Here is a recent interview featuring Daisy of Turquoise Pearl speaking about Sacred Centre Dance Company of Victoria’s recent production of Emerald Oasis.
How was Emerald Oasis different than previous costume work you’ve done?
Daisy: Emerald Oasis was different from most of my previous work in several ways, the biggest being that I was not only designing and making the costumes, but I was also dancing in them. Usually I design and sew costumes for troupes and never have a chance to wear them myself. Having the opportunity to dance in a design or even in the prototype simplified my job and helped me to understand how the costumes would look and feel during the actual show without having to rely on another person’s description.
Another big difference about Emerald Oasis was that I was given a much longer lead time for designing the costumes than normal. Often directors do not give enough thought to the costumes until late in the production process. Nath brought me on board over 5 months before our show date which gave me plenty of time to work with him and the rest of the dancers to iron out all the quirks well before show time.
What were some of the technical challenges?
Daisy: Probably the largest technical difficulty we ran into with the costuming for Emerald Oasis was the sequins. Nath did all of the beading and sequin work for this show himself and unfortunately the company we originally ordered the sequins through shorted us on the order and then informed us later that the colour we had ordered had been discontinued. We were able to get a different colour of sequin in the same size, but unfortunately Nath had already finished two of the skirts and was forced to undo all the bead work on those skirts and re-do it with the new colour of sequins. Because we had started so early this did not end up being a large problem: it was more a disappointment for him due to the work he had already put in going to waste.
Describe the process in designing the look for the show.
Daisy: Nath already had a very good idea of the overall look of the show before I was brought on board. He already had colours in mind and the basic effect he hoped to create with the costumes for each stage of the show. Because of this we were able to sit down and basically sketch out all three of the main costumes for Emerald Oasis at once. Then I did up full sketches and basic prototypes. Because Nath already had an idea of colour, choosing fabrics was fairly simple. I showed him samples of things I thought would be suitable and he chose the ones that fitted his vision for the show the best.
I think that the fusion aspect of the show really comes through in the costumes. And we were able to use colours and fabrics that helped depict the Asian influence throughout the show.
From the original sketches and designs we only changed one thing and that was the drapes on the copper gowns. Nath’s original vision was to pair the copper with red however when we were draping colours we accidently paired up the copper with the shimmering green and that was it. We just knew that was the colour that had to be in the show.
I feel that when a show starts to lend its own aesthetic to a designers work you truly have something to be proud of, and that definitely happened for me with Emerald Oasis.
What would you have done differently in hindsight?
Daisy: I would have ordered more fabric than I thought I needed. Not because we ran out for the show, but because so many people loved the fabric that I ended up needing to order more to make other things.
Getting to wear the costumes on stage there are a few minor points I would change, but on the whole I’m pretty happy with the way this show went. It was very smooth beginning to end.
Emerald Oasis turned out to be a completely sold out show! What do you think contributed to this?
Daisy: Tons and tons of hard work and planning. Nath started promotion of this performance quite early and because I was able to start the costumes so early as well we were able to preview numbers from the show in costume at other events throughout the summer. I think that this gave people an idea of what the show would be like and once they got a taste they didn’t want to miss it.
So, what’s next?
Daisy: Nath and I are already in the planning stages for his next production called Raqstar. This will be a very different show in both the costuming and the dancing from Emerald Oasis. Raqstar is all about the soft feminine lines, flowing skirts and silver sparkle. We already know that this show is going to need lots of chiffon, rhinestones and sequins and I’m very excited to see where these elements take us. No matter what, it is going to be challenging, beautiful, and tons of fun.