Choreographer Tero Saarinen always pays strong attention to the design elements in his works, and costuming is no exception. Enter fashion designer Teemu Muurimäki, who designed the wardrobe for Morphed, which will performed at The Joyce Oct 18 – 22. Muurimäki has worked in Paris, Milan and Sydney, designing for major international brands such as Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and, most recently, the iconic Finnish design house Marimekko. We sat down with him to learn more about his first collaboration in dance.
Was this your first collaboration with Tero? How did you and Tero initially connect?
Morphed was my first costume design for Tero Saarinen Company. Tero and I had looked for an opportunity to work together already since we met in Paris several years ago. We are originally from the same city named Pori, located in the west coast of Finland, and we share this weird sense of humor that is related to our childhood landscape.
What did you enjoy and what was challenging about creating costumes for dance?
I have always been interested in contemporary dance and clothing in movement. I loved the teamwork with Tero and (lighting and set designer) Mikki Kunttu, creating the overall visual look for Morphed. The actual making process of the costumes was challenging but inspiring; they were made in France, not here in Finland. At the first fitting, it was me who was trying on all the costumes on myself!
How was working on a costume design for dance different than designing for a fashion label?
In both cases it's creating a story that people would buy, so the starting point is always the same. Designing for dance you don't need to think about commercial aspects of production issues though. And naturally the importance of being able to move freely is accentuated when designing for dancers.
What were your inspirations for creating the designs for Morphed?
Related to the main theme of morphing, the guiding idea was to create costumes that have several layers and elements so that the look would be possible to change easily during the performance. In the beginning the costumes are very uniform-like, like shields of some sort, that are then unwrapped into individual costumes showing the personalities of the different types of men. I also wanted to bring in some visual elements from fashion and sportswear.
Has working in dance inspired your work in fashion? Do you think you’ll design again
Yes it definitely has and I will surely design for dance again - I actually have started my next project for Tero Saarinen Company; I will design the costumes for a new duet, called Breath, featuring Tero and composer-accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen.