Stitch, dye, fit, repeat

Guest writer:  Erin Lee, Houston Ballet wardrobe assistant


Well, the Houston Ballet wardrobe department is up and rolling!  Actually…we never really shut down.  After closing the 2006/2007 season, we were able to really get busy preparing for what’s up and coming.

In the wardrobe production room we’ve been focused mainly on the first show of the new season, The Merry Widow.  These costumes have a history all their own.  Designed by Roberta Guidi di Bagno, they began their life in Italy many years ago.  The tags inside hint that they have also spent time in Denmark and the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle before being purchased by Houston Ballet earlier this year.  We were recently informed that Ms. di Bagno herself will be attending dress rehearsals and perhaps a performance or two; she just happens to have family in town.  

Across the hall in the costume shop, fabric has been flying for The Four Seasons, Stanton Welch’s world premiere ballet with costumes designed by Kandis Cook.  This is a project that has been in the works since early spring.  Almost every costume for this show has been patterned, cut, stitched and dyed here in the shop…no small undertaking.   


Costume sketch of Spring Father and Mother by Kandis Cook; all rights reserved.

With the vast number of costumes required for the first series of dances (nearly 120 for The Merry Widow and 40 for The Four Seasons, not to mention the two other ballets that accompany The Four Seasons production), our fitting schedule has been rather intense. We average at least 10 fittings every day until the end of August.  And then comes The Nutcracker


We all manage to stay busy, and we run around like crazy people, but the end absolutely justifies the temporary madness.  As each day progresses, seeing things come together always makes me look forward to the final product.  We get to do what we love for a living, and hopefully our devotion reveals itself each time the curtain rises.


That’s all for now, my fittings start soon!




4 thoughts on “Stitch, dye, fit, repeat

  1. I can’t wait for the premiere of Four Seasons; I’m sure the costumes will be brilliant! Thanks for this little insider’s glimpes at backstage life. I look forward to more posts!

  2. We are so looking forward to this Season at Houston Ballet! Many thanks for your professional expertise in costuming! Beautiful!!

  3. The 2007-08 season sounds wonderful. I hope I will be able to fly in to see some of it.
    Thanks for the blog, a great touch to a wonderful website.

  4. Thank you so much for this inspiring post. I was on full scholarship at the Houston Ballet my three years in high school and was an assistant costume designer for the Dallas Ballet for a year. If you need an assistant especially for Nutcracker which I helped take on tour please contact me.

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