What Role Did JKFH Play?
JKFH designed, produced and managed backstage costume changes during the show.
Together with designer Wendy Benitz and the creative Dragone team we designed and created bespoke costumes for 300 students. We worked closely with Dragone and the ministry of education to ensure all costumes represent the creative and are also in line with the cultural aspect
we worked with the full 402 kids giving full support in costume and back stage organization all students from different backgrounds and nationalities.
The design sketches we made were made to give a childish and playful look and feel that also aligned with the whole school concept of the play. The design print patterns were made to look like oversized bright crayon lines and randomized scribbles.
Custom scribble patterns were designed and digitally repeated to create the main look of the base costume and a complimenting scribble for the girls Sheila used throughout the oversized scuba costumes
What seems so simple is in reality quite challenging as the scuba was not just printed but the print and measurements of the student had to be properly calculated to achieve the avant- guard effect that the print would stop at one area between the chest and not just be printed all over for everyone the same way. This gave it the high end couture look.
The Dragone team has been an amazing team to work with and has helped in more ways than we can count. They have assisted in organizing 402 kids to come for measurements and trials. They have helped with numerous moving throughout the hotels and taken significant steps to welcome us as part of the team. It has been an amazingly friendly and busy journey. A big thanks goes out to Filippo Ferraresi (creative director) for making the bigger decisions when it counted. Lucy Hamlet the production manager also seemed to always be near when we needed assistance. We are to this day still in doubt whether the Dragone team ever sleeps as they are a force to be reckoned with.
Cultural, Choreography & Stage Considerations
La Perle Stage
From the initial sketch ideas to the final costumes many aspects had to be taken into consideration such as the cultural and also the practical aspect of how the students were moving on stage and how the light and props would have an impact on the overall look and feel to keep the creative touch and desired outcome.
For a specific scene the stage becomes filled with water. This is a special feature of the stage in La Perle. To take this into account meant we had to make costumes that would perform well in water. This meant after the water scene we had to insure all costumes were dried and ready for next show.
Another aspect of the costume design was the choreography – the costumes had to work symbiotically with the choreography. The choreography was done by Liubov Zarembo. She was a huge help in assisting in highlighting the
movement needs of the different costumes.
All the costumes were designed in an oversized childish school look, this look was achieved by using scuba fabric. All costumes were created in the same look and feel however different from scene to scene achieving a harmonizing picture when all were standing together on stage.
Crazy little details were added for final touches such as a creative bow tie made of book pages for the teacher in the show. Other accessories included programmed LED googles. They were used in the show to illustrate mesmerized kids that are influenced by social media and technology.
Sourcing Fabrics & Production
The Sourcing Challenge
The full construction of each costume was designed and made with a lot of thought behind it and produced the same way it would be to last a show that runs on regular basis. From all aspects the show was mastered to perfection from the shows story line, choreography, probs and costumes.
Due to the short period of actual production time we had to source all fabrics locally from the UAE buying up all stock on various locations on a certain type of scuba to assure consistency on how the fabric falls. The print production also had to be expedited as the process goes through several procedures that take its time, the planning of this was important in order to keep the set deadline. We planned enough time after delivery for on site fittings and alterations so that everything was set for the official dress rehearsal a week later and then minor tweaks for a day before the show.
From the over 20 different created custom looks we ensured to find the best suitable fabrics that were in the old school uniform tone colors and had oversized tweed design patterns. We worked almost throughout with different types of scuba and custom prints and Tull especially for the ballet dancers. For the traditional filipino costumes we opted for a nice polyester raw silk look that would give it a shine while on stage but also give the support needed for the traditional sleeves.
All kids were also given a canvas type shoes in various colors that we sourced all over Dubai to get the right sizing and style, also here we incorporated a buffer of alternative extra sizes for last minute size adjustments so we have them on site.
The project was not only challenging on timeline but also on the amount of customization. As it is well know in show business of last minute cast changes also in this case some performers were shifted around up to the last second and we had to adjust and keep up to pace accordingly. The organization of the full custom overview and allocation is just as important as the actual costume itself.
Gadgets, Specialty & Accessories
For the show we had to source LED Glasses for lighting purposes on the stage. This was a huge hit with the kids who all wanted to keep the costumes and gadgets.
LED gadgets are easy to source from China but with no time available our team had to source singular pairs from last stock items available until we had the quantity we required. Sourcing can be just as challenging as creating if you have limited resources available!
Specialty items like ballet and dance shoes were sourced from Meeting Dance & Leisure Wear.
Fitting & Alterations
All creations were bespoke made for every individual student and was fitted to perfection. This means that every kid was measured for multiple costumes and in rare cases where alterations were necessary we provided on-site tailors to get a perfect fit.