The Show: A Spectacle of Knits
Historic Vaudeville theatre and three ring circus shared a central theme in common: the sense of entertainment in the form of a spectacular show. These shows would capture and hold the audiences’ attention, and enthrall with active performances, while bold and bright colors and textures of the scene would bring a playful aspect of the drama. The Vaudeville girls wore provocative costumes of little more than feathers and lace, displaying an untouchable elegance while singing and dancing on stage. Circus performers’ costumes were less revealing, but shared the same bright colors and eye-catching detail. Both Vaudeville and Circus costumes were designed to endure physically demanding performances, such as vigorous dancing, trapeze and animal wrangling.
Similarly, my collection of costumes was made to be fun and dramatic and also suited for performance. Bright shades of pink, red, and orange, as found in the Piccadilly Circus, paired with my addition of black and dark violet were used for the garments and capes. Highlights of fluorescent orange and yellow were used to exaggerate edges, and brilliant cerulean blues mimic the flirtatious, flamboyant peacock. These bright colors were intended to allow my garments to be seen from a distance and picked out from a crowd. Dresses were designed to be short and fitted and worn with shorts or leggings so as to be non-restrictive during performances. Every look has a cape that adds to it a dramatic flair, and each one features knitted details, such as pointelle and shaped ribbing.
The Passap Duomatic 80 manual knitting machine and the Shima Seiki SES-SWG 10g electronic knitting machine were used to develop and create this collection. Shima’s proprietary Whole Garment™ software took center stage while I designed the leggings, shorts and dresses to the exact measurements of the model. Each piece had finishing touches, such as decorative crochet edging, done by hand.