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HomeDancePippa By Design: A Story of Ballet and Costumes

Pippa By Design: A Story of Ballet and Costumes


Eleven 12 months previous Pippa desires us to know that she is well bored by many issues: soccer, theater and swimming by no means held any curiosity for her, and he or she wouldn’t be caught useless in a dance class like her ballet-obsessed older sister, Verity, who research on the Nationwide Ballet of Canada in Toronto.

Pippa additionally desires us to know she is a budding artist and her ardour is sketching vogue. A serious fan of a actuality tv present known as Off The Rack, which sounds rather a lot like Undertaking Runway, she fills her lovely blue sketchbook with a great deal of fancy gown designs. It might be her best dream to be on a present like that and to be given a possibility to work with well-known vogue designers.

When Verity is chosen to be a supernumerary for “Sleeping Magnificence” along with her pals Noelle and Enid, Pippa is blissful for her however inwardly groaning that her sister will as soon as once more be the focus. She dives into her sketching and tries to not let her standing as second-fiddle overwhelm her.

A single misstep, nonetheless, adjustments Pippa’s life eternally: in the future she by chance leaves her beloved sketchbook on the dance studio and when she returns the following day to retrieve it, it’s gone! Nobody has seen it, not even Ida on the entrance desk who is aware of every little thing.

However then…it’s magically returned with a observe from a “secret admirer.” Pippa is thrilled to have the guide again and equally excited when the admirer seems to be the top of the dance firm’s wardrobe division, who invitations her to be taught extra about costume design. Fabulous!

All through the remainder of the guide, we be taught as Pippa learns:

Illustration by Chesley McLaren, courtesy of the writer

~the historical past of tutus

~the design of costumes

~the assorted personnel who design, match, and construct the costumes

We be taught strategies and phrases, do’s and don’ts. We even be taught the names and tales of influential costume designers by the ages, which is fascinating and much-deserved data to share with readers.

How typically will we hear the names of costume designers, until they’re additionally well-known on this planet of vogue? A correct costume is crucial for a dancer to carry out in, for the viewers to narrate to, for a set to be designed round, but most people doesn’t typically know who designed it and who created it.

Illustration by Chesley McLaren, courtesy of the writer

Not a kids’s image guide, Pippa By Design nonetheless has each charming illustrations and precise images which actually assist carry to life the schooling Pippa and the reader are getting. The guide’s viewers is technically readers age 7-10 which makes this a middle-grade guide, however a mother or father might simply learn this with their youthful youngster, particularly in the event that they have already got an curiosity in ballet, artwork, or costumes. Readers older than 10 may additionally benefit from the design and historical past classes.

We additionally be taught some historical past of the “Sleeping Magnificence” ballet itself, together with the adjustments Rudolf Nureyev made when he choreographed it for the Nationwide Ballet of Canada in 1972. He gave the manufacturing (and himself) two new male solos. Nureyev’s costume designer, Nicholas Georgiadis, even mined historical past in his creation of the costumes: he used designs from the times of Louis XIV for the primary act of the ballet whereas he used designs from the court docket of Louis XV after the “100 12 months sleep” spell ends.


Bonus! An interview with Writer Claudia Logan

Thanks a lot, Claudia, for taking the time to reply some questions I assumed is perhaps of curiosity to readers of all ages!

LP: Had been you extra like Pippa or Verity once you had been rising up?

CL: I used to be undoubtedly a “Pippa” who wished to be a Verity. I couldn’t get on board with the kinds of actions that appealed to most youngsters like sleepover camp, roller-coasters-jumping off diving boards… you get the concept. And like Pippa, I used to be fairly snarky. I used to be all the time in awe of these ladies who appeared to know precisely what to do. I missed that memo. However I all the time beloved studying, libraries, writing and writing with fountain pens, normal poodles, (truly all canine) and I’ve been instructed by dependable sources I’m nonetheless fairly snarky. What I hope readers take away is that even within the ballet world, there’s room for all types of individuals with completely different skills to seek out their place.

Did you ever need to examine ballet or dance? If you happen to didn’t, did one thing else intrigue you?

I did take ballet and stopped in the midst of a recital to look out from the stage for my household which ruined the quantity, “Ode to Bunnies” or one thing.  However my actual ardour was determine skating and though I skilled very severely for various years I used to be not adequate for competitors. Apparently, it’s not sufficient to wave your arms round like a windmill.

