“La mode, c’est ce qui se démode”
“Fashion is what goes out of style” Jean Cocteau
“Cocteau is aware of the slightest manifestation of fashion and believes in its poetic reality” Margaret Crosland
Fashion was central to the world of Jean Cocteau. The costume design in his films and plays merged closely with the world of fashion – the designer for Orphée, Marcel Escoffier, would test costumes on a young Pierre Cardin, Cocteau was friends with Paul Poiret, he designed a fabric for Charles James, he knew all of the couturiers in Paris. Styling and design are a key part of the film Orphée, where each character is as immaculately dressed as Cocteau himself.
In this production we have reflected on the close friendships between Cocteau and Coco Chanel, who designed costumes for productions by him and remained a close friend for life, paying for Cocteau’s seven trips to rehab for opium addiction, and Elsa Schiaparelli, the innovative and eccentric Italian designer and Cocteau’s close collaborator. These two extraordinary women of fashion also famously hated each other.
Chanel derided Schiaparelli’s affection for lurid pink – the only colour prescribed by Cocteau in the 1926 play of Orphée where Deaths costume is described as a hot pink ball gown. Schiaparelli dismissed the greatly more successful and affluent Chanel as ‘the woman who makes hats’.
The designs for Orphée refer to their work, designs from the Orphée trilogy of films by Cocteau, or references to the incidents in the lives of Jean Cocteau or Philip Glass.
Orphée Costume Supervisor | Zeb Lalljee
Costume Design | Netia Jones
Additional Research & styling | Karina Tanabe Jones