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Costume for Hannah Felicia

Just like with Miramos, the costumes for our upcoming performance Hannah Felicia, which premieres on October 29, was created by designer Charlotte von Weissenberg. We asked her to share some of her thoughts about the creation of the constumes.

Charlotte von Weissenberg

Portrait image of costume designer Charlotte von Weissenberg. She’s standing against a grey fabric backdrop, with the light coming in from the left looking into the camera with short hair and wearing a purple cardigan.

This was the second time I worked with a Spinn production. Both times it has started out with a meeting with the cast during one of the first rehearsal sessions of the project. This time, due to the current circumstances, choreographer Lára Stefánsdóttir couldn’t be there physically, but she participated via computer.

My process starts with me looking at the dancers rehearse. This is to get a feeling of it all, and to see what type of movements they need to be able to do and what might need special attention when it comes to the costume design. Sometimes the dancers and the wheelchair are one single being. Sometimes two, sometimes three. Or at least that’s how I perceive it. Both bodies need to feel comfortable in their parts, but we also need to consider the wheelchair so that for instance nothing gets tangled up in the wheels.

“Sisters, warrior and that all is one” where the ideas that was on the table when I joined the work. Lára had also wished for a soft golden nuance. It proved that, from a practical perspective, golden fabric is not as compliant as one might hope, so therefore we instead choose a slightly more “secretive” fabric that changes character depending on how you illuminate it. During the work, everyone has had their say. Because it’s a joint project, and it’s exciting to try to understand and interpret ideas that comes bubbling up.

Close-up of the costume. The image depicts the fabric that glitters in pink, yellow, light blue and silver, with details like embroideries, pearls and buttons.

That the dancers are comfortable in their clothes is important to me. This means that the actual practical work with fittings is a large part of the process. It’s especially important when it comes to Felicia seeing as I can’t use myself as a reference. But this also means that I learn a lot! I always want it to be perfect from the start, but you have to take it step by step and I choose to start with the fit.

I don’t really sketch my work. Most of the design work happens in my head, where all the ideas, both my own and others, swirl around and bump into each other. Often there’s already from the start something that is clearer and more stubborn than all the others, something that becomes a magnetic center for the rest. Fragments are either sucked into the middle, or hurled into space. The end result is a compromise – always – but that in itself is not a bad ting. Compromise means collaboration, that material and needs agree, as well as time and budget, and that we as a group have listened to each other and grown as human beings.

I want the audience to experience that Hannah and Felicia belong together, but also as separate personalities. My wish is that you see the people more than the costumes. That the whole is both pure and simple but also slightly magical.

The image depicts dancers Hannah Karlsson and Felicia Sparrström who are lying down on a red backdrop, each have one arm outstretched. Both have red hair and are wearing costumes that glitter in pink and silver. Photo: Anna Ósk Erlingsdóttir