The hairstyles and make-up are designed in this workshop. Wigs, casts, and prostheses are also made here. An integral part of the costume, they are essential to customising a character. In collaboration with the Head of Costume, the features and hair of the characters are designed and brought to life.
Our job is to imagine, adapt, and propose. L.V., Head of Hair, Make-up, and Wigs
The permanent team is composed of nine people, including the Head. Each multitalented, they work in both the workshop (on the designs) and next to the stage (on the implementation, in the Theatre). They are expert artisans who are keeping a unique set of skills alive. For example, it takes two to three years to learn how to make a wig. The implantation technique is not learned at school, but on the ground.
Making a wig is haute couture. L.V., Head of Hair, Make-up, and Wigs
Every wig is different, depending on the style required by the staging, and on the singer’s measurements. Depending on its complexity, it takes an average of eight to ten days’ work to complete a wig.
First step: the shape of the singer's head is moulded using a cap made of cling film and sticky tape. The exact shape of their head can then be reproduced in a tulle "bonnet", the colour of which is determined by the colour of the singer’s hair.
Strands of hair are then attached to it.
Real hair is used and purchased. It is more flexible and easier to work with than synthetic hair.
For a curly effect, the hair is wrapped around a wooden stick then boiled for two hours before finally being dried in an oven (for about four hours).
Like the wigs, the beards, goatees, and other types of facial hair are custom-made. For these, yak hair is used, or hair that is already curly!
The singers almost always wear make-up onstage. The main reasons for this are the lights, the distance between the auditorium and the stage, and the different desired effects (ageing, supernatural effects, etc.). For "character" make-up, the team carries out tests in the workshop before drawing up a sketch for each part. This will serve as the guide for the make-up artists once they are in the Theatre for rehearsals and performances.
For protheses (false noses, for example), an imprint of the singer’s face is made using silicone and plaster strips. Then, the desired shape is sculpted.
The production of Frankenstein (2019) presented a particular challenge: 240 fake heads were made (48 by the team at La Monnaie and the rest in a German workshop).
To find out how they are used in the Theatre, visit the page about the Hair and Make-up Dressing Room.
A few of the steps for making them