(Costume Designer)
Costume designer Nicky Gillibrand chose to view costumes for Chout (1921), by Mikhail Larionov, and Le Bal (1929), by Giorgio De Chirico, on her visit to the archive.  In De Chirico’s Le Bal costumes she noted the fragmented and beautifully painted suits for the ‘Guests’, which made use of seams and construction panels to show the duplicity of the characters.  As three-dimensional, tailored paintings of the Surrealist artist, they reveal the potential of costume when perceived as art. In the Larionov costumes for Chout, unrestrained in their play with scale, proportion and contrast, Gillibrand saw the poverty of the material used and the rawness of the construction, itself adding to their expressiveness.

In developing the costumes for the Young Vic’s production of Government Inspector in June 2011, Nicky Gillibrand used old suits and uniforms she unearthed in their theatre store. Reconstructing and layering them with new, extended forms, she commented implicitly on the artificiality of the characters that wear them, as made evident here in her drawings matched with Keith Pattison’s photographs.  Nicky Gillibrand’s costumes, in the process of being brought to life on stage, continue the artistic process started on the page. She has spoken in the past about how she “draws and draws” until her drawings “felt like the characters”.

Peopled by pretentious and dysfunctional characters wearing Gillibrand’s anachronistic, self-deluding and ‘inbred’ costumes, Government Inspector describes a world governed by the autocratic, egotistical despot, ‘Mayor’. The costumes are drawn eclectically from a broad range of sources to communicate an absurd reality, which is nonetheless somewhat familiar.

All drawings are by Nicky Gillibrand; all photographs are by Keith Pattison.

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1. Civil Servants
2. Uniform colour idea
3. Mayor's Servants
4. Town Officials
5. The Poor of Russia.