Reprising the house of Yves Saint Laurent’s relationship with the theatre, Stefano Pilati has designed and styled the costumes for a revival of the Harold Pinter play, Betrayal. This is not the first time Betrayal (written in 1978) has received a fashion designer’s touch, with Karl Lagerfeld lending the Chanel aesthetic to the costumes of the 1984 version. Historically, dressing the distinguished actors and actresses on stage became a form of expression favoured by many of the great courtiers including Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix and Cristóbal Balenciaga.
Saint Laurent himself was fascinated by the work of set and costume designer Christian Bérard, prompting him to tell Michel de Brunhoff, the then editor of French Vogue, “Like Bérard, I would like to devote myself to several things that are in reality one: theatre sets and costumes, decoration and illustration. On top of this, I feel very drawn to fashion.” True to his word, Saint Laurent lent his design talents to a number of theatre productions while the stage simultaneously inspired some of his own designs – in particular the famous brocade and damask wedding dress, a tribute to Shakespeare.
Now, Ian Rickson, in this latest iteration of the play inspired by Pinter’s own affair with Joan Bakewell, has turned to Yves Saint Laurent’s current creative director, Stefano Pilati, to create a fresh set of costumes. Taking place over the course of Emma and Robert’s nine-year marriage, the story – which is chronologically reversed – examines the consequences of Emma’s affair with the couple’s married friend, Jerry as well as the changing nature of love and relationships over time. Reflecting the style of the period 1968-1977, Kristin Scott-Thomas, who plays Emma, will wear a fuchsia silk dress, a camel coat and a selection of chiffon skirts decorated with Pilati’s signature fingerprint patterns, complimented by YSL statement bags. The male leads, Douglas Henshall and Ben Miles, will exhibit classic YSL suiting in the form of suede and leather jackets.
Book now for Betrayal at London's Comedy Theatre, premiering on 16 June and running until August 20 2011.
Text by Fiona Cook