Stricly A Game Of Chess

Fresh from the streets with bags of candy!
Just in case your now catching on to our latest exciting achievement, last Sunday (November 1st) saw Mystic Magic yet again rising to new heights as we had a collection of headwear designs showcased on none other than Strictly Come Dancing!!
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The Strictly Come Dancing dancers – (C) BBC – Photographer: Guy Levy
Maybe you might be able to remember last year when we custom made the Ravenna Crown for celebrity professional dancer Kristina Rihanoff in Strictly's Halloween Snow White pro dance routine..
Well this year we was beyond ecstatically honoured to be set the challenge of creating way more than just one design, in fact we had to magic up 12 headpieces for almost all the celebrity pro dancers to wear and in under a week!
Won't even begin to explain the hypo mix of crazy emotions I personally had, just picture a squirrel drinking coffee...
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The theme was set to take on the story of a chess match in which the dominating Red King and Queen commanded the board in a living 'Game Of Chess' unlike none other and with a totally unique ballet infused twist. 

 A fast pace routine that definitely brought an epic finish to Strictly's Halloween Special 2015.
Here's a chance to catch the dance again in case you missed it or if like us, we had to watch a few times to take everything in - ballet on steroids!

 So with less than a week to complete a whole collection in, Where do you start?
Firstly you need head sizes then mood boards and by then I was staying up all night ironically watching Nightmare on Elm Street gathering my ideas.

We got the brief emailed to us by the Friday (Oct 23rd) from Strictly's costume department and by Monday I was ready to get making.
As with previous briefs the main point to always keep in mind is that the headpieces have to be light and secure to dance in. I almost immediately thought of using light felt for most of the bases and secure elastics for the rest. This was perfect to get started on and with a few extra finishing details I had all my plain materials ready and waiting.
Whenever creating something I like to think of the materials as ingredients to a recipe, you can't complete it if you don't have everything at home.
(Thankfully I had a certain someone who helped with all the running about back and forth to the local haberdashery shop...)

Normally I would have a great set of images to present all the finished designs in close up detail but sadly this time round I literally had not a second to spare in taking portfolio photos so much so that even when the personal BBC studios courier man came all the way up from London to collect the completed pieces at 2am in the morning!!, I was still in a zombie elf state finishing final details off.
Thank god for tea and biscuits - a great time occupier!

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Above is a ruff picture of the Black Rook headpiece designed for New pro dancer, Gleb Savchenko, and below is a slightly more presentable image of the White King Crown worn by Aljaz Skorjanec

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With being asked to make 12 designs split into two lots, 6 black and 6 white, to represent both sides of the chess board, I was given practically full reign on designing each chess piece to how I wanted as long as they were noticeably striking in what value they held on the board.
I give the white pieces something with a little more softer delicate feel using a floral lace, while the black headpieces were given a very different sharper edge with a kind of twisted shadow puppet tree feel.
When it came to representing the value of each piece I dedicated the way I embellished the designs down to it's ranking. Pawns were given minimal details, Rooks had a hint of silver spikes, Knights were also fairly minimal but had a touch of bling for armour, Bishops had gold details and finally Kings/Queens got the sparkly diamond seal.

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Above is the White Queen headpiece who was worn by celebrity dancer Janette Manrara  and below is the White Bishop worn by Kevin Clifton.
Notice the golden bird skull on the bishop piece, within a lot of my latest works I've become a little obsessed with life and death!
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For the last part on this blog post I want to give out a HUGE thank you to all the very helpful lovely ladies at the Fent shop who supported and gave great advice throughout this whole experience, and another BIG thank you to my fantastic family neighbours Justin and Sarah for your brilliant DIY horse cutting head help and skull drilling!
Also I want to especially thank Esra from BBC costume for giving me this magnificent opportunity second time round and allowing me to share my magic with the world.
My Nana was a huge fan of Strictly and never missed an episode so as always I dedicate this showcase to her.



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