Millie Darnell-Hayes

BA (Hons) Hand Embroidery


Email: [email protected]

Instagram: @millie.createsss


“I am that merry wanderer of the night” – Act 2, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Mischievous Deceptions reimagines Shakespeare’s Puck in a new context. Millie’s embellished costume brings this playful character from A Midsummer Night’s Dream into a new light. Inspiration from woodland spaces has informed a bespoke hand-embroidered design of fungi built onto a contemporary silhouette.

The surface is the focal point, reflecting the narrative of the play. Metallic threads create impact, along with beads, sequins and goldwork materials. These depict details found in fungi – both literally and in her interpretations of them. Tambour embroidery reflects the continuous growth of patterns on the surface of fungi, while raised and goldwork embroidery add definition and elevate impact. A level of authenticity to her work is important to Millie so that the woodland features she has stitched are recognizable. This is done through the process of translating her drawing into stitch. The use of metallic materials elevates her stitching from the base fabric, which creates a performative effect when interacting with lighting, as well as adopting a fantastical feel.

Using contemporary icons such as Harry Styles, Elton John and Beyonce as inspiration meant Millie could explore contemporary fashion silhouettes and reimagine characters from such a well-known play to build a collection of designs. She wanted to add her own flair, making it more personal and unique.

The style of the ensemble is based on flamboyant menswear, however, just like the character of Puck, who can be nonbinary, this piece has been designed to suit the character through the combination of garments and materials, enabling movement. The oversized garments, and the materials they are made from, elevate that idea of fluidity with Puck, and the performance of this spirited character who slips between linear spaces.

This is echoed through the embroidered motifs and the use of tambour embroidery – producing a continuous line. Bringing a quirky and theatrical quality to the ensemble, reflecting Puck’s playful nature, is a ruffled collar, with embroidered textures to reflect the quality of hidden, encrusted surfaces of the wood. Goldwork is the focus of these embroidered motifs. The ideas of disappearance and shapeshifting are what drive this piece, just as Puck uses mischievous deception.

Millie wants audiences to be drawn to the impact of costumes to tell the story. The considered use of materials that elevate the effect of the embroidery should be used in conjunction with production elements like lighting – something which the artist has considered through designing and making. Working in collaboration with designers and directors who are interested in costume leading productions and saying more about a character than just words is a fundamental part of her approach.

Millie Darnell-Hayes | Fashion & Textiles 5
Goldwork embroidered mask and ruffled collar - ©Millie Darnell-Hayes
Millie Darnell-Hayes | Fashion & Textiles 4
Embroidered costume ensemble for Puck ©Millie Darnell-Hayes
Millie Darnell-Hayes | Fashion & Textiles 3
Tambour embroidered vest ©Millie Darnell-Hayes
Millie Darnell-Hayes | Fashion & Textiles 2
Work in Progress embroidery with artist - Millie Darnell-Hayes. Photograph by Tas Kyprianou
Millie Darnell-Hayes | Fashion & Textiles 1
Tambour embroidered vest and trouser pieces ©Millie Darnell-Hayes
Millie Darnell-Hayes | Fashion & Textiles
Embroidered costume ensemble for Puck ©Millie Darnell-Hayes
error: Copyright © UCA 2024