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Behind The Scenes at Derby Theatre: with Costume Designer, Tim Heywood

I’m so thrilled to dedicate this blog post to one of my personal favourite processes of Derby Theatre productions. Pretty much the element that can always pull a show together, that breathes life into characters’ looks; Costume. Here at Derby Theatre, we’ve had the chance to catch a glimpse of Derby Theatre’s Head of Wardrobe, Tim Heywood’s mind palace when it comes to working on the theatre’s most festive shows during the winter season.Costume Designer, Tim Heywood is responsible for the actors’ fitting yet striking ensembles you’ve seen in Derby Theatre’s Charlotte’s Web, Alice in Wonderland, Great Expectations, Gingerbread Man and many many more.With that automatically comes a process, a basic ritual that always starts with the script he’s working with. One of his favourite ways to help develop a clear idea of what he’ll be working on are patterns.

Tim’s costume work consists of designing, buying, or borrowing certain garments. However, mostly for reference, Tim likes to collect vintage patterns and compare them to today’s Victorian-style patterns as guidelines to create for his actors. Compared to today’s style of creating garments, one of the most significant differences are the seams. The seams done in the 1800s were sewn down the back for the appearance and improvement of posture. Those same seams worn today would make the actors feel uncomfortable, so Tim will then come up with alternatives.

When working on Period Shows like Great Expectations, Alice In Wonderland, Cinderella and so forth – there must be some sort of common ground between the 1800s style corset/dress and the comfort of the actors working in their costume. That’s where Tim’s innovation and technique comes in and works with what he refers to as the clues in his costumes. Besides the fact that it is a costume, he thinks about the characters themselves, from within, about their lifestyle, how they like to see things, how they like to dress, and what their look says about them from the audience’s point of view. It all comes into play and this season he’s working on the upcoming production, Peter Pan!


Here’s a behind the scenes scoop on Mr Heywood’s process towards preparing for the well-known classic!1. The File.This is perhaps the ideal bulk of the entire show, all put together into one file of which he likes to call his bible.This Peter Pan Edit contains:

  • Ideas that come to mind from director, Sarah Brigham or set designer, Neil Irish – more of a collaborative task
  • Mini Profiles of the cast members for their costumes, for reference and what could work for each of them
  • Contact details to call for measurements and alterations
  • Photocopied images for inspiration
  • The mood this production is going for; punk, theatrical vibes, the music, art form etc.
  • The characters themselves in the story and their atmosphere as well as their personal style

2. Meetings

  • Next, Tim will run through his file and lay out all the visuals of what the characters costumes could revolve around with the director until they end up with one main photograph for each character
  • He’ll then ask the director for a list of what instrument each actor plays or at least any hobbies they have, just to use as reference for the characters they’re playing – to give a more practical feel here and there

3. The Mindset

  • In this case, Peter’s story is not only being told but it’s also shown through what he’s wearing. To grab a sense of what he’s feeling and his mindset on things.
  • Once the main ideas are finalised, Tim finds his connection to the play through putting all the minor details and clues into a final design of his depiction of the costumes – kept in his portfolio/archive and works from there.

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To create anything from something you’ve interpreted from the mind is amazing, and to do that with a costume in my eyes would require a lot of patience and ease when focused. Tim Heywood takes pride in paying attention to detail in his work, very thorough. He designs these artistically exquisite illustrations and brings them yet again to life through materials that relate to his characters one way or another.Thanks to the rest of the DT Ambassador team for organising this behind the scenes walkthrough!And a very special thank you to Costume Designer, Tim Heywood for meeting with us and kindly sharing and allowing us to see, learn and document his incredible work!If you would like to book your tickets to see PETER PAN at Derby Theatre this winter, please click the link here

Once again thank you so much for stopping by The Belper :)Lots of love,e0e90955-52de-40d7-8bba-8131241c9610-1

Vivienne Westwood Personal Shoe Collection Exhibition

It was a lovely Monday morning when I was chatting with my good neighbour about our obsessions with 1940-50s fashion. Soon a conversation was brought up about our top favourite designers and Vivienne Westwood was mentioned. It was at that moment she had told me about a Vivienne Westwood Personal Shoe Collection Exhibition running at our local museum. It is known that this person had been collecting Vivienne Westwood pieces for over 15 years, (basically, since I was born…) I literally got so excited about this collection that It would be no surprise to share my experience of viewing such art.

