Which of you can embody both swans? The white and the black?
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake has been performed on stages around the world for more than a century, and in 2010, director Darren Aronofsky brought the ballet to life on the silver screen in Black Swan, a psychological thriller centered on a fictional ballet company in New York.
Amy Westcott was brought on board as the head costume designer for the film, collaborating also with Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte (who created seven outfits total, including the black and white swan costumes) and American Ballet Theatre’s Zack Brown (who created the corps costumes). Westcott studied books, movies and actual dancers in order to achieve a realistic portrayal of the ballet world, but confessed the task “wasn’t easy.”
"The most beneficial form of research for me was the relationships I formed with actual ballet dancers from American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet," she said. "I watched them in rehearsals and talked to them for hours. It allowed me a view into the ballet world, watching them break in their shoes to taking off layers during class. I would covertly take their pictures while they were coming and going to classes to get the right feel for outerwear and bags. We really wanted it to be realistic as possible."