What is the first thing you think of when you picture seaweed? For fourth year Ryerson fashion design student Nicola Place, a trip to Montreal’s bio-dome aquarium inspired her final project – a collection of dance-wear pieces influenced by the graceful, calming movement of seaweed. This collection – entitled Kinsphere – is inspired by the kinsphere which is the 3D space around the body in which all movement happens. Each piece is designed specifically for a dancer’s movement so that while beautiful they are still functional for performance. Featuring blue, green, and beige fitted spandex and mesh bodysuits and hand-dyed silk chiffon skirts, each piece was designed with dance and movement in mind – from the fit to the fabric.
With a background as a dancer herself, Nicola has firsthand knowledge of the specific costume needs of a dancer, giving her an upper hand when designing comfortable and beautiful dance-wear. As well as her experience dancing, Nicola also works in the wardrobe department of Canada’s National Ballet School where she learned about the construction of dance-wear. Nicola credits her experience with the school as the reason for pursuing a collection in dance-wear as her final project and says that she “wouldn’t be able to be successful in this collection without people like [her] boss and coworkers [at the Ballet School] to help along the way”.
Her work with the Ballet School has allowed her to explore fashion in different applications other than on the runway. Costume design such as what Nicola creates is made “for the stage, not the runway” and a lot of costumes never get the chance to walk down a runway. While showing her collection on Ryerson’s Mass Exodus, Nicola has the unique opportunity to showcase costumes in a new environment outside of it’s intended application. Nicola is also working with a choreographer in hopes of having her models dance the pieces down the runway and later on a stage.
After graduating, Nicola plans to continue designing costumes and although dancewear is the final goal, expanding into theatre and film costume along the way wouldn’t be out of the question. You can catch Nicola’s amazing collection Kinsphere on the 2017 Mass Exodus runway as she pushes the limits of movement and costume.