The aim of this research ‘Character through coupe’ is to develop an integrated costume design method. Researcher and costume designer Chris Snik want to demonstrate the importance of a thorough collaboration between designer and performer, in which the creation of an idea and the elaboration of a costume interact dialectically. Coupe is a key concept in this vision. Costumes with a good fit are not possible without coupe, which can give the right accents to body shapes and thus construct a character.
However, in fashion and costume design, little or no research had been done on coupe yet. Although the costume (and therefore the coupe) is becoming increasingly important in the contemporary performing arts, less and less time, resources and expertise are being used. In an ever-shorter rehearsal process, it is often not possible to create in an integrated way. Within costume design, concept development and production are often seen as separate activities. Collaboration with the performers is almost always minimal.
With this research, Snik wants to bridge the gap between the (moving) body and the expression of the performer on the one hand, and the concept and creative process of a costume on the other hand. Through literature, the study of designer pieces, field research and artistic experiments with performers, the character and body of the performer will be shaped in the final performance by means of coupe. Snik will collaborate with Karel Tuytschaever, Klaas De Vos, Daniel Poulson, Bart Van Merode, Katleen Vinck, Cees Janssens and Pieter Desmet. The findings of this research will provide guidelines for designers (in training), performers and theatre makers.