Costume 'The Sleeping Beauty" by Oliver Messel

Costume for Princess Aurora in Act l of 'The Sleeping Beauty' worn by Margot Fonteyn - Designed by Oliver Messel.

The Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London
1960 - Museum no. S.301 - 2001.

Ballet Costume Designed by Oliver Messel
Sadler’s Wells Ballet, Royal Opera House, London,
1946 - Museum no. S.12-2006

Messel’s most famous production design was for Marius Petipa’s ballet 'The Sleeping Beauty' designed for the Sadler’s Wells (now Royal) Ballet in 1946. This costume was for the Queen in Act I. Against the muted background, the costumes sang out in his favourite bold colours - claret pink, sage green, turquoise, ultramarine, yellow and grey - which are both characteristic of him and of his time.

Over 25 years, the ballet was danced over 1150 times, adapting to changing fashion and audiences. In 1946, rationing meant that everything had to be on cheap and colour ranges were restricted. With the lifting of rationing and restricted budgets, the costumes were remade in richer silks and gold tissue; details became more fantastic and colour was heightened; the silhouette of the costumes subtly shifted and the amount of decoration was streamlined.

Costume for Princess Aurora in Act I of Marius Petipa’s Ballet 'The Sleeping Beauty'
Designed by Oliver Messel, worn by Margot Fonteyn
Sadler’s Wells (now Royal) Ballet, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London
1946, remade about 1960
Museum no. S.55-1992

Fuente www.vam.ac.uk