Napoleon Sleeves

The brief for this project was; On Christmas Eve 1800, a bomb exploded in a horse and cart on Rue Saint-Nicaise in Paris, killing several innocent civilians – the first recorded use of an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) in an act of terrorism. The target, Napoleon, was on his way to the opera to watch the opening of Hadyn’s Creation, and had passed the so called ‘Infernal Machine’ seconds before it detonated, narrowly escaping the blast… Several high-class women, also on the way to the opera, were caught up in the explosion. Their clothes were damaged but they escaped harm.

The Director and Designer for the Arcola would like to see a range of examples of items worn by these women, specifically their sleeves. These will need to explain the story and circumstances as well as class, weather and crest historical details. Each student is to create 2 or more sleeve samples each demonstrating at least 3 textile techniques and suitable distressing and breaking down techniques to explain the story.

Arcola is committed to environmental sustainability and is aiming to be the world’s first carbon neutral theatre. Set and costume design is an important consideration in this and they are looking to work with makers who embrace this challenge.

Inspiration should be sought through extensive primary and secondary research from a range of sources. Techniques to include however not limited to: Textiles techniques such as colour matching and mixing, colour dyeing, printmaking, machine and hand embroidery, surface decoration, beading, appliqué.

Breaking down techniques such as paint, dye, and glue to masquerade as mud, sweat, blood; the impression of burning should be produced with dye and paint.