A Menswear Capsule Collection Inspired by Traditional Tailoring Techniques with A Contemporary Design Approach.
The King's Huntsman is a characterization of traditional menswear tailoring but with a contemporary design twist. From September 2019 to May 2020, this collaborative project, with Karlus G, Tailor and Nedge Farm Riding Centre, was influenced by 19th Century tailoring. Specifically looking into the bespoke uniforms of equestrian riders. Research consisted of library books, documentaries and visits to Nedge Farm Riding Centre before being developed further throughout the design phases.
My portfolio is a representation of the whole process, including conceptual research, design development, final capsule collection line up and a visualisation of the final photoshoot of my final major project at Birmingham City University. This is the story of The King's Huntsman 2020 by Emma Lauren Heywood.
This project started with my interest in the book Alice in wonderland, with so many adaptations of the book already, I wanted to create my own. With two collaborations one with BCU's Exhibition technician and another with an illustration student focusing on stop motion my project developed into more than just two garments but the opportunity to create an immersive exhibition space through my garments and a stop motion animation allowing me to tell my version of Alice's adventures.
I started my research with 18th-century french fashion which gradually developed into researching into modern high-end fashion designers that had designs influenced by historical silhouettes, doing this allowed me to have more freedom with my designs and not be held back by historical standards. I focused on making my garments bespoke and to a high standard, instead of focusing on textiles and other aspects, this allowed me to further my skills in pattern cutting/sewing a place i felt i had the weakest knowledge of.
In this project I explored developing a collection of transformable bridal garments, allowing the wearer to not only have a bridal outfit but garments that they can rewear for other events, therefore providing a sustainable option to the traditional wedding dress.
Humans avarice will repeatedly end in death, suffering and destruction if we don't change our ways.
A Project in 3 Acts
Based on the poem "Dido, Aeneas and the Plague of us"(Alexa Moore, 2020), this project tells the story of the jealous, greedy sorceress from the opera Dido and Aeneas (Henry Purcell, 1680) and how she plans to destroy the royal love between Queen Dido of Carthage and the Trojan Prince. Her plan turns sour when one of her witch accomplices is deceitful and tells the royals of the evil ploy. The sorceress is banished to an immortal solitary life in nothingness for all eternity, that is until tragedy strikes the earth. When human beings act out avarice that causes repercussions for their actions, a virus will sweep across the land, causing death, suffering, and destruction. Only then, will she be able to enter the human world, dressed in a bird-like form.
Fast forward to the year 2019, and the sorceress has started waking, as human consumption, greed, and behavior has led to a pandemic. The world has moved on since ancient times, and medicine is more advanced. The bird masked form in which she takes is more of a fascination, novelty, and romance. The plague Doctor appearance is no longer feared, although still a symbol of people dying, she still appears through art, song, and dance, though her presence isn’t jarring.
This whole project started with wanting to design the costumes for the entire cast for Dido and Aeneas Opera. I designed the principle characters, chorus, and dancers' costumes. The aim was to make the principal costumes, work with a photographer and models to have them photographed and then curate an exhibition in London to exhibit the costumes, photographs and also have live opera singers perform songs from the Opera.
Due to the global covid-19 pandemic, my project ground and I had to work quickly to adapt the project into something relevant, achievable, and interesting. I had already started making the witch and the sorceress's costumes so I used these and altered the designs to be plague doctor costumes.
From that point the project grew and more collaboration partners were drawn to the project and the new Plague doctor costume was used in a music video for the Wuhan Bats cover of a Poison Idea song titled Plastic Bomb. The witch costume was also completed, and then posted to modeled remotely by Daisy Blair.
To tie in the entire project together I wrote a poem called "Dido, Aeneas and the Plague of Us" and animated it. The poem has lyrics sung by the sorceress in the Dido and Aeneas opera as well as lyrics from "Poison Idea - Plastic Bomb". The original costume designs for Dido and Aeneas were used in the animation as well as some of the Wuhan Bats songs. I worked with Daisy Blair from Inky Minx Illustration and Mao Holiday from Life of Strife Productions to bring the animation together and well as Carlos Luis Saio to narrate the poem.
