In what might be the buzziest shows of the year, Cirque du Soleil is premiering its new show in Mumbai and New Delhi this month. Bazzar, a show designed for new markets like India and the Middle East, is almost an introduction of the Canadian live entertainment company to a new audience. The narrative follows a motley crew of performers led by a character named Maestro—seemingly modelled on founders Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix—who come together to create a fantasy universe inhabited by fire manipulators, roller-skating dancers, rope performers and acrobats.

Cirque du Soleil is known for its spectacular presentations, but dramatic costumes is another of its high points. According to James Lavoie, costume designer for Bazzar, costumes for the show have been over a year in making. Lavoie, who visited Mumbai in August with sketches and samples from the show, focused on reinventing conventional circus and performance outfits with inspirations ranging from feminine ruffles to tailored menswear. A ringmaster’s suit brings together 1920s cabaret influence with 1980s detailing to create a retro-futuristic vibe, while an acrobat duo’s bodysuits are coordinated with colourful wigs that, Lavoie says, create fantastic shapes as the artists perform their stunts. “It’s not that every costume has a bunch of different ideas here," he adds. “I was looking at the idea of deconstruction."

Drawing from the narrative and industrial scenography, eye and hands motifs, and sharp black lines run like leitmotifs through the costumes. “The black lines create a certain coherence," says Lavoie. “And I think the eye speaks a little bit of the creative process. One of the most unique designs will belong to the Mallakhamba performer Rajesh Mudki, the first Indian performer at Cirque du Soleil. “His costumes have a lot of the eye (motif)," he says. “We talked a little with the performer about how we can respect the tradition of Mallakhamba, but also have it work within the Bazzar world.

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