The fantastic costumes for “Down the Rabbit Hole” were designed by Emma Belli and created by second-year students from Nottingham Trent University [NTU].
I am over the moon with the quality of their work. The costumes are inventive, detailed and characterful. For example, there are Crocheted scales on the crocodile neckpiece and teeth sewn onto the gloves. I particularly love the flamboyant Mad Hatter costume which always gets a roar of laughter from the children when George makes his transformation.
The students highlighted in bold will use this work as part of their professional placement.
I was thrilled that we could organise this collaboration, as I had worked with some of these students before on a project called “Alice re-imagined” in collaboration with NTU and Newstead Abbey. If you’d like to revisit the memory, here are links to the blog posts: Link 1 Link 2
Grace Curran made the Queen of Hearts costume with assistance from Holly Lowe.
Evie Skinner made the costumes of Margaret (Alice’s sister) and the white rabbit.
Holly Lowe made the costumes for the Caterpillar and the crocodile.
Issi Roberts made the costumes for Alice and the Mad Hatter.
Amelie Bradshaw made the ears, can and collars.
They have truly lifted the production to a colourful and magical level – perfect for a Wonderland setting.
Yesterday, I caught up with Emma and asked her to share a few insights about her designing process and the challenges of this costume brief. She said:
“The approach to the costume design was to add fun and colour to the storytelling without adding any technical or practical complications to the production. The storybook style is a nod to the traditional and familiar Alice ‘world’ but is playful, using contemporary solutions and clear ‘pictures’. Practically, I thought about the young viewers, close-level audience situations and the inclusivity of the additional BSL content. Without the availability of wardrobe support, these costumes just needed to work – limited fitting, easy care, quick change, and to be able to go straight into production.
The costume designer, though primarily concerned with ‘look’ and storytelling, can also support the flow of a production through the consideration of ease of use and movement, for example. You can also add humour through costume, designing in jokes and moments. There’s also some opportunity for transforming costumes in this story. The designs also needed to be achievable in a tight time frame, being constructed by students who are still learning their trade. They practised many skills, including; pattern cutting, costume prop making, applied decoration, fabric painting, garment adaptation, logistical aspects, and budgeting. We talked about: “…not designing in problems.” This was a good challenge for them and a lovely, compact project for me to design.”