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A Story of Ballet and Costumes

Eleven 12 months outdated Pippa needs us to know that she is definitely bored by many issues: soccer, theater and swimming by no means held any curiosity for her, and he or she wouldn’t be caught useless in a dance class like her ballet-obsessed older sister, Verity, who research on the Nationwide Ballet of Canada in Toronto.

Pippa additionally needs us to know she is a budding artist and her ardour is sketching trend. A serious fan of a actuality tv present known as Off The Rack, which sounds so much like Undertaking Runway, she fills her stunning blue sketchbook with a great deal of fancy costume designs. It could be her biggest dream to be on a present like that and to be given a possibility to work with well-known trend designers.

When Verity is chosen to be a supernumerary for “Sleeping Magnificence” along with her buddies Noelle and Enid, Pippa is pleased for her however inwardly groaning that her sister will as soon as once more be the focus. She dives into her sketching and tries to not let her standing as second-fiddle overwhelm her.

A single misstep, nonetheless, adjustments Pippa’s life perpetually: someday she by accident leaves her beloved sketchbook on the dance studio and when she returns the subsequent day to retrieve it, it’s gone! Nobody has seen it, not even Ida on the entrance desk who is aware of all the pieces.

However then…it’s magically returned with a notice from a “secret admirer.” Pippa is thrilled to have the e-book again and equally excited when the admirer seems to be the pinnacle of the dance firm’s wardrobe division, who invitations her to study extra about costume design. Fabulous!

All through the remainder of the e-book, we study as Pippa learns:

Illustration by Chesley McLaren, courtesy of the writer

~the historical past of tutus

~the design of costumes

~the varied personnel who design, match, and construct the costumes

We study strategies and phrases, do’s and don’ts. We even study the names and tales of influential costume designers via the ages, which is fascinating and much-deserved data to share with readers.

How usually can we hear the names of costume designers, except they’re additionally well-known on this planet of trend? A correct costume is essential for a dancer to carry out in, for the viewers to narrate to, for a set to be designed round, but most people doesn’t usually know who designed it and who created it.

Illustration by Chesley McLaren, courtesy of the writer

Not a youngsters’s image e-book, Pippa By Design nonetheless has each charming illustrations and precise images which actually assist convey to life the schooling Pippa and the reader are getting. The e-book’s viewers is technically readers age 7-10 which makes this a middle-grade e-book, however a guardian might simply learn this with their youthful baby, particularly in the event that they have already got an curiosity in ballet, artwork, or costumes. Readers older than 10 may additionally benefit from the design and historical past classes.

We additionally study some historical past of the “Sleeping Magnificence” ballet itself, together with the adjustments Rudolf Nureyev made when he choreographed it for the Nationwide Ballet of Canada in 1972. He gave the manufacturing (and himself) two new male solos. Nureyev’s costume designer, Nicholas Georgiadis, even mined historical past in his creation of the costumes: he used designs from the times of Louis XIV for the primary act of the ballet whereas he used designs from the court docket of Louis XV after the “100 12 months sleep” spell ends.


Bonus! An interview with Writer Claudia Logan

Thanks a lot, Claudia, for taking the time to reply some questions I believed could be of curiosity to readers of all ages!

LP: Had been you extra like Pippa or Verity while you have been rising up?

CL: I used to be undoubtedly a “Pippa” who needed to be a Verity. I couldn’t get on board with the forms of actions that appealed to most youngsters like sleepover camp, roller-coasters-jumping off diving boards… you get the thought. And like Pippa, I used to be fairly snarky. I used to be all the time in awe of these women who appeared to know precisely what to do. I missed that memo. However I all the time beloved studying, libraries, writing and writing with fountain pens, normal poodles, (really all canine) and I’ve been instructed by dependable sources I’m nonetheless fairly snarky. What I hope readers take away is that even within the ballet world, there’s room for all types of individuals with completely different skills to seek out their place.

Did you ever wish to research ballet or dance? If you happen to didn’t, did one thing else intrigue you?

I did take ballet and stopped in the midst of a recital to look out from the stage for my household which ruined the quantity, “Ode to Bunnies” or one thing.  However my actual ardour was determine skating and though I educated very critically for quite a lot of years I used to be not ok for competitors. Apparently, it’s not sufficient to wave your arms round like a windmill.

