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George Wu: Fashion Fit For A Ballet Dancer

Published in Fashion  
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George Wu is one of Brisbane's most talented and sought-after fashion designers, and now he's taking on the dance world.

Well... Sort of. For the first time, he's designing costumes for the dancers performing in Queensland Ballet's 'Raw' season.

In particular, 'Glass Concerto' which is one of the three shows playing in the season. Here, he talks about the collection, the challenges and the inspirations behind the fashion.

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George, you've designed some pretty incredible pieces over your career, is this your first time working with the Queensland ballet?
Yes, It has been my first time working with Queensland Ballet and I couldn’t imagine anyone else to work with outside of my fashion/bridal industry, because it really gave me an insight about the aspects of combining fashion and active/performance wear together. The QLD Ballet team work seamlessly together and I’ve gained such a great experience seeing how a successful company work together. Every team member plays an important role and they work to support each other… This inspires me on how to run a successful fashion design team for my own work.

What has been the biggest challenge for you so far with the designs?
The best thing I’ve learnt about is the functionality of the garments which is a great challenge in fashion design because I need to be aware that these pieces have movement purposes beside the look and art direction. It has been an amazing learning curve for me to understand the cohesion of aesthetics versus movements.

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Image © Danielle Renshaw

Do you have a favourite piece in the collection? Can you tell us what it is?
My favourite piece in the collection is the unitard worn by the ballerinas, as it offers body support while the design emphasises the curve form and the costume team had great know-how to conquer the elimination of side seam on the side see-through panel. The ballerina’s costume comes in layers to show the contrast of black layering which is quite sultry, seductive and modern.

What kind of look have you been channeling for costumes?
What has been your biggest inspiration for the designs that you've created for the performance? After watching the performance ideas, I really felt the dance movements needed to incorporate the idea of calm with passion, so I thought 'black is the best colour to start the design process' as it symbolises serenity and seduction. The music was channeling classical mood and I also wanted to bring my love of glossy black piano into the theme, so the final designs had to feel glamorous, lightweight, dark, geometric, soft and effortless.

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Image © Danielle Renshaw

What has been your favourite part about working with Greg Horsman (choreographer) for 'Glass Concerto' and has it inspired you for any designs in the future?
The best part of the journey was to understand Greg’s vision and how he described the dancer’s movements, which inspired me to design costumes that show my understanding of the art direction and movements with my personal style. This project has also changed the way I see performance costume, as I am now not so limited to just how fashion consumers make their purchase decision, but more about how I can create a visual impact for the audiences.

You can see George's costumes in 'Glass Concerto' as part of 'Raw' at Queensland Performing Arts Centre from 17-25 March.

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