Wednesday, February 22, 2012


By contributor, Malene Redder Ruby

I have always been attracted to the spectacular and dramatic ways of costuming. Whatever performance you are making, you better make sure that you will be remembered or else, do not make the show. There are plenty of ways to be remembered.
As a Costume designer I have always, ever since I was a little girl, been noticing the dresses and the costumes of the musicians, the actors and the models at the runways. Especially the ones that were spectacular!
I love to look at fashion shows, I adore going to the cinema looking at history or adventure movies. I am a “theaterholic”  for attending cabarets and musicals, and like many others, I just love watching great award shows and the red carpet events!

In February 2010 I watched the Danish song contest “Melody Grand Prix”. Two years later, I only remember one of the competitors Kaya Brüel, and she didn’t even win! However, she wore the most spectacular dress, probably ever worn in that Danish song contest.
The dress was made of 92 metres fabric, thousands of Swarovski stones, and during the song she was lifted up 3 metres from the ground, so her dress suddenly became one big installation at the stage. The dress was designed by Grith Rahbek and she was inspired by the great Christian Dior in making this dress. 

I do not know if Grith Rahbek was inspired by exactly this dress from Christian Dior’s New Look Collection from 1947, but she might have been.

Kaya Brüel, Melodi Grand Prix 2010. Photos: Wouter van Vliet/EBU

In March 2011 I went to the Copenhagen Puppet Festival and saw many different puppet shows, which was a great experience for me, and an eye-opening introduction to a new world of theater.
I mainly remember one of the plays. We were all waiting outside freezing in a dark backyard in Copenhagen. When the doors were opened, we went inside to the sight of a very tall and sad white bride, who was playing the ukulele.

We had to descend some stairs before we could be seated in the dark rough cellar. I guess the bride was about 4 meters tall and she was very beautiful. When we were all seated, some of the skirt was folded to the side as a theater curtain, and the play of evolution and love took place inside of her dress between her legs. It was a fabulous play and the puppeteer is extremely talented.
The puppeteer has afterwards told me that she was inspired by the stilt walking buskers from the big cities.

Photos from and Flemming Mieritz at

“Lilith” by Astrid Kjær Jensen. Photos by Thomas Puschmann, 2011.

The 1st of October 2011 the Dutch designer-duo Viktor & Rolf launched their summer 2012 collection, by making the models enter the catwalk through the 4-5 meter tall tulle skirt of the two performing French singers The Brigittes. Viktor & Rolf love making dramatic and spectacular runway shows, and you expect to get entertained when you see their shows.

I think this tall gown installation was a beautiful way to surprise the audience and to make sure that all the busy runway editors would remember this show. I would have loved to see the show live!

I don’t know what inspired Viktor & Rolf to make their tall entrance gown, but the picture below might have inspired them.

Models on Stilts Present "High Fashion" on the Famous "Jungfernstieg" Boulevard in Hamburg, Germany, from

Photos from and 

Was Astrid Kjær also inspired by the dress of Kaya Brüel when she developed her play “Lilith”? Was Viktor & Rolf inspired by Astrid Kjær when they designed the catwalk entrance for their prêt-à-porter show SS 2012? They might have been, I don’t think so, but I do not know it!

We are all influenced by the contemporary trends and sometimes two designers come up with almost identical ideas at exactly the same time without knowing each other. All people have a certain amount of needs and a certain kind of needs, therefore many get the same ideas. But the way of bringing the idea to life can be very various.
I am sure that Kaya Brüel, Astrid Kjær and Viktor & Rolf all had different thoughts and visions for making these tall gowns. The look of the dresses is also very different though they resemble a lot. I adored all of the three gowns because they are spectacular, dramatic and taking the way of stage dressing to another level! Thanks to all of you!

Written by Malene from RedderRuby Costume Design

“Lilith” by Astrid Kjær Jensen. Photo by Thomas Puschmann, 2011.

The dress of Kaya Brüel, 2010.

1 comment:

RedderRuby Costume Design said...

Thanks for sharing my thoughts John. I think it looks even greater at your blog with those white frames around the pictures! Thanks! ;-)