By Ella Hickson
Based on the novel by J M Barrie
This project was a conceptual design (completed in January 2021) of the RCS play by Hickson. It is based on the 1904 children's classic novel "Peter Pan and Wendy" and focusses on the roles of the strong female characters throughout the story.
The setting for this conceptual design was the era in which the original novel was written, Edwardian, and it became an exercise in dress history as much as it was in design.
For this project, Katie chose to focus on two of the play's main character groups, the Darling Family and the Pirates, and to develop a distinct aesthetic for each group as well as individual designs for each character...
The Darling Family
The designs for the Darling family are, as much as possible, period accurate to the Edwardian era. This was because the Darling family lived and worked in the very real world setting of Edwardian London and by contrast the world of Neverland would become even more fantastical. For the Darling's colour pallet, calming blue and soft white tones were chosen, another contrast to the earthy tones of Neverland and the fierce reds of the pirates' pallets.
The aesthetic for Hook and his pirate crew was based on the fairytale idyll from the golden age of piracy. The 18th century frock coats and breaches are synonymous with fictional piracy! A mixture of fictional and real-life pirates, and period costume were referenced in the design process, and the pirate colour pallet was a spectrum of browns (to echo the iconic ships) and reds (a traditional colour of danger!)
The chosen media used in the costume drawing for this project was biro with watercolour. Each drawing was done in three stages: first a pencil drawing of the final design was drawn up, often containing annotations and working changes. Second, a biro drawing was done by tracing the pencil drawing in biro using a light box, then adding texture using biro techniques. Finally, a light was of watercolour was applied to indicate the colours of the design. Pictured below are the designs for Wendy Darling and Hook at each stage (left to right.)
In Hickson's original play, Hook is a male character, the traditional bearded villain you'd imagine Hook to be. But in this conceptual design, Hook is a woman. It felt right, with such an emphasis throughout the rest of the play on the strength of the female characters, that Hook should join their ranks. Instead of deigning a traditional female ensemble or adapting a traditional male costume for this Hook, elements of both male and female period dress were combined, including 18th century stays and a lavish frock coat that indicates her status as Captain! (Design pictured above and below)