First glimpse: The Lilac Fairy

17 June 2015 | By Behind Ballet

A new production of The Sleeping Beauty must have a spectacular design. For David McAllister’s Beauty, we are lucky enough to have the acclaimed Gabriela Tylesova creating the sets and costumes. Here is a sneak peek of the magical tutu she has made for the Lilac Fairy!

Gabriela Tylesova’s costume for the Lilac Fairy. Photography Kate Longley

The shapes that make up the skirt of the tutu are inspired by the trumpet shape of a lilac petal. There are hundreds of the “petals”, but because there is no heavy beading, embroidery or braid on the top “plate” of the tutu, it actually feels unusually light to move in.

Gabriela Tylesova’s costume for the Lilac Fairy. Photography Kate Longley

It’s the first time our wardrobe department has made a tutu with a shaped basque (the piece of fabric that attaches the bodice to the skirt). The basque is usually circular where it meets the skirt, but this one is pointed at the front and sides, which creates a beautifully flattering line. There’s another advantage to it, as David McAllister points out: “The boys will love this because it makes it really easy to hold the girl’s waist and hips when they’re partnering. There’s something to grip on to!”

Gabriela is a very hands-on designer, and did the “art finishing” (the painting and shading you can see on the bodice) herself. The rest of the work – the cutting and shaping, the beading and appliqué – was done by our talented wardrobe staff. This tutu represents a month’s worth of solid work.

Gabriela Tylesova’s costume for the Lilac Fairy. Photography Kate Longley

Delicate leaves and petals around the shoulders feature in many of Gabriela’s tutus for The Sleeping Beauty.

Gabriela Tylesova’s costume for the Lilac Fairy. Photography Kate Longley

Over 200 Swarovski crystals will give the tutu a fairytale shimmer under the spotlight.

Gabriela Tylesova’s costume for the Lilac Fairy. Photography Kate Longley

Extra layers of net and stiffening were used to puff out the tutu into the extravagant shape required by the design.

See the Lilac Fairy – and the rest of Gabriela’s grand design – when The Sleeping Beauty premieres in September!