By Kristy Johnson of Dance Informa.
His designs in the fashion world are simply breathtaking, and there was no exception when it came to his first collaboration with The Australian Ballet for the programme Bodytorque. Technique, presented at Sydney Theatre in October and early November. Toni Maticevski created the gorgeous costumes for Tinted Windows, choreographed by Alice Topp. The final product could be described as ethereal, magical and aesthetically pleasing – layers upon layers of delicate nude fabrics teamed with intricate silver beading.
Prior to opening night, Dance Informa was invited to preview the stunning costumes at picturesque Walsh Bay in Sydney, and understand the process behind creating such pieces for a ballet.
Congratulations Toni on your collaboration with The Australian Ballet. The designs look simply stunning!
“Oh, thank you!”
Where did you look for inspiration?
“Well, mainly a lot of references to my archive and my work that I’ve done in the past. But it was more just a conversation with Alice Topp and myself – what she wanted the message to be behind the piece, what she wanted to get across in terms of emotion and just the general feeling of it. We just brainstormed it to a point where I thought, ‘I’m seeing nudes and fabrics that keep on moving when the body is not moving,’ so I was like, ‘This is it. Do you like it?’ And she said it was perfect and started crying so I thought, ‘Tick. Job done.’ [Laughs.] It didn’t really involve sketching or too much analysis.”
How much time was dedicated to the project?
“Not a lot. I kind of slotted it in with other projects. But because I’ve done costumes for dance before it was easier and I know the guys after working with them as well in the past, so it was just about being comfortable. There wasn’t really any stress.”
What do you love about The Australian Ballet?
“I find it’s just like being a kid again when I’m around them, and they’re also uninhibited about themselves, their bodies and their ideas. So it’s refreshing coming from fashion when some things can be black or white or kind of like there’s a grey area. You’re always a little bit nervous in the fashion world.”
Any particular challenges when creating costumes for the ballet?
“Movement is probably the most practical, but then also longevity, depending on how long the program goes for. Some productions go for six weeks so you need to make sure the costumes can stand up for that period and not look like trash at the end of it!”
Would you like to do more projects of a similar nature?
“I like mixing it up, but I do love dance and working with different choreographers.”
Photo (top): Australian Ballet dancers Vivienne Wong and Dimity Azoury wear designer Toni Maticeneski’s costumes at Walsh Bay, Sydney. Photo by Kristy Johnson.