Tim Van Steenbergen costumes for Blood & Roses. The Song of Joan and Gilles
From Poiret to Chanel, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Prada, Karl Lagerfeld and Rodarte, it seems many fashion designers have maintained fiery affairs with costume design over the years. Tim Van Steenbergen is no exception, a young designer from Antwerp who launched his first collection in Paris in 2002, closely followed by his debut in the world of theatre back in 2004. After several mighty collaborations, including the opera Hanjo, directed by Anne Teresa De Keersmaecker, D’un soir un jour for Rosas/La Monnaie and leading Belgium theatre-maker Guy Cassiers’ Hersenschimmen, Triptych of Power and the opera House of the Sleeping Beauties, he now once again answers the holy calling of Cassiers to design the costumes for Blood & Roses. The Song of Joan and Gilles.
The visually stunning production focuses on the powerful story of Joan of Arc, the simple peasant girl who claims to have been instructed by God to take up arms and drive the English out of France. A strong and virtuous character, Joan gradually wins enough influential support to raise an army by the age of 17. After a number of spectacular victories, she is captured and burned alive at the stake as a witch. She was only 19 years old. At the same time, the play speaks to us about Gilles de Rais, a French nobleman who fought on Joan’s side, later succumbing to sorcery and sodomy after her death.
It’s a dense plot, brought alive by the fruitful collaboration between the direction of Cassiers, writer Tom Lanoye and composer Dominique Pauwels, a true tale of power, religion, justice and dangerous fundamentalism, with the atrocities of the fifteenth century acting as a mirror for the turbulent times we currently live in.
As for the intricate and refined costumes by Tim Van Steenbergen, they talk to us about passion, tradition and craftsmanship, creating a perfect blend of history, dream and imagination with a touch of the unusual in contemporary design. For those who don’t believe fashion can be a form of art, Tim proves the contrary and that, as Joan of Arc would have said, he is not afraid…he was born to do this.