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Photograph by Ellis Scott

YCE: Petra Storrs

This prop, costume and set designer has made creations for Paloma Faith, MGMT and Telepathe.

“I’m not feeling very affected by the recession, because I live in a little bubble and I don’t have expensive taste or use expensive materials,” says 26-year-old Londoner Petra Storrs, art director and designer of elaborate costumes, props, sets and other labours of love that have seen Paloma Faith reflecting the stage in an umbrella-shaped mirror dress, and provided paper creations for Telepathe and MGMT to prance around in front of. “Lots of things I use in my work are found on the streets around my house – I’m always making people help me carry things back to my studio!” Storrs enthuses, and often chooses to work in paper for its immediacy and license to experiment, finding it to be “almost like a blueprint of how you might really make something if you developed it in another material.”

Name a person or organisation that shares your DIY ethos, and explain why.
At the moment I’m quite obsessed with a film director called Tarsem Singh. His film 'The Fall' is breathtakingly beautiful, a real labour of love, the costumes are all designed by Eiko Ishioka (the best costume designer in the world!). I read an interview where he was explaining it took him 25 years to make it, he financed the whole project himself and it was shot in 18 different countries. It’s just such an achievement and so inspiring, everything is possible you just have to keep trying forever and ever!

Send us a picture/video that summarises your view of modern life, and explain why.
I am a big fan of Goggle Maps! I spend hours sightseeing tracking over all the different countries surfaces, colours, shapes and textures. This is a part of Texas where they are growing crops with a central irrigation system that rotates so you get this beautiful random Pokka dot effect from the sky that’s amazing! It worries and amazes me at the same time how much of a mark humans have made on the world, we are the real pandemic!

Do you think the recession has helped or hindered your creativity? Why?
I think the recession is actually helping me because lots of projects are having there budgets cut so people are more open to new ideas and relatively speaking I think my way of working is comparatively economic, I like the value to be added by the design not the material used.

Music for a revolution - which song sums up your attitude?
I don’t have a sensible answer at the moment I just keep listening to Aerosmith’s ‘Dude looks like a lady’ on repeat!!!

What other period inspires you the most, and why?
The Egyptian, The Greeks, The Romans,The Renaissance, The 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s really any time period with a bit of glamour, beautiful forms and colours and architecture, everything was so well made and so much time was spent making things perfect.

Read more of the YCE feature here.