Costume Designer Liz Vandal Shares Secrets Of Cirque Du Soleil’s ‘OVO’

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STUDIO CITY (CBS) — Liz Vandal, the costume designer from the Cirque du Soleil show, OVO, visited the KCAL 9 studios Tuesday.

Liz has a signature style inspired by futuristic superheroes and by suits of armour from all eras. These two sources inform her designs for the OVO costumes. Flattering lines and an elongated,corseted look are a nod to the world of super heroes while the segmented shells on many of the garments alternate between hard and soft, much like the armour and the bodies of knights in the Renaissance.

Liz Vandal took her inspiration from many sources, including certain fashion designers such as Pierre Cardin, who focused on graphic lines and geometric shapes. She was also inspired by the slashed sleeves of Renaissance garments. Liz and her team in the costume shop have exploited the permanent pleating technique developed by Japanese designer Issey Miyake, which gives a certain rigidity to material and creates an organic effect. “We pushed this technique even further,” she says, “by printing on colored materials, sublimation and eroding the fabric not only to stiffen it, but also to give it a metallic sheen.”

OVO features many acrobatic acts including a stunning flying trapeze act: Six flyers fly as high as 14 m, making this act the biggest of its kind ever presented under a Grand Chapiteau by Cirque du Soleil. This act is the most difficult in the world to execute in terms of the distance between stations. It combines many circus disciplines: banquine, Russian swing and swinging chair. The finale features 20 artists running, jumping and leaping straight up an 8-meter vertical wall.

• Most characters have two versions of their costumes: the first, more lightweight and functional, for their acrobatic performance, and the second, more richly detailed and heavier, for their life in the community.

• The initial cricket costumes required 75 hours of work each because of their complexity and the need to give them rigidity while maintaining the flexibility and expandability of the material.

• Microscope photography of insects reveals that the materials used in the costumes are remarkably similar in structure to the bodies of insects

For more information about the show, visit OVO online.

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