Jasper Conran is passionate about the performing arts, having designed costumes and sets for a total of 13 plays, ballets and operas. For his debut in 1991, he was presented with a Laurence Olivier ‘Costume Designer Of The Year’ Award for Jean Anhouilh’s The Rehearsal.
A play of sexual intrigue, The Rehearsal was set in a French chateau in the fifties and told the story of a group of decadent French aristocrats who rehearsed and performed an 18th Century Marivaux play. A complex play to design for, flitting between extravagant 18th Century dress and fifties clothing, Jasper Conran produced a purely black and white collection, emphasising the play’s dark comedy through texture and shape.
“Doing costumes is an outlet for my fantasy which I don’t indulge when designing my own collections.” Jasper Conran
In 1992, Jasper Conran faced the challenge of bringing a new look to Simon Callow’s version of the Broadway musical My Fair Lady, originally staged in 1956 with designs by Cecil Beaton. A central flower theme was vividly brought to life in the Ascot scene, where the ladies paraded in stalk dresses in various shades of green topped with huge hats. Jasper Conran collaborated with Philip Treacy on hats, which were fashioned as roses, tulips, pansies and lilies.
For Galina Samsova’s 1994 production of Sleeping Beauty, Jasper Conran broke away from the traditions of classical ballet and the pink tutu; from the stylised black and white court scene through to the intensely brilliant oranges, greens and blues of the courtiers in the final scene. Using such striking colour, his costumes took the old story in to another realm.