Elizabeth Ruth Jarvis

Elizabeth Ruth Jarvis
Elizabeth Ruth Jarvis

Elizabeth Ruth Jarvis

COURSE: Fashion 2018

Pathway: Design for Performance 2018


Eternal Dichotomy

Final Major Project

BA(Hons) Design for Performance Level Six

For my Final Major Project I wanted to explore female sexuality. Inspired by the novel 'Lady Chatterley's Lover', I planned to portray the two opposing sides of the central character. When she is with her husband, Constance Chatterley is unhappy and repressed, but with her lover she experiences joy and sexual freedom.

The novel is a classic story of an unhappy woman who seeks solace in the arms of a lover. Although the original story is set in the 1920s, the theme could be applied to any era or context so for the purposes of my project I changed the setting from a country estate to a space colony. The 1920s was exchanged for an indeterminate date in the distant future.

For the Space costume I wanted to suggest restriction and found inspiration in garments worn in space. Astronauts have limited movement whilst wearing their rather claustrophobic suits, and this provided a good metaphor for the situation that Constance found herself in. For the Lovers costume, I was inspired by a passage in the book. The feelings of euphoria whilst Constance has sex with her lover are described in terms of the movement of the ocean. I researched the fluid movements of sea creatures to inform my design decisions and created a costume that is the total opposite of the rigid Space costume.

For this project I collaborated with Pamela Mann, a company that specialises in hosiery and leggings. My brief was to create final costumes that would showcase their products in advertising photography.

I particularly enjoy script interpretation and using the written word to build up a profile of a character. Analysis of words, phrases and descriptions allows me to visualise the person and design a costume that fits their personality. There were scant references to the clothing worn by the characters in 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' so I was free to use my imagination and create costumes that fitted the personality of Constance.

All photography by Andrea Harris.
Elizabeth Ruth Jarvis