Blending with the set design of Crystal, the overall look of the costumes is one of frivolity laced with surrealism in a fantastical world of ice.
Crystal and her Reflection – With her flamboyant red hair, Crystal is clad in a vintage plaid skirt in blue, a light turquoise cardigan-style shirt and a red scarf that echoes her quirky creativity and unpretentious nature. Her Reflection wears a darker version of the same outfit, but with shiny wave patterns evoking the underwater world. Her costume is the mirror image of Crystal’s where everything is reversed.
The Shadows – The Shadows’ costumes transition from black to white and suggest washed out ink spots and crystal patterns.
Crystal’s family – Spectators see Crystal’s family through her eyes in a warped version of reality. Her mother, father and brother wear whimsical, art-deco-inspired costumes with a sense of suburban nostalgia. Coral pink, mint greens and banana yellows are the chosen colors. Added to the front of their costumes is a simple appliqué representing a full-size, childlike drawing of each of them as seen through Crystal’s eyes.
Home swing – Crystal is seeing her world from above. In this scene, some of the character’s wear clouds or houses on their heads to represent Crystal’s surreal inner world.
Business at the office – In a scene that evokes the rigidity of everyday life at the office business wear a very clean cut navy blue business suit while the Businesswomen’s costumes features an intricate pattern made of standard typewriter letters. At one point, there is a typewriter shape on the chest of each business women.
Big city flats Crystal extravaganza – Angular crystal and origami effects are used throughout the costumes as a unifying component. 3D paper effects were a prism pattern creating volume on the sleeves during the Big City and Poles acts.
Taming the ice - The costumes were designed to withstand the rigours of ice, and keep the artist safe. Catchers wear special padding on their shoulders as well as gloves made of Kevlar equipped with polymer cuffs that absorb shock and protect their forearms from the razor-sharp skate blades.
Some artists slide on the ice. The materials used are water-resistant, non-absorbent, and preserve the gliding properties of the costume.
Some of the acts in the show involve high level floor acrobatics such as banquine and hand to hand that require stability on the ice. The acrobatic shoes have been developed incorporating a combination of small metal spikes and crampons into the soles of the shoes to enable them to walk, slide, run, and so many other things that are normally not possible on ice. Because of this they can keep their stability.
Quick change costumes – All artists (Acrobats and Skaters) wear three to four different costume outfits every performance which implies quick changes between each scene. The costumes are equipped with full length zips that run from ankle to ankle along the inside seam to allow the skaters to change without removing their skates.
We have also used some magnets to enable quick changes between scenes.
- All types of skates are used in the show including figure skates, ice dance, and hockey skates. Those used by figure skaters have toe picks for control and flatter blades while hockey skate blades are curved for maneuverability and speed.
- To achieve the look of many pairs of skates throughout the show, we created covers that zips on and off the skates and we have painted the covers so they have the same look as the shoes.
Gloves and crampons
The gloves have a piece of Velcro across the palm of the hand; we attached a plastic plate that has crampons so that people can put their hands on the ice and breakdance.
Costume creation at Cirque du Soleil
- Costumes and their props needed for the various shows are hand-created in Montreal, in the production workshops of the International Headquarters. The Cirque du Soleil workshop is the only one of its kind in North America.
- Approximately 300 artisans of every description (including master shoemakers, milliners, textile experts, sewers, lace makers, carpenters, etc.) are employed full-time making the Cirque du Soleil props and costumes.
- 16,000 or so items (hats, shoes, dresses, bodysuits, etc.) are created for Cirque du Soleil’s shows every year.
- It takes close to 50 kilometers of fabric just to make the shows’ costumes.
- 80% of the fabric required for the costume creation is originally white, before being dyed in the Cirque du Soleil workshop by the textile design team.
- Shoes are hand- and custom-made for all artists by the artisans of the Shoe Workshop. Approximately 1,200 pairs of shoes are produced by the workshop every year.