Posted on 15 October 2019 By Alexia Petsinis

The Sugar Plum Fairy’s costume in The Nutcracker is the ultimate fantasy tutu – a symphony of sparkling pink. Find out how this beauty is made.

The pas de deux danced by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince is the crowning moment of The Nutcracker, and the ballerina's tutu must rise to the occasion. Designed by John F Macfarlane for Peter Wright's production, our tutu is a showstopping confection that takes our costume department a full month of work to make (there are five of them for different casts).

Photography Kate Longley

The skirts of the tutu feature ten hand-painted and hand-beaded sugar plums, and there are more pearl beads on the bodice. In all, the tutu shimmers with around 700 beads, each hand-sewn.

Photography Kate Longley

The nets of the tutu's skirt are hand-dyed in shades of blossom pink and cream. The hoops tend to get bent when the ballerina performs a fish dive; they are periodically stiffened, and replaced at the end of each season.

Photography Kate Longley

A leaf motif runs throughout Macfarlane's design for the Flowers. The Sugar Plum Fairy emerges from a swirl of Flowers, and the bodice and overskirt of her tutu are enfolded in delicate leaves made from sparkle net and hand-painted panée velvet.

Photography Kate Longley

The base of the bodice is ottoman silk, the same fabric used for the Prince's jacket. The Sugar Plum Fairy's marvellous sparkle comes from Aurora Borealis bugle beads and rose-coloured Swarovski crystals scattered all over the tutu.

The Sugar Plum tutu in all her glory!

Get the inside intel on our perky, gift-wrapped Mirliton costumes, and the suave, intricate coat of the Magician.

Ako Kondo. Photography Kate Longley