Next up for the costumes I found myself sewing for the Sink the Pink Winter Ball is this catsuit. I know I probably shouldn’t have favourites but, of the 6 pieces, this might be the one. Here’s Chester making it look alive!
I love how garments change once they’re on a body. Seeing something like this laid out flat and 2 dimensional doesn’t give much of an idea of how it’s going to work once it’s on. Also, if you don’t stuff the crotch, you get this interesting effect as shown below left.
Without sounding like a perve, while working on this I had to always be aware of the body. There was more to consider in terms of how the panels would wrap around the arms and legs. Being dancers, all these guys are really well-defined and Chester’s aesthetic involves a lot of sharp contouring. I wanted to reflect that by following the muscles on the leg but I’m too close to judge whether that came through or not. I watched a lot of the Marco Marco catwalk shows and kept Pam Hogg’s design lines in mind. But ultimately, it was a collaboration between Chester and I.
And he loved it. He didn’t want to take it off.
At one point I tried to talk him out of the zip down the front. That fabric is quite thin and super princessy when it comes to unpicking. The fact that the zip went in without puckering was a nice surprise. I must have used the right combination of threats and pleading.
Doesn’t it look different on a female dress form? I initially started with this kind of shoulder in mind but on trying it on we decided it was too fussy and ruined the sleekness.
The back looks pretty damn hot too.
The red on the calf really caught the light and it looked fab on stage. The catsuit I made for Glyn (in the red wig) looked great next to this one too.
The video footage for the Winter Ball isn’t up on youtube, not yet anyway, but you’ve got to see this guy dance. Without taking anything away from the other guys who are very talented, Chester Hayes is mesmerising. And I’m not just saying that out of loyalty, here’s a Guardian review of his role in Kes for Sheffield’s Crucible this April.
Chester Hayes, superb as Billy, ….journeys between the two states: not just his limbs, but his face and entire being opening up ….child and bird both learning how to find freedom within the restraints that bind them – for a while (Brennan, 2014)
I have a memory of reading something long ago in a theatre studies course about how the body in performance transforms. I probably dismissed it as a load of old wank at the time but watching Chester that idea makes sense. I don’t want to over-analyse it but he basically turns into something else and it’s beautiful to watch.
I wish I knew what that felt like. I suppose it’s like the trance-like state you get when you’re doing something creative. You get absorbed and your brain changes speed, it speeds up but it quietens and before you know it, hours have passed.
He’s also a real sweetheart. Last I saw him he was tearing around an ice rink in a fur coat and fishnet body-stocking before he tumbled gracefully into a split.
I may have laughed. In fact, I may still be laughing.
Check out this link for Not This Time by the 2 Bears. The song’s great and there’s a whole raft of the Sink the Pink crew in it. Chester’s about 30 seconds in in green body paint but I can pretty much guarantee you’ll enjoy all of them.