What impressed you to put in writing “Pippa by Design”?

Most of my concepts come from seeing one thing after which looking for the backstory.  Pippa took place once I was serving to a bookseller good friend with a retailer window on dance and requested if we might borrow a tutu from the Boston Ballet. The credit score for this guide actually goes to Howard Merlin from Boston Ballet’s Wardrobe Division who confirmed me across the cupboard space the place the costumes are stored and defined a few of what was happening in the principle work room. It was a little bit like falling in love – I knew instantly that this was my subsequent guide. From there I made a visit to NYCB (New York Metropolis Ballet) and talked to lots of people. One title stored developing and that was Marjory Fielding, the Wardrobe Head on the Nationwide Ballet of Canada which has the biggest costume store in North America.  I’m Canadian and had seen NBC carry out however neither reality ought to have given me the concept it was positive to make a chilly name to Marjory and babble on about my plans. It’s nonetheless a thriller as to why she didn’t grasp up however the finish end result was that I travelled to Toronto a number of instances a 12 months for 5 years and trailed round behind her. She is the guts and soul of this guide and I couldn’t have written it with out her. 

It was a really attention-grabbing alternative to border the fictional story of Pippa with the nonfiction historical past of the ballet. Which got here first? What/who did you select to fictionalize from the Nationwide Ballet of Canada?

Though I consider the road between fiction and non-fiction is thinner than one thinks, I additionally perceive and admire the the explanation why some reviewers and readers want to clarify distinctions between each genres. As a author I wish to take a hybrid method as a result of I believe info is extra enjoyable and attention-grabbing to learn inside the context of a narrative. However I’m an obsessive researcher and along with my on-site work I learn a whole lot of books and articles and consulted with folks like Valerie Steele, the Director of the Museum at FIT and one of many most-respected vogue historians. Pippa and the characters in her world are solely made up. Everybody else – the members of the Wardrobe Division – are actual and in reality, these folks needed to signal kinds in order that I might use their precise names, and for sure, all the data contained is correct.

How did you’re employed with the illustrator? Did you make adjustments to your story once you noticed her drawings?

I’m sorry to have to provide an extended reply to what’s an easy query. It has taken practically ten years for Pippa to achieve publication and I really feel extremely fortunate that Chesley didn’t throw within the towel as a result of this has been a protracted course of. Chesley and I began the guide beneath Frances Foster, a legendary kids’s guide editor who tragically died as we had been about to do one final revision of what was a a lot shorter and easier model of the story. 

After that the guide languished for just a few years till Margaret Ferguson, one other well-known kids’s guide editor who had been at FSG for thirty years and is now at Vacation Home graciously took over and introduced a distinct imaginative and prescient which concerned various revisions on my half. 

Each Frances and Margaret would have these conferences which introduced everybody collectively from the artwork director to the guide designer, in addition to Chesley and myself, and these had been essential by way of establishing a shared imaginative and prescient.  Pippa additionally consists of images and ephemera which create extra challenges for an illustrator and everybody else concerned with the guide’s design which made this sort of collaborative method particularly essential. Many homes at the moment are phasing it out which I believe is regrettable as a result of in the long term it prevents having to do plenty of revisions and adjustments. Along with being a beautiful illustrator, Chesley was a clothier and introduced an entire degree of understanding to the mission and this guide is as a lot hers as mine.



Author Claudia LoganClaudia Logan is the creator of The 5 Thousand Yr Outdated Puzzle, a Financial institution Road Greatest E-book of the Yr in 2003. She will not be a dancer, however this doesn’t stop her from carrying tulle when she walks her two normal poodles or doing jetes on the dinner desk to the dismay of her husband and two kids. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Chesley McLaren has sketched portraits at Chanel, signed prints at Louis Vuitton, and offered her work at The Chicago Artwork Institute. Along with her books— Zat Cat, A Haute Couture Tail, Scholastic Press; When Royals Wore Ruffles, Random Home; The Princess Diaries sequence, HarperCollins—she has created home windows and promoting for Saks Fifth Avenue, murals for Bergdorf Goodman, animation and package deal design for Laura Mercier, mannequins for Ralph Pucci, and silk scarves for the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork. Chesley lives in Chatham, New York.


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