Interview with Sarah Doucet – Double Bill
PEOPLE OF DJD//
There are many people that make up the community at the DJD Dance Centre. From artists, administrators, volunteers and beyond, these walls are pulsing with personality.
DJD Costume Designer
1.HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING WITH DJD?
This is my second show with DJD, the first being Juliet & Romeo.
2. HOW HAS YOUR DANCE CAREER AFFECTED HOW YOU DESIGN COSTUMES?
I’m not sure I would be doing costume design if it weren’t for my dance career to be honest.
Costumes for dance are in a league of their own and there are countless things to consider:
They have to endure hyper physicality and countless washes, if the wrong fabric is used, sweat can alter the colour, a small dancer might need a medium or large size, depending on how much they move. If the movements are big, for example, a dress or shirt might ride up if the arms are raised and they stay there when they’re lowered so a bigger size is required, especially if they sweat a lot, if the show has a lot of floor work or partnering, for example, the choice of fabrics and cuts become paramount.
First and foremost, before I take measurements or get into ideas of a costume, I ask each dancer if they have any likes/dislikes in terms of fabric, fit, if there are injuries that might affect the fit of a costume, allergies to certain fabrics, if there are designs or cuts that they don’t like or don’t make them feel amazing, anything that will affect them negatively. This is key for me. A dancer in an awkward or uncomfortable costume is not going to give their best performance. Being distracted by a weird seam or odd fit or worried something might break or pop open can potentially ruin the whole performance.
The costumes should enhance and compliment the choreography, make the dancer feel strong, confident and worry free.
3. WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE COSTUMES FOR LOVESTRUCK?
There were a few, but the starting point was the garden scene from the 1927 silent film Metropolis. It’s a weird and surreal scene where everyone is dressed in these fantastic creations that even now, are remarkable in their construction and design.
Apart from that, honestly, it’s the dancers that inspired me the most. This cast is remarkable in their individuality and I always try to make that a focal point.
Kaja, for example plays Artemis, the Goddess of animals and the hunt, who is also cursed to be a goat and is a careless smoker. That in itself is rich in imagery and potential. Instantly I knew her colour palate would be off whites, beiges, rich in textures, burnt edges, etc.
As the women are all goddesses, there needed to be an element of protection, armour and strength but also a softness and sensuality that couldn’t be ignored.
Also, Kim is wildly imaginative and creative and lets me play and try new things, which is inspiration in itself.
4. HOW DO YOU STAY INSPIRED FOR YOUR DESIGNS?
I’m a huge people watcher. I can sit in public for hours (and do!) and be constantly captivated by how people present themselves to the world, trying to decipher why they made certain choices and what they are trying to say about themselves.
I’m also a devoted thrift shopper. If I’m searching for ideas, more times than not I will find a thrift store, put headphones on super loud and go through every item on the racks. If something catches my eye, in the cart. Thrift stores are probably the best resource centres out there for clothing and possibilities. No two things are the same, it’s a crash course in textures, fabrics, design, fit, and construction. I’ve been collecting vintage clothing and accessories for decades now and am constantly fascinated by its longevity and durability. Most of my costume designs have an element of vintage in them.
5. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
Now more than ever, the issue of fast fashion and the monumental negative effects it has on the environment is a massive issue for me. The amount of water needed for just one t-shirt is mind boggling; the use of toxic chemicals is rampant, garments with lycra, polyester, stretch take hundreds of years to breakdown (if ever).
Also, the massive garment factory fires in South Asia a few years back put it all into perspective for me. Over a thousand lives were lost while making garments for the fast fashion industry, getting paid extremely poorly, and treated worse. I couldn’t justify being a part of that cycle. Especially when thrift stores are overflowing with it, there’s no reason to buy new.