Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, adjunct associate professor of industrial design and fashion design, has designed a number of high-tech costumes for the Brooklyn Ballet’s production of The Brooklyn Nutcracker, which was performed for sold-out audiences at the Brooklyn Museum from December 7-9 and on December 11.
The Brooklyn Nutcracker fuses ballet, hip-hop, and other dance genres to reimagine the holiday classic. This year’s multi-sensory production experiments with light- and motion-responsive costumes, including luminescent, fiber-optic costumes designed by Pailes-Friedman, who is known for her contributions to the field of wearable technology.
“Brooklyn Ballet Artistic Director Lynn Parkerson’s vision to combine cultural elements that reflect what is happening today in both dance and in art with the traditional ballet art form brought her to Pratt, where I met her through [School of Design Dean] Anita Cooney,” Pailes-Friedman explained about her involvement in the production. Pratt alumna Molly Glover (B.F.A. Fashion Design ’15) worked with Pailes-Friedman as Assistant Costume Designer on the project, and a number of current students assisted by hand-sewing fiber optics.
Inspired by the combination of nature and technology, Pailes-Friedman designed costumes for the “Waltz of the Flowers” that unfurl like a secret garden. The tutus feature a traditional Degas ballet silhouette constructed with fiber optics and layers of hand dyed fabric, while costumes for the Garden Sprites and demi-soloists have hidden screen-printed art that reveals itself under UV light. The garden comes to life with a glistening Dew Drop adorned with laser cut flowers in mylar and Swarovski crystals.
Learn more about The Brooklyn Nutcracker.
Image: Brooklyn Nutcracker dancer in costume designed by Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman (photo: courtesy of Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman)