Designer Emma Paris channelled Étienne Béchard’s vision to create the 46 costumes for CARMEN. Her designs centre around the opposition between two universes: the real world and the metaverse.
The virtual world costumes borrow from both video games and pop culture. They defy and disrupt gender and identity norms with their bright colours and shiny fabrics. The real world, however, is strict and rigid. Characters don dull, quasi-uniforms.
José’s avatar is Carmen, a femme fatale type who sports a Pulp Fiction-inspired haircut. She wears an oversized t-shirt, reminiscent of comic books and video games “geek” style. Her second costume is almost superhero-like, emphasizing Carmen’s strength and importance.
The Toreador is a manly, charismatic character, whose muscles are on full display in his dance numbers. For his costume, Emma Paris was inspired by the iconic character of Sailor Ripley, played by Nicolas Cage in the David Lynch film, Wild at Heart. His snakeskin jacket symbolizes power and strength.
The show’s standout accessories are the two virtual reality headsets. Inspired by Hussein Chalayan's experimental creations, these devices enable José and Micaëla to navigate between the real and virtual worlds.