Coats x The Royal Shakespeare Company x GFW 'From Stage to Catwalk'

  • Emmy Redman

Using the Royal Shakespeare Company to research iconic costume designs and to re-interpret a classic Shakespearean costume with a creative twist to make a contemporary ready-to-wear look. The Royal Shakespeare Company Archives were used as a form of research, to access images of classic costumes, before selecting a costume worn by the character Lady Macbeth in a production of Macbeth in 2011. From this images were gathered of distinctive features and details. To deepen the research several designers who have been inspired by Shakespeare and Elizabethan costumes such as Alexander McQueen became a source of inspiration, before looking into zips, trims and threads by Coats to support the capsule collection consisting of 6 outfits.

Concept Development

Concept Development
Concept Development
The Lady Macbeth costume has distinctive features, in particular the dramatic ruffle around the waist and the slashed ruffle like structure inserted in the sleeve head. The long fitted sleeves have detachable lace cuffs. Beneath the ruffle sits a long, full skirt which opens at the front and beneath it sits an underskirt to add volume.
Concept Development
The deep neckline and fitted, corseted beaded bodice creates a feminine silhouette and the gold and silver tones with a delicate floral pattern in the weave add a richness to the dress.
Colour Palette and Print Development
To further enhance the concept, a colour palette and print was created to reflects the storytelling further. I know this play well and it contains much violence and bloodshed, which I wanted to portray in a beautiful way. This inspired me to research microscopic photographs of blood cells, in which I found the intricate patterns and shape of the cells fascinating. Using this imagery I developed prints by selecting elements of the blood cells, which I combined with an edited quote from the play, one which Macbeth says after Lady Macbeth’s death.
Due to the dress’ muted colours, the colour palette was kept limited yet meaningful and red was chosen to represent bloodshed, indigo for ambition, teal for clarity of thought and cream to keep an element of the original costume.
Design Development
Drape work exploration inspired by the ruffle detail. The fitted feminine bodice was retained but changed the size, shape and position of the dramatic ruffles to create a jacket.
Final line up-front
Final line up-back
Final Design with selected Coats elements