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From Page to Stage

From Page to Stage

Discover More About the Costumes of Wooden Dimes

The Wooden Dimes costumes evoke the 1920s, a decade that “was an explosion of many different ideas referring to the social, political, economic, and artistic changes that flooded the period,” says Australian designer Emma Kingsbury. See how Kingsbury took her costumes from “page to stage.”

On Process

“My process is often to do a more expressive and emotional design that may not capture the whole costume from head to toe, and then I will follow that up with a more descriptive and specific technical drawing for the makers.”

Sarah Van Patten in Rowe’s Wooden Dimes // © San Francisco Ballet; Sketch Courtesy of Emma Kingsbury.

On Inspiration

“Dani [Rowe] and I found both the archives of the real Ziegfield Follies and the period of Egyptomania fascinating. Beginning in 1922, Egyptomania was born the year that Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered. Like the designer Erté, we loved the idea of taking strong motifs, such as fans, and using them in Betty’s costumes so she would contrast the theatricality of the Follies girls with their metallic shine, fluff, and feathers.”

Luke Ingham in Rowe’s Wooden Dimes // © San Francisco Ballet; Sketch Courtesy of Emma Kingsbury.

On Long Distance

“All of our communication was remote due to the necessary COVID-19 restrictions in November and December of 2020, [and] so much energy was put into communicating through technology to decide on fabrics, dyeing, [and] the headwear. Our nod to the period in how we cut the costumes, [for example,] dropped waists, painting and finishing techniques imitating pencil, crayon, gouache, and watercolour applications.”

Samantha Bristow in Rowe’s Wooden Dimes // © San Francisco Ballet; Sketch Courtesy of Emma Kingsbury

On Gratitude

“It does seem bizarre that to this day I have never met my team in person. I am so grateful for their talents and dedication; the result was a spectacular collaboration. Trust and the professionalism of all involved made these costumes so dazzling, exciting, and also fresh and contemporary.”

Sarah Van Patten in Rowe’s Wooden Dimes // © San Francisco Ballet; Sketch Courtesy of Emma Kingsbury.

Kingsbury gives special thanks to:
Costume Supervisor: Kate Share, San Francisco Ballet
Costume Construction: Colin Davis Jones Studio, New York

Wooden Dimes was part of Program 03, streamed March 04–24.

Header Image: Sarah Van Patten and Luke Ingham in Rowe’s Wooden Dimes // © San Francisco Ballet