Dresses by Olya Wallington from the film Hedda Gabler to go on display at the Henrik Ibsen Museum, Oslo

Costume designer Olya Wallington and Matthew John Productions have teamed up with the Henrik Ibsen Museum to permanently display Olya’s stunning designs in an especially-built new Museum Room.

Bristol, England – In early September 2016, during the International Ibsen Festival, the Henrik Ibsen Museum will be opening a new area dedicated to the dresses from the film Hedda Gabler, adapted from the Ibsen play of the same name and directed by Matthew John.

The collection of seven crinolined dresses, a night gown and silk bathing robe worn by the film’s female cast will go on display at the museum from the 8th of September. Commencing at noon the following day, the museum will play host to a public event for the opening of the exhibition that will include a Q & A session with specialist costume designer Olya Wallington and leading lady Rita Ramnani as well as director Matthew John and other members of the cast. The exhibition is part of

the International Ibsen Festival which runs in Oslo from the 8th to the 25th September and is celebrated biennially in the city where the great playwright used to reside.

Also part of the official Festival programme is the World Premiere of the film where audiences will be able to see the costumes in their full cinematic glory. The high-profile red carpet screening will be hosted by Oslo’s leading cinema, the Vika, on the evening of September 8th. A strictly limited number of tickets to the Black Tie premiere are already available through the Festival for fans to enjoy the film in addition to the array of theatre performances of Ibsen’s plays.

Olya Wallington met Matthew John while working on a collection for the London Fashion Week in 2012 and was engaged as head of Costume Design in the early development stage of the film. The costumes are a central feature of any film set in the past. This adaptation of Hedda Gabler is set in the 1860’s and designing the costumes involved extensive research to ensure authenticity.

The period is quite well documented with drawings of ladies wearing coats and dresses but actual patterns are not available. Working closely with Matthew John, Olya developed calico mock-up costumes before selecting the fabrics and colours to suit the costumes.

The fabrics themselves were designed especially for the film by Katherine Thompson of the Silk Gallery. Katherine carefully considered colour pallets, soft for Thea Elvsted and bold for Hedda Gabler, as well as damask weaves and patterns figured within the cloth to complement Olya’s designs and Ibsen’s portrayal of the women. The quality of the silks and the embellishing decorations used were critical in establishing both the authenticity of the costumes themselves and in reflecting the personality of the characters in the film.

Olya was involved in all stages of the costumes, design, pattern cutting, mock-up, final manufacture, fittings and on-set support.

Olya Wallington was born in Russia and studied Civil Engineering at Ekaterinburg University. She took a two year additional course in dressmaking and design and, when she came to England to marry, changed her career to concentrate on this.

She is particularly interested in period costume design and construction and relishes the in-depth research involved. Coming from an engineering background, she is drawn to the discipline of design and pattern making and spends hours painstakingly following traditional methods of manufacture and craftwork to ensure an authentic final product. Having been brought up in Russia and becoming well-versed in the intricacy of traditional Russian costumes, she appreciates decorative detailing and is a much sought after Head of Costume Design for period films.

Henrik Ibsen’s home in Arbins Gate 1, where he lived the last eleven years of his life, is the core of Ibsen Museum. The apartment has been historically restored to Ibsen’s era with the poet’s own furniture and fixtures, original colours and decor. The museum also shows the exhibition “Henrik Ibsen – on the contrary” which depicts the internationally renowned playwright’s life and work.
Ibsen Museum is part of the Norwegian Folk Museum located in Henrik Ibsen’s gate 26 in Oslo, across the street from the Royal Palace. It is expertly curated by Bergljot Geist.


The International Ibsen Festival opens the autumn season at The National Theatre of Norway every other year. The festival celebrates the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen through Norwegian and international performances of high artistic quality. Most of the performances are held at Ibsen’s own theatre and the world’s foremost Ibsen laboratory – Oslo’s National Theatre. This year’s Ibsen Festival has approximately 40 performances on the programme – each representing a unique approach to Ibsen’s works. You may, among other things, experience several interpretations of Hedda Gabler, a unique mashup of The Wild Duck and An Enemy of the People, an experimental Hungarian take onA Doll’s House, a post-apocalyptic tale of Europe based on Little Eyolf, Peer Gynt with a woman in the title role, and An Enemy of the People adapted to describe the current situation in Zimbawe. The festival also offers a side program filled with magical moments, including Ibsen quizes, Ibsen for children, Ibsen lounge, Ibsen stunts, tours and exhibitions by this year’s festival artist Marianne Heske.


The Silk Gallery was established in 1989 and is a leading UK based design house for furnishing fabrics. Kathryn Thompson originated the business when as a leading interior designer she was determined to create a collection of fabrics in the specific colours which her projects then required but were generally unavailable.

Kathryn designs and sources her own fabrics and in doing so was from the outset determined to ensure that all manufacture is undertaken under her supervision in the United Kingdom. The Silk Gallery remains a very British Company in the sense that (uniquely in today’s industry for a company of its size and influence) its entire range of fabrics is either woven or hand printed in the UK.

Timeless classical themes with a contemporary twist have always been the inspiration for The Silk Gallery’s innovative designs. The creativity of the designs is evident in the production process itself. The core fabric used is silk, but through years of experience and testing the company has developed yam combinations that enhance both durability and the natural characteristics of the silk. New and distinctive textures, totally unique to The Silk Gallery have been created by teaming silk with linen, cotton, cashmere, flax, wool and polyester; offering fabrics in a combination of qualities and weights with a wide variety of uses.

A major part of the work undertaken by The Silk Gallery is on bespoke commission, working closely with customers or their interior designers creating custom coloured fabrics. More recently the company has introduced a complementary range of trimmings, including fringes, gimps and tiebacks, some of which include glamorous Swarovski crystal. The trimming ranges may also be custom coloured to suit the designer’s specific schemes.


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