In essence, this tells the story of how human avarice will continue to cause chaos, death, and destruction if we can't learn from our mistakes.
Link to the entire project at www.alexamoorecostuming.com ->BA Degree final project
Link to the animation- https://www.alexamoorecostuming.com/animation
Ethereal Woodland is a project based around an alternative bridalwear and bespoke lingerie business idea. Through a collaboration with mentor Rosie Dennington, of Rosie Red Corsetry, I created my own business plan - 'Coral Ann Couture'. My aim was to provide bridal garments for clients who want a balance between delicate romance and alternative themes such as fantasy or sci-fi.
The concept began with my own experience growing up surrounded by woodlands. To make this collection personal to me, I conducted primary research in the forests around my home. I then combined this with fantasy, elven elements from 'The Lord of the Rings'. This collection would act as a start-up for 'Coral Ann Couture', therefore it was important for me to choose a concept that clearly show how a particular theme could be subtly implemented into a bride's outfits.
The three outfits follow the requirements set out in the business plan by focusing on luxury bridal wear and lingerie, whilst emphasising the corsetry elements. This collection had to have a high attention to detail, particularly looking at embellishments such as beading and embroider. These are areas that I've always wanted to explore within my work.
I would also like to mention the collaboration partners that I communicated this during the design process - 3D designer, Thomas Plant, and photographer, Chloe Price. Although I was unable to complete the final photoshoot at this time due to COVID19 measures, I'm grateful that I had the chance to collaborate with both people, and we are planning to combine our work on this project in the future.
I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this project, and I believe it provides a good starting point for me to explore a career in the bridalwear and lingerie industries.
Having the freedom to build a project from the ground up was both an exciting and overwhelming opportunity that pushed me to open my mind to create something different than what I had before.
The concept of this project stems from my passion for blending the unusual and unexpected, in this case, the whimsy and unrestrained telling of The Grimm Brothers fairy tales with the shapes and structure of tailoring, hence the title Twisted Taleoring. Choosing this well-known collection of stories led me to find the relatively unknown tale of Jorinda and Joringel; the story of a betrothed couple who get lost in a forest and are separated by the witch, who turns Jorinda into a nightingale.
The story’s exploration of nature and magic drew me in and allowed me to explore the journey that each character goes on in this fanciful tale. The two main characters in the story, Jorinda and Jorigel allowed me to explore and develop designs and garments for women's and men's wear, and to blend the aspects of each to create more interesting designs and stronger characters. The images above represent a small section of my journey through this project showing initial research and some established designs
My final major project was a contemporary ballet of the Greek Mythology's Pandora's Box for The London Ballet Company and was supposed to have a performance on the 11th April 2020 where the garments could have been utilised for both shows, during which time I was supposed to have 2 male and 6 female garments but due to the coronavirus a change in the project occurred where the outcome became 2 female garments and photoshoot planning with a potential budget. Throughout the module I created research pages on suitable fabrics and garments for dance wear, using inspiration from the companies previous shows and Pandora's Box to enable me to create suitable themes for the Invisible Females, Sprite and Caleb with the use of 2 way stretch fabrics, the colours and the importance of movement. This enabled me to create mood boards and design developments with fabric and colour to highlight layers to the characters for the males and females even though the focus turned to just the invisible females.
This project enabled me to gain further knowledge into dance wear in the terms of using stretch fabrics but also deciding to use duchess satin and coutil fabric with hook and eye fastenings for structured bodices which can be seen on my bodice images and flared skirts in a variety of delicate fabrics e.g. Chiffon, Lace, Net and Lining Fabric to create garments that are plain and simple but with a subtle print in the lace to bring through the Greek Mythology as part of my inspiration.
