Dominique Lemieux designed the costumes for all Cirque du Soleil productions between 1989 and 1998. Every single show she has worked on – We Reinvent the Circus (1989), Nouvelle Expérience (1990), Saltimbanco (1992), Mystère (1993), Alegría (1994), Quidam (1996), "O", La Nouba (1998), Corteo (2005), ZAIA (2008) and Banana Shpeel (2009) – bears her unique imprint.
As a costume designer, Dominique does a lot more than simply outfit the artists. Her designs play a key role in creating the fantastic characters that populate the Cirque du Soleil universe.
With an expert eye, Dominique weaves colors, patterns and fabrics into fabulous costumes. But her choice of material is not strictly guided by aesthetic considerations alone. For Dominique, determining how fibres react to skin, movement, fire or water is of vital importance, and she never loses sight of the artists' needs.
Dominique's passion for drawing started at an early age and led her to study fine arts at Concordia University. After earning her degree, she worked as an art designer and children's book illustrator. She later enrolled in the set design program at Canada's National Theatre School (NTS), where the courses she took in drawing and costume design took her career in a whole new direction.
From 1986 to 1988 she worked as an assistant to François Barbeau, one of Montreal's top costume designers and also a teacher at the NTS. During this period, she collaborated on many creations that could be seen on stages across the city.
In Banana Shpeel Dominique Lemieux has come up with a mix that blends retro and modern. "The line of the costumes recalls the days of vaudeville, while the fabrics and materials are contemporary,” she says. “What makes the costumes is the juxtaposition of the two. I've used illusion as a leitmotif, gradually going from monochrome to color, using vibrant shimmering and changing materials that evoke the flamboyance of the world of vaudeville. Banana Shpeel is full of contrasts: David Shiner loves exploring the extremes, and the costumes sometimes reflect the Machiavellian characters he’s created, and sometimes the angelic."