Isabella Samuelsson is a graduating Performance Costume student.  For her two final-year projects she chose to do Animal Farm by George Orwell as a contemporary stage production, and as a second project do her own script for a catastrophe thriller feature film called Ischgl - Relax. If you can.   

Animal Farm

Animal Farm was written in 1943-1944 by George Orwell, published in 1945. It is an allegorical novella that tells the story of a farm of animals that rebels against their human farmer, hoping to create a farm where the animals are in control, free and happy. Eventually the animals are betrayed and the farms end in a worse state under the dictatorship of a pig called Napoleon. George Orwell wrote the fable as a reflection of the events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union.

For my production of Animal Farm I wanted to make it as a stage production set in a modern, parallel, time. It is inspired by the real characters that the book is originally based on, from 20th century Russia, but also with some inspiration from 21st century politicians and world events. I wanted all the animals to be very human-like but with animal faces, as headpieces. The costumes are inspired by different historical silhouettes, with some details inspired by Russian fashion at the time before the first world war. I wanted to work with contemporary textiles and materials to make it a bright and eye catching production. There is going to be a transition in the costume throughout the show, so that the pigs are getting more and more decorated and human-like by the end of the play. I have mainly used colours that are associated with the different kinds of animals but very exaggerated. I wanted to use sheer, transparent, iridescent or shiny fabrics to get a look that is very unnatural and catch the audience’s attention. 

For my costume make for the main pig character, Napoleon, I wanted it too look intimidating and extravagant at the same time. The fabrics are a combination of sheer and shiny quilted iridescent organza and sturdy cotton drill to create a wet look.

Pig Napoleon Full Side View
Napoleon Side View expand
Pig Napoleon Corset Close Up expand
Pig Napoleon Full Costume expand
Pig Napoleon Backlit expand
Pig Napoleon expand
Napoleon Think Pose expand
Napoleon Military Pose expand
Pig Napoleon Headpiece Close Up expand
Illustrations for Animal Farm expand
Ischgl - Relax. If you can.

This project is inspired by one of the first major outbreak of Covid-19 in Europe, starting in the ski resort Ischgl in Austria in the end of February 2020. The corona virus was first discovered in China in late December 2019 and after finding positive cases in more and more countries around the world, the WHO declared it a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in January 2020 and a pandemic in March. By the time the virus was discovered in Ischgl, Austria there had only been a few cases in the rest of Europe with most of them associated to traveling from places where the virus was more prevalent. The authorities have been widely criticised for not acting earlier to prevent the spread of the virus in the ski resorts, causing around 2000 cases in 45 different countries that can be linked to the resort.

For my project that is set in the same ski resort, Ischgl, I wanted to do a dark catastrophic, thriller movie that explores how the humankind reacts in a crisis. It is set a few years into the future, around 5-8, in a high class ski resort where the rich goes to ski and party. It has a lot of other entertainment and activities for the ones who do not ski, such as spas, high end fashion stores and concerts. On the other side of the mountain, in a bunker, there is a medical science experiment going on, controlled by a private pharmacy company with a powerful business man leading the experiment. Because of a security breach, some of the dangerous components they are working on is released and causes a big outbreak of a mysterious disease on the other side of the mountain, in the ski resort.

The main theme of the movie will explore how different characters deal with the situation and also highlight the differences between the classes and the power balance between the well-off ski resort visitors and the slightly less well-off workers. The authorities struggle to decide what to value the most, whether it is to avoid further spread, keeping the economy going or to keep the rich and powerful well and happy. I want the costumes for this project to reflect that it is in the future and it is a sci-fi movie but I also want the clothes to feel relevant to an audience today. I want the contrast between the resort and the bunker to be clear by using very bright and colourful textiles for the characters in the resort and very dull and toned down colour palette for the workers in the bunker. For my textiles I want it to include a lot of knitting, and using different techniques to get the characteristics across. The shapes of the ski outfits are inspired by ski fashion throughout history, with some details preserved to illustrate how fashion is cyclical and that it is only supposed to be slightly in the future. The cuts of the outfits should be recognisable but feel new, fresh and exciting. 

Ischgl - Julia Ski Outfit expand
Ischgl - Julia Knit expand
Ischgl - Julia Full Costume expand
Ischgl - Julia Ski Jacket expand
Ischgl - Julia Knit Back View expand
Ischgl - Julia Lining and Pocket expand
Ischgl - Julia Back View expand
Ischgl - Julia opening End Zip on Trousers expand
Illustrations for Ischgl - Relax. If you can. expand