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Textile Design alumni involved in the creation of Beyoncé’s outfit for Global Citizen Festival 2018

Liss Cooke, Emma Smith and Katie Hurst were all involved in the design and production of a custom embroidered Mary Katrantzou creation worn by the singer this December

(L - R) Illustration by Mary Katrantzou, photo by Kevin Mazur for Getty Images
(L - R) Illustration by Mary Katrantzou, photo by Kevin Mazur for Getty Images

Three alumni from our Textile Design courses have been part of an once-in-a-lifetime project helping to design and produce a custom Mary Katrantzou outfit for singer songwriter Beyoncé’, worn during her performance at the Global Citizen Festival, held in Johannesburg this December.

Liss Cooke, an alumna from our MA Textile Design Innovation course, trained at Mary Katrantzou this summer. Katie Hurst and Emma Frances, both alumna from our BA (Hons) Textile Design course, joined Liss on the project, working as interns and supporting on the hand embroidery of the costume. Liss was the key embroidery designer for this project, working with a large number of colleagues: Mary herself, illustrators, designers, print designers, pattern cutters and machinists from Mary Katrantzou, who collectively helped to create the garment.

We caught up with Liss to chat about this dream project. She told us: “It definitely wouldn't have been possible without everyone working tirelessly as an amazing team! I was responsible for designing and coordinating the embroidery for the look, which included detailed hand embroidery, Swarovski crystal embellishment and designing the embroidery composition. My wonderful team of interns included two fellow alumni from NTU - Emma Smith and Katie Corner. I contacted them as I knew how talented they both were, and because I needed the best people on the team to turn the project around to such a tight deadline.”

Liss Cooke
Liss Cooke in our Textile Design studios

We then asked what it was like to work on a garment for someone as high profile as Beyoncé. She said: “It was a real dream come true for me. Beyoncé is renowned for her incredible hyper-embellished stage outfits and it has been a quiet dream of mine to work on a stage look for her. But obviously it is something I never ever thought I would get the opportunity to do, so I will be eternally grateful to Mary and the team for that. When I saw Beyoncé on stage in the outfit, there were honestly no words - it was just extremely surreal! And ever since then it has been really exciting to be able to share what I've been up to with friends and family.”

Liss identified how important taking MA Textile Design Innovation at NTU has been to her progression and success, telling us: “It is safe to say that if it wasn't for my MA at NTU, I wouldn't be where I am now! I was lucky enough to meet guest embroidery lecturer Lisa Salama whilst studying at NTU, and after meeting her, she contacted me later in the year to see if I wanted to interview for an embroidery designer traineeship position. It was also great to be able to show Lisa my MA work at New Designers with NTU, an opportunity which not many universities offer.”

Liss has impressed so much at Mary Katrantzou, that she has been offered a full-time position as Embroidery Designer for the brand. She told us: “I'm really excited to be starting full time at Mary Katrantzou in January! I am currently in the process of organising a move to London and then this will really be my key focus for years to come. I have also been running some embroidery upcycling workshops at NTU which I have loved, and I really hope that I can continue some workshops and maybe come back as a guest lecturer at NTU myself in future.”

Published on 13 December 2018
  • Subject area: Art and design
  • Category: Culture; School of Art & Design