English National Ballet Costume Design

LCF Design Perspectives for the English National Ballet

London College of Fashion’s collaboration with English National Ballet was a fusion of the legacy of the Ballets Russes and the innovation of LCF’s students.

“This rare opportunity, bringing together three of the UK’s most important cultural organisations, has been a fantastic experience for our students. They have been able to immerse themselves in the fantasy and couture world of Diaghilev and let their imaginations and creativity take over.”

- Rob Phillips, Creative Director for the School of Fashion Design and Technology

Undergraduate womenswear, menswear and surface textiles students were challenged to embrace the decadent spirit of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and create one-off show pieces that explored the archive of the Ballet with the fresh eyes and eager attitude that LCF students are renowned for. The one-off pieces were designed to be worn by dancers from ENB, in an exclusively choreographed presentation.

As the weeks progressed, the relationship between LCF and ENB developed, as did the scope of the project. It expanded to include a wider range of subject specialisms including accessories, footwear, Illustration, as well as hair and make up. It brought the Ballet to life though various different mediums, including an original dance piece, a short film and a static exhibition.

English National Ballet encouraged the students to go behind the scenes, researching not only their rich archive of costumes, but all the elements that go into creating a magical performance from make up to lighting to set design.

The collaborative experience culminated in an evening of exclusive live performances at the Victoria and Albert museum with a multi-media showcase of the collections and work created by LCF students. The archive of the Ballets Russes, juxtaposed with the contemporary student work covering many different disciplines, made for a dramatic and memorable finale to the project.