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From page to stage; this year’s Best Costume Design Olivier nominees

Kitty Underwood

By Kitty Underwood First Published 7 April 2022, Last Updated 9 April 2022

We thought it would be great to show off the evolution of the costume design from on the page to on the stage for our four Best Costume Design nominees this year; Anything Goes, Cabaret, Frozen and Moulin Rouge! The Musical. Anyone who’s seen any of the four productions will see exactly why they’ve been nominated, but here’s a peek behind the curtain at the design process that goes in to making these shows look as fabulous as they do!

Check out our shout out to takis at the end of the article too, who has been nominated in the Outstanding Achievement in Opera for the set and costume design for the ENO’s production of HMS Pinafore.

Anything Goes

Setting sail with a boat full of rich people, performers, and a crook or two, the costumes for Anything Goes are always going to be fun. Jon Morrell created some incredible looks for all the characters, with gorgeous colours and shapes. Perfectly in keeping with the time, and yet things we’re pretty sure we want to wear! Bonus points for every sequin.

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Cabaret

The whole of Cabaret is a visual feast – from costume design to choreography to set design. They redesigned the whole of the Playhouse Theatre to become The Kit Kat Club! And that’s sort of the point of the play-within-the-play element; it’s set in a cabaret club in the 1930s, where glitz, glamour and performance reign, and in Weimar Germany, there was a huge underground celebration of those on the fringes of society and queer culture in lots of different forms.

Tom Scutt’s costumes in this production turn all of that up to 11! Strange and stark at times, they are as weird as they are beautiful right down to the tiny details, and compliment all the choreography and movement perfectly.

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Frozen

Frozen is an interesting one, because the outfits in the Disney film are so firmly cemented in our minds, and transposing that into real-life costumes for the stage comes with a certain expectation of how it’ll look!

Christopher Oram managed to keep all the iconic looks we know and love while also expanding on the details and creating even more incredible looks (Elsa in trousers? yes please) for the characters in keeping with the style imagined for them in the original animation.

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Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Moulin Rouge must have been a costume designer’s dream come true. Nothing is too lavish or outrageous for Paris’s most famous cabaret spot. The colours, the ruffles and the sheer decadence of Catherine Zuber’s design takes inspiration from the film and runs with it.

Things on stage can tend to be bigger and brighter than on the screen and in Moulin Rouge! The Musical, this translates to opulent, beautiful costumes with an incredible level of detail and design.

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Our final honourable mention for costume design is one of this year’s nominees for Outstanding Achievement in Opera, takis, who has been nominated for the set and costume design for the ENO’s production of HMS Pinafore.

Check out the sketches below of the evolution from design to actual costume!

We love how fun and playful these costumes are; taking the naval and nautical themes and running with it! In keeping with the comedic opera, it’s all big, bright and brash – much like some of the characters themselves!

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