What impressed you to put in writing “Pippa by Design”?

Most of my concepts come from seeing one thing after which looking for the backstory.  Pippa took place after I was serving to a bookseller buddy with a retailer window on dance and requested if we might borrow a tutu from the Boston Ballet. The credit score for this e-book actually goes to Howard Merlin from Boston Ballet’s Wardrobe Division who confirmed me across the cupboard space the place the costumes are stored and defined a few of what was happening in the primary work room. It was just a little like falling in love – I knew instantly that this was my subsequent e-book. From there I made a visit to NYCB (New York Metropolis Ballet) and talked to lots of people. One title stored developing and that was Marjory Fielding, the Wardrobe Head on the Nationwide Ballet of Canada which has the most important costume store in North America.  I’m Canadian and had seen NBC carry out however neither reality ought to have given me the thought it was advantageous to make a chilly name to Marjory and babble on about my plans. It’s nonetheless a thriller as to why she didn’t grasp up however the finish outcome was that I travelled to Toronto a number of occasions a 12 months for 5 years and trailed round behind her. She is the center and soul of this e-book and I couldn’t have written it with out her. 

It was a really fascinating alternative to border the fictional story of Pippa with the nonfiction historical past of the ballet. Which got here first? What/who did you select to fictionalize from the Nationwide Ballet of Canada?

Though I consider the road between fiction and non-fiction is thinner than one thinks, I additionally perceive and respect the the reason why some reviewers and readers choose to clarify distinctions between each genres. As a author I wish to take a hybrid strategy as a result of I believe data is extra enjoyable and fascinating to learn throughout the context of a narrative. However I’m an obsessive researcher and along with my on-site work I learn a whole lot of books and articles and consulted with folks like Valerie Steele, the Director of the Museum at FIT and one of many most-respected trend historians. Pippa and the characters in her world are solely made up. Everybody else – the members of the Wardrobe Division – are actual and in reality, these folks needed to signal types in order that I might use their precise names, and for sure, all the knowledge contained is correct.

How did you’re employed with the illustrator? Did you make adjustments to your story while you noticed her drawings?

I’m sorry to have to offer an extended reply to what’s a simple query. It has taken almost ten years for Pippa to achieve publication and I really feel extremely fortunate that Chesley didn’t throw within the towel as a result of this has been a protracted course of. Chesley and I began the e-book beneath Frances Foster, a legendary youngsters’s e-book editor who tragically died as we have been about to do one final revision of what was a a lot shorter and easier model of the story. 

After that the e-book languished for just a few years till Margaret Ferguson, one other well-known youngsters’s e-book editor who had been at FSG for thirty years and is now at Vacation Home graciously took over and introduced a special imaginative and prescient which concerned quite a lot of revisions on my half. 

Each Frances and Margaret would have these conferences which introduced everybody collectively from the artwork director to the e-book designer, in addition to Chesley and myself, and these have been essential by way of establishing a shared imaginative and prescient.  Pippa additionally consists of images and ephemera which create extra challenges for an illustrator and everybody else concerned with the e-book’s design which made this type of collaborative strategy particularly necessary. Many homes at the moment are phasing it out which I believe is regrettable as a result of in the long term it prevents having to do lots of revisions and adjustments. Along with being an exquisite illustrator, Chesley was a dressmaker and introduced a complete degree of understanding to the venture and this e-book is as a lot hers as mine.



Author Claudia LoganClaudia Logan is the creator of The 5 Thousand 12 months Previous Puzzle, a Financial institution Road Greatest Ebook of the 12 months in 2003. She shouldn’t be a dancer, however this doesn’t forestall her from carrying tulle when she walks her two normal poodles or doing jetes on the dinner desk to the dismay of her husband and two youngsters. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Chesley McLaren has sketched portraits at Chanel, signed prints at Louis Vuitton, and offered her work at The Chicago Artwork Institute. Along with her books— Zat Cat, A Haute Couture Tail, Scholastic Press; When Royals Wore Ruffles, Random Home; The Princess Diaries sequence, HarperCollins—she has created home windows and promoting for Saks Fifth Avenue, murals for Bergdorf Goodman, animation and package deal design for Laura Mercier, mannequins for Ralph Pucci, and silk scarves for the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork. Chesley lives in Chatham, New York.


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