Duchess of Cambridge to Visit Costume Department at The Royal Opera House

Duchess of Cambridge to Become Patron of V&A Museum



Wednesday 16th January, 2019

The Duchess of Cambridge will visit the Costume Department at The Royal Opera House on Wednesday 16th January to learn more about their use of textiles, commissioning of fabrics and supply chain. The visit will allow Her Royal Highness to find out more about the scale of the department’s work and how different textiles influence various costumes.

The textile and manufacturing industry is an area of interest to The Duchess. Her Royal Highness’ great-great-grandfather, Francis Martineau Lupton, was a mill owner who ran the family’s successful textile manufacturing business, William Lupton & Company, with his three brothers.

The Royal Opera House Costume Department is responsible for creating, refurbishing and conserving thousands of opera and ballet costumes per season, with up to 600 costumes per production. Up to 10,000 costumes are used each year by artists from The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera House. The department has built up a historic costume collection of more than 5,000 items, including some dating back to 1861. Many of the costumes are used time and time again thanks to good maintenance and repair. It takes the entire revival workroom around 1,500 hours to refurbish the costumes.

During her visit to the Costume Department, Her Royal Highness will visit the pattern room where she will be shown the process of working and creating costumes for a new production with designers, including sourcing fabrics and samples. The Duchess will then visit the dye shop where staff will showcase different techniques including dyeing, hand-painting, staining garments and digital printing which allows the team to reproduce historic fabrics no longer available. Her Royal Highness will also meet costumiers in the Work Room working on multiple new shows.

Before departing, The Duchess will then meet with Royal Ballet Principal Dancers Lauren Cuthbertson, Laura Morera and Vadim Muntagirov who will explain how various factors such as lighting, interaction and movement influence the designs of their costumes. Her Royal Highness will then watch the dancers rehearsing the romantic Ballet The Two Pigeons.

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