Virtual Museum

Virtual Museum

Desmond Heeley

Black Swan costume

Black Swan costume from Swan Lake designed by Desmond Heeley (1967). Photo by Paulina Kulacz.

Black Swan tutu

Black Swan tutu from Swan Lake designed by Desmond Heeley (1979). Photo by Paulina Kulacz.

Heeley designed Swan Lake for The National Ballet of Canada in 1967. From beginning to end, this production of Swan Lake was extravagant with gorgeous costumes and stylish settings, full of gloomy splendor. The costumes from this production were redesigned by Heeley in 1979. Here, the 1967 Black Swan costume stands alongside the 1979 Black Swan tutu.

Both costumes are steeped in a Gothic ambiance which exudes fantasy and accentuates the fairytale nature of the ballet. The 1979 Black Swan tutu, however, conveys a fine sense of contemporary sparseness compared to the 1967 tutu.

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Top image credit: The National Ballet of Canada tutus on display. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.