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Nelly Vágó studied costume design at the Budapest Academy of Arts and Crafts as a student of Judit Schaffer, receiving her diploma in 1962. Her career started that same year in Szolnok, at the Szigligeti Theatre, although she also became a member of the National Theatre at the same time. Working as a guest, she has designed costumes for every theatre in Hungary, both inside and outside Budapest, including for the Opera House and the open-air stages. Her work was frequently linked to the most modern and significant studios and directors. She has designed the costumes for numerous films for television and the cinema. She is an excellent representative of the Hungarian school of design, a visionary creator of artistic costumes of expressive power and rich in colours and shapes. Her costumes support the action and the character's anatomy, dressing them with great confidence in style and taste, an understanding of materials and the tools of modern technology. Her work has often appeared in both solo and group exhibitions. Her awards include the Mari Jászai Award (1972), being named an Artist of Merit (1985) and Artist of Excellence (1998) and the Kossuth Prize (2006).
Nelly Vágó