Costumes & Characters
The design concept of the costumes for MESSI10 was influenced by the world of
football and the artistic vision of Costume designer – James Lavoie. The inspiration was
to create a universe that can be familiar and exciting for two different audiences – the
football fans and the circus fans.
There are colors, patterns and gradients borrowed from the world of football to help
reflect the energy and attitude of the sport, but this is a Cirque du Soleil show; a parallel
world where the designs are bigger, bolder and where usual boundaries don’t apply. For
every costume that looks “fashionable” with cues from street wear and athletic wear,
there’s another that explores the limits of this universe, like the grass suits worn by The
Commentators or The Streaker who is not wearing a great amount of costume at all.
While the costumes were custom created for specific characters, time was spent with
each artist watching their act, talking to them and feeling their energy in order to know
what would work for them. Alongside the one-off characters, there are group
performances for which costumes have been created to work with many different body
types. Each costume has its own textile process, it is printed, dyed, silk screened and
laser cut. There are up to 10 custom processes for an individual fabric and many
different fabrics in each costume.
Beyond the technical considerations, the costumes were designed to bring out the
passion that the artists and acrobats have for the circus and for football while inspiring
that same passion for life among the audience. The show is about pushing yourself to
the extremes, about being the best one can be and exploring the greatness that’s
The Number 10s
There’s a number 10 inside us all. The show’s most iconic character is, in
fact, not one single character, but portrayed by ten exceptional artists and
athletes with a set of unique talents and strengths, that embody the message
behind each skill represented in the show. In a way, they must all be cohesive
and dynamic whilst speaking to 10 unique visual themes. For example, one of
the artists wears an LED number 10 beneath a beautiful translucent material
that creates an aura and glow around their character.
The Young Man
The young man is the first character we see in the show. He represents
anyone with a dream of greatness and the ambition to achieve their dreams.
As the show’s 1st number ten, his passion, sacrifice and determination set
the scene as this energy travels throughout the show, and he too explores
all the elements needed to realize the dream of becoming the perfect number
An intriguing individual, this character appears at significant moments
throughout the show, carrying the weight and pressure of the world on his
shoulders, in the form of an ever increasing net tower of balls. He is a
physical representation of the responsibility of balancing the demands of
life, family, training and all the support and discipline one needs to become
the perfect number 10. Finally, in the sections dedicated to fans and family,
through the support he receives, he is able to unload the tower of balls and
fly to his full potential.
In a regular game, the referee is responsible for keeping the peace and
bringing law and order, but this referee loves to be the center of attention.
While it’s mostly his diabolical decisions and inability to maintain law and
order that’s drawing people’s attention, the fluorescent accents on his uniform
aren’t going to help him hide from the spotlight of the glaring crowd. By far
his most important accessories are his red and yellow cards, which at times
he waves with wild abandon for comedic value. A huge fan of football and
dreaming of being the perfect referee, his role is to not only
try and reinstate order amongst the chaos of what is happening on stage, but to
interact with the crowd and encourage them to participate in this incredible
Commentators are renowned for living and breathing the beautiful game
through words. These pitch-side experts take their role to the extreme with
their tailored "turf" suits and microphone headsets. They've commentated many
a performance, but none that will trigger their passionate vocabulary quite
like what they witness on this stage.
There’s always that one guy, the distractor of attention, showing up to
steal the limelight when you least expect it. He’s cheeky, in more ways than
one, and, as on TV, the crowd never quite knows when the streaker going to
make a run for it, but they do know that they’re glad there’s some well-placed
real-time pixels to protect his modesty.