawn from references from both the Jacobean era and the North African style of dress, as the opera takes place in Morocco. I wanted to mix the European silhouette, which is very tailored and fitted, with the freer, floating, draped style and lavish colours of the Moroccan dress. The delightful thing about L´Ormindo is that there are also timeless, fantasy characters such as Destiny, Love, Luck, Harmony and the Three Winds.
“I wanted the costumes for these characters to be quite playful and ‘childish’, and to not really draw on any specific period or place. It was more to tell a fun story about these characters such as ‘Love is literally blind’ and the Three Winds are like a highly energetic SWAT team of ninjas that invade the stage with one only wish, which is to blow out all the candles.
“It has just been the most amazing experience to design for a space that is only lit by candlelight! That is such a rare opportunity in our modern world where everything has to be bigger and brighter. The intimacy of that space is just unbelievably powerful and fabulous. It has of course been quite challenging in the process of choosing fabrics for the costumes because I was never really sure if a colour would change for the worse when seen in the candlelight or maybe totally ‘die’. We did some tests with the fabrics and the candles but many times we just had to imagine how it would look as we had limited access in the Playhouse with the candles all lit. But it was very clear to me from the beginning that everything which is iridescent and which glitters and shines really works. I have never heard myself repeat so many times, ‘Let´s put more hot stones on!’”