Léa Pereyre drone costume designer verity

This might be the coolest job title ever: drone costume designer

Meet Léa Pereyre a “Drone Costume Designer” at Swiss drone company Verity Studios AG. Léa, whose background is in industrial design, now designs drone costumes and is part of a team creating dynamic machines and related systems for entertainment industries.

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The drone industry is a gateway to an abundance of new careers — not just in the obvious ones that come to mind like engineer or drone pilot — but in the roles that augment the drone industry. There are jobs for policy experts to shape drone laws. There are jobs for marketing experts to tell the stories of drones for good. There are jobs for marine biologists to use drones to collect whale DNA, and for beekeepers to weigh in on how drones can track bees for precision pollination.

One of the drones designed by Léa Pereyre is an anemone, as seen at the London Design Festival.

And while all those jobs are certain to strike up an interesting conversation at cocktail parties, this one might take the cake for most unique: drone costume designer.

Drone costume designer is a real job title, and it’s currently held by Léa Pereyre, who works at Verity Studios. Swiss-based company Verity Studios is one of the leading drone entertainment providers, responsible for getting 8 drones to fly in sync with each other in a routine every night on stage for the Broadway incarnation of Cirque du Soleil called “Paramour” and operating the drones seen in rapper Drake’s 2018 Aubrey & the Three Migos Tour. 88 micro drones flew on stage as part of CCTV’s Chinese New Year’s celebration.

The drones don’t look like any old drone. The Chinese New Year drones were designed to resemble red lanterns. The Cirque du Soleil drones were designed to look like lampshades.

And the woman behind those designs is Léa Pereyre. We caught up with Léa to learn more about what goes into such a unique job. (Note: this interview has lightly been edited for clarity and brevity.)

Drone Girl: Drone costume designer — that must turn heads at cocktail parties. What kind of reaction do you get when you tell people your job title?

Léa Pereyre: People are surprised and curious! It’s the first time they hear about such a profession so it always needs a bit of an explanation.

DG: You studied Industrial and Product Design at the Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL). Were drones ever a part of your studies there?

LP: No, I never had to work with drones in the past!

DG: So with no prior drones experience, how did you land in this role?

LP: Throughout my studies, I realize the potential of collaboration between the engineering field and product design. After getting my bachelor’s degree, I started an internship in a robotic lab at EPFL (the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne). It was a great first experience, and that’s where I saw this intriguing job advertisement for a “drone costume designer.”

DG: And clearly your response to the ad worked, as you’ve now been in the role for nearly three years! What drone costume are you most proud of?

LP: I have a special attachment to the costumes we developed for the London Design Festival. (The London Design Festival is a week-long, city-wide event that showcases a variety of art, and Verity put on an underwater-themed drone show for the event). If I had to name only one among the three, I would say the Anglerfish. It has a real presence on stage, I would even say it has a unique personality.

DG: So obviously you never imagined being a drone costume designer when you were old. What was your dream job growing up?

The Anglerfish drone, which appeared at the London Design Festival, and was designed by drone costume designer Léa Pereyre.

LP: I’ve always loved to design my own games — building characters, drawing boardgames, so something along those lines.

DG: Board game designer?! That’s pretty unique too. So if someone’s dream job was drone costume designer, where would you suggest they get started on that path?

LP: This field still needs to be discovered so I don’t think there is a clear path. I’ve studied industrial design, but it would be interesting to see the vision of someone with a different background, like fashion design, graphic design, scenography. It would open new doors and widen the possibilities. There are many things to explore!

DG: And if drones didn’t exist, what do you think you would be doing instead?

LP: For my diploma project, I worked on making accessories like gloves and bags for people in wheelchairs. That project is on hold right now, but I would like to keep exploring whatever’s feasible.

DG: You’re already doing amazing work between the costumes for Drake, Cirque and everything in between! But, if you could design a drone costume for any event, anywhere, what would it be?

LP: I don’t have any specific event or location in mind. In terms of collaborations, I think I would love to do a project with the French high fashion luxury brands Hermès or Petit H. They work with beautiful materials and they create very poetic worlds around their products.

DG: I would LOVE to see that! An Hermès drone sounds kind of amazing!

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