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LCF23: Last Forest Spirit by Divesh Vijayanandakumar

Model wearing big quilted costume with red swirl patterns
  • Written byJ Tilley
  • Published date 20 February 2023
Model wearing big quilted costume with red swirl patterns
Last Forrest Spirit by Divesh Vijayanandakumar - MA Costume Design for Performance 2023

LCF Postgraduate Class of 2023 features work from our three world-leading design, communications and business schools to demonstrate how LCF students look beyond the traditional notions of fashion to imagine a new and exciting future. A bustling two-day exhibition was held at the infamous Truman Brewery in east London, offering a unique perspective into LCF’s postgraduate work. Visitors were immersed in the future of fashion through displays of design, film, photography, VR and more from LCF’s boundary-breaking students. To continue the celebrations, we're finding out more about work from this year's graduating cohort. We caught up with Divesh Vijayanandakumar, an MA Costume Design for Performance graduate to discuss their final major project, Last Forest Spirit.

Tell us about Last Forest Spirit – what led you to explore the connection of sculptures from ancient indigenous cultures and tribes and nature?

My love for biomorphic forms and nature was the primary motivation. I wanted to depict the connection human beings once had with nature in a more spiritual sense. My research on artefacts led me to sculptures from these civilizations which infused a lot of fluid lines, organic shapes, and curvilinear structures in natural materials like stone, wood and clay that once again really emphasized biophilia. I wanted to explore and expand on these shapes through experimentation and contemporizing to create a wearable artefact that could bring to live a depiction of this ancient connection.

Model in large red costume
Last Forrest Spirit by Divesh Vijayanandakumar - MA Costume Design for Performance 2023
Can you tell us about the materials and methods used to create your costume in more detail? What do the patterns represent?

Biomorphic shapes and forms were the primary goal that seemed to have a natural therapeutic property on me as well as fuel me to want to immerse myself into this aesthetic. Pigment based Bi-lateral Symmetric patterns and shapes found in nature in a number of species were explored with the concluding adoption of organic tree rings which were contemporized and realized through digital print on silk blended fabric. A combination of materials to create the structural layers like high density neoprene, interfacings, fusible were required. Symmetric hand pleated techniques were required to almost mould and sculpture the fabric to create dimensionality in organic ways which was a more intuitive trial and error process

What has this costume been created for? Theatre, film etc?

This costume was intended for predominantly for film as it makes use of editing techniques to tell a story, considerations were also made for theatre and live performance incorporating a more multimedia approach of sound, lighting and performance using costume as agency to convey the narrative


Large red costume
Last Forrest Spirit by Divesh Vijayanandakumar - MA Costume Design for Performance 2023
What are you most looking forward to about life after graduation? What would be your dream job?

I am looking forward to progressing and building on my repertoire of being contemporary artist and designer specializing in the intersection of biomorphic design, AI, technology and art to promote artistic, sustainable, therapeutic and innovative outcomes through my work. My dream job would be me being an interdisciplinary researcher, artist and professor/teacher who specializes in this niche of integrating nature and technology for ethical and scientific benefits through the agency of costume and artefact.

What would be your best words of advice for someone looking to join the MA Costume Design for Performance course?

That’s a complex question for me to answer as each person comes with their own motives, passions, sensitivity and viewpoints. A word of advice I would have liked to give a younger me would be to really understand yourself and your process as a Artist/designer, your strengths and challenges, what works for you and doesn't and to be realistic about where you feel your talent could best fit in which also fills you with meaning and fulfilment. Sometimes it can be a complex and changeable process to navigate so its better to ask yourself these questions earlier.

Last Forest Spirit by Divesh Vijayanandakumar