In Moira Buffinis Dinner, socialite Paige Janssen hosts a glamorous dinner party at her home, artfully inviting an eclectic mix of guests. Costume and Props Stylist, India Mehta decided to work with local WA designers to create gowns for the women at the dinner party. This collaboration was a new experience for us at Black Swan, and a fairly unusual relationship in the theatre world. So we asked the actors - Rebecca Davis, Alison van Reeken and Tasma Walton - and designers - Sheree Dornan of Love in Tokyo, Michelle Tindale of Tindale, and Alvin Fernandez of Ae'lkemi - about the collaboration and the designs.
Rebecca Davis, actress playing character Sian
I confess to a sense of absolute thrill and delight when I heard that not only was my costume for Dinner to be designed by a WA fashion designer, but that it was to be Michelle Tindale a designer whom I have admired for the last couple of years. Michelles designs are feminine yet edgy, very contemporary and absolutely luscious in texture.
From an actors point of view, a well-designed costume to fit your character is imperative. It assists not only in helping shape the way your character looks and walks or sits, but also the way they feel, conduct themselves and interact with other characters.
My role of Sian demands a certain physicality and demeanor that Michelles design really assists. The colour hues of black/grey with a digital lizard print and a combination of draping and structure to the garment (with a long slit up the leg and low back) gives the appearance of someone comfortable in their skin but with an element of protectiveness, of femininity but also a dont mess with me feel.
Michelle has been so easy to work with and is open to ideas and suggestions while still maintaining her stamp on the design and her signature style.!
One of the trickiest parts to the costume was the decision on the height of Sians heels! Being tall I dont have a vast array of heels in my own wardrobe and I really only stick to small wedges. The heels Sian wears are significantly higher than I have ever worn but I have realised its essential to her character and her relationship with the other characters, especially her husband. I made a point early on to wear them for each rehearsal to not only assist in the way the character holds herself but also so I get used to being so high and not falling over or getting my heel caught in the set!
I have been really lucky with my costumes to date with Black Swan. Having Lynn Ferguson as Black Swans Wardrobe Manager and her incredible team, along with some of the best costume designers in Australia, the costumes have always been first rate many of them made for me. Having a costume actually designed for your figure and shape adds so much to building a character and really feels like a second skin.
This costume designed by Michelle is sure to rack up as a favourite and I cant wait to try it out on stage!
Don't miss your chance to see these beautiful gowns on stage in Dinner! At the Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of WA from 14-29 March. Tickets on sale through Ticketek.