In the future I would like to work in Theatre, Film and TV.
A project surrounding the world of Haute Couture and experimental design.
Inspired by natural rock formations, geodes and salt caves.
This final project has been a collaboration between myself, Tony McClure (exhibitions technician at BCU) and Maderian Visuals with an overall aim to curate an exhibition in Birmingham City University showcasing our work together.
When meeting with Tony, it was clear that he knew exactly what I needed to do to make my exhibition a success - be bold, bright and eye-catching. Therefore I really had to go for it and be as experimental as I could. This led me to looking at Haute Couture fashion and Avant Garde design for initial inspiration, but I still felt that it was lacking something. I had always enjoyed surface design - in particular beading, so I looked into different options and found my samples were looking a lot like the insides of geodes, that is where my concept was formed. I wanted to really push the boundaries of surface design in fashion so I looked into ways of crystallising objects and found an artist named Sigalit Landau who submerges personal objects in the Dead Sea for them to become permanently preserved in salt crystals. This is something I wanted to replicate but on a much smaller scale - this was perfect for the garments as well as the exhibition as it's eye-catching and also very interesting.
Maderian Visuals and I were in the pre-production stages of the photo and film shoots when the Covid-19 lockdown was announced. Unfortunately this meant we were unable to do any filming as we couldn't get together with the model in a safe environment. This was incredibly disheartening as I had put so much work into my garments which I wasn't able to finish and there seemed like there would be no end product to show for my time at University especially as there was no longer any exhibition. But I carried on with constructing the corsets at home and did my own photoshoot for my personal use and social medias, when it is safe to do so we will be doing our photoshoots and also filming for a video.
This is a collaboration project with Sudeley Castle a historic landmark located in Gloucestershire. The aim was to create two display costumes to join their collection of Tudor kings and Queens. Sudeley Castle has a rich history with some very interesting occurrences throughout the Tudor and Elizabethan periods. These themes are explored throughout this portfolio.
Within this collaboration Sudeley Castle has given me the freedom to research the period and create costumes that I believe would work well for their display. Being able to combine elements of Sudeley within my designs and research has allowed for a fun take on this project due to certain aspects such as garment shapes already decided.
Throughout this project I have been given the opportunity to learn many new things and progress my work to a high standard. Working with Sudeley castle has been a pleasure as the have let me do what I think would work best. As well as supporting my creativity they were very helpful and gave me a lot of information about the castle and the visit from Queen Elizabeth. This information allowed me to progress further with my research and allowed me to find inspiration in my work.
As my Final major project was based around historical costume I do believe it was a risk as the shapes were already decided for me although I didn’t find this limited me in any way, if anything it made me more creative as I had to think of ways I could use the original shapes and give them a fun feel. To achieve this I concentrated on surface detail quite a bit, such as the embroidery for Queen Elizabeth’s garment and the slashing for Baron Chandos’ doublet and trunkhose.
I am pleased with what I achieved although disappointed that due to Covid-19 it wasn’t possible for me to make my final garments. I would like to continue this project and in the future be able to make these costume for the display at Sudeley castle when things are back to normal.
My final major project shows my journey of designing and making ballet costumes.
My first collaboration is with Elmhurst Ballet School to design and make 4 female, lyrical style costumes for their 2020 Elmhurst Ballet Company show 'Synergy'. The costumes will debut in a brand new piece titled "L’Heure Sans Regret" choreographed by Sander Blommaert.
*Unfortunately, due to safeguarding issues from the school and covid-19 I have been unable to obtain useable photos to display the final outcome of this collaboration.
My second section of my project is developing my own bespoke costume making business. Here I set up collaborations with Elisha Willis (former principal dancer at Birmingham royal ballet) to model the costumes, and Rebecca Elizabeth (A successful seamstress and accessories maker based in Stafford) to design and make custom headpieces. I designed and made a romantic style costume and a traditional tutu for the ballet 'Cinderella'.