Antonella Petraccaro

Why did you choose to study MA Costume Design for Performance?

My background is in fashion, and after my BA degree – Fashion Design at the Academy of Art and Design in Basel, Switzerland – I felt it was a natural step for me to choose a further study area in performance.

And why did you choose London College of Fashion for your MA study?

LCF had the right course description for me. I was looking for a contemporary and experimental approach to costume design.

Tell me about your experience of the course? What are your highlights?

The course unleashed a flow of creativity, which I felt I could not act out before. We had the opportunity to exhibit our costumes for the Shakespeare Weekend at the V&A in 2012, but the highlight of this course was the opportunity to have a professional final show at Sadler’s Wells’ Lilian Baylis Studio.

What are the LCF staff like?

I experienced the LCF staff as friendly and forthcoming.

What is the balance of theoretical and practical work on the course?

The beauty is that you research and establish your theoretical work through practice and because everybody works very independently it is difficult to estimate a balance, since theory and practice go hand in hand.

You designed the costumes for the English National Ballet's Choreographics 2014 'We Are Free’ performance by Fabian Reimair – what did that involve? What did it mean to you to work with The National Ballet?

Designing ‘We Are Free’ involved planning the visual concept of the piece in accordance with the choreographer’s vision and physical requirements for the dancers. The job entailed designing and making costumes for 3 female and 2 male dancers.

I was very excited to work with the choreographer on his piece and about having my designs showcased by an internationally known company. I also felt very grateful for the support I received from the costume department staff to create the costumes.

How did the opportunity to work on ‘We Are Free’ come about?

I had worked at English National Ballet before as a freelance costumier. When the choreographer was looking for someone to produce the costumes for his show I was recommended by the wardrobe staff.

How would you describe your style as a costume designer?

My costumes tend to be very graphic and abstract.

What inspires you about what you do?

I absolutely love designing and creating for the body in movement. I like the challenge and to challenge the body in movement and that is what inspires me and keeps me going.

What’s next for you? What plans do you have?

To sustain myself I work as a Costume Maker for the English National Ballet and the Royal Opera House. For the future I am planning to land more design jobs.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of studying an MA in Costume Design for Performance?

I think you need to be self-driven and independent to master this course. You need to be curious about the matter and bold to find ways to redefine what you thought costume design was. Most important is to have passion for what you do.

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