 

Vivienne Westwood who hails from Derbyshire where I’ve been fortunate enough to live for most of my life is one of the most emblematic, British fashion designers respectively. Well, known for her punk rock movement through her designs since the late 1960s/70s.

This collection sits in Pickford’s House Museum (a middle-class home built in 1770, now a museum) in Derby at 41 Friar Gate, Derby DE1 1DA

Open from 10 am – 5 pm Tuesday to Saturday (Closed Sunday and Monday)

The exhibition is free of charge, however, you can donate any amount by choice to help sustain the museum and future exhibitions.

 

On a Thursday, last month my mother and I went to visit the museum. I must say, I found the environment exceptionally relaxing and inspiring (for my artistic self, haha) the staff there were so welcoming and overall the environment made the 10 minute trip from our home well worth it.

The shoe exhibition was being held upstairs. At the entrance, we met a nice lady presenting the collection and at first glance, suddenly I was overwhelmed by the most exquisite, detailed, valiant shoes ever! Such a shoe girl’s dream (or at least mine). I was in awe of the quality and condition the collector had kept them all in!

 

Carnaby Buckle Shoes

Towards the left side of their entrance was more of some amazing Vivienne Westwood shoes! Including the iconic blue platform-heeled Super Elevated Gillies best known for Naomi Campbell’s famous tumble when she wore them at a catwalk show in 1993. Unfortunately, due to the lighting, the camera wasn’t doing the shoes any justice so I couldn’t capture them :/ But if you do happen to be in Derby I highly recommend visiting Pickford’s House before September 2017 to see them!

 

HammerHead Shoes

Seditionary boots

This unique collection includes their signature Pirate Boots, HammerHead Shoes, The Red Patent Leather Pumps and Black Spiky Shoes by Malcolm McLaren & Vivienne Westwood.

Pirate Boots

Union Jack ball-tie Dress

 

This dress (above) is by far my favourite piece from the exhibition! The dress is actually made of silk and if you look closely, parts of the dress were dyed in earth toned colours to form a design of the Union Jack. From the curved shapes to how the dress falls is absolutely gorgeous to me.

Personally, I feel like there was no better place to showcase this collection than Pickford’s House Museum. The house is beautiful, the shoes hold character, the two just go hand in hand. The fact that this home is over 200 years old kind of feels like time travelling to me. The minute you walk in is the second you encounter a different world, a different way of living and I find it quite interesting to naturally get to reflect upon this way of life being so young in a world full of evolvement, like seeing eye to eye with history right before me. I loved it.

 

You can really tell some of the shoes were inspired not only by punk but briefly from the  18th Century all the way back to the Golden Age of Piracy. This is what I have always loved about Vivienne’s work, the way she innovates, mastered and merged her love for the medieval era with her present punk-rock approach still wows me to this day. My absolute favourite collection she’s done would have to be “Queen of Sheba” by Mr Pearl for Vivienne Westwood’s 1995 Vive La Coquette (not a lot of photos from that collection, but absolutely phenomenal nonetheless).

 

If you’re interested to view more of Vivienne Westwood’s collections, I’d take a look at her website that holds her archive. I often visit her pages not just to gush over her dresses, but to get a bit of artistic inspiration from them. I almost get Alice In Wonderland vibes from her work. Hopefully, you’ll love them as much as I do!

 

It was so awesome to experience different eras at once with shoes!

I hope this post gives you a glimpse of Vivienne Westwood Inspiration as much as it did for me.

 

Hope you all have a lovely August!

Lots of love,