From parade to ballet: when fashion enters the dance



It swings, and with style! From June 9, the resident choreographer of the Royal Ballet of London, Wayne McGregor, will take over the stage of this theater in the Covent Garden district for a ballet around the work of the Cuban painter Carmen Herrera (1915-2022). With Burberry suits. This is the first collaboration of the label’s artistic director, the Englishman Daniel Lee, with a dance company. “I’ve always dreamed of creating costumes for dance, it’s one of my passions”comments the designer about this collaboration, which is part of the tartan house’s desire to reconnect with its British heritage in the long term.

This spring, Pieter Mulier, artistic director of the Alaïa house, also tried his hand at the exercise for the first time. The Belgian signed the costumes for the ballet Pitch by choreographers Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber, presented at the Paris Opera in March. The latter were invited by the artistic director to choose among the collections pieces that could be suitable for their ballet, clothes then reworked by the workshops.

“I didn’t want to impose anything on them. They even selected certain commercial pieces: it was interesting to see them use for the stage and for the dance clothes which, originally, were not made for that », comments Pieter Mulier. The so-called clothes “commercial” being most often from collections different from those that parade, and considered more easily portable. We find in this ballet long fuzzy dresses playing on transparency, small sweaters close to the body or even floor fire pants. “Clothes are inseparable from the world of Pit. The show is all about how all the elements work together. I loved the contrast between the concrete floor and the delicacy of the dresses, and the way the clothes amplified the movement”explains Bobbi Jene Smith about her collaboration with Pieter Mulier and the house of Alaïa.

Left: costume after Coco Chanel for “Le Train bleu”.  Right: Costume by Maria Grazia Chiuri by Dior for the “Nuit blanche” ballet at the Rome Opera in 2019. Two pieces presented in the “Couturiers de la danse” exhibition in 2019 and 2020 at the National Center for Stage Costume .

The worlds of fashion and dance have always turned around, designers have long sought to apply their know-how in artistic disciplines. In 1924, Gabrielle Chanel dressed dancers in this way for The Blue Train, Russian ballet signed by the choreographer Bronislava Nijinska and presented at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, in Paris. ” Gabrielle Chanel has had a great impact on the history of dance costumes with her participation in the Blue train. This was the real first visible collaboration »points out Philippe Noisette, journalist specializing in dance and author of the book Dance dressmakers. From Chanel to Versace (Silvana Editorial, 2019). Little striped shorts, colored cotton tank tops, nude tights… Chanel’s suits were light, daring for the time and correlated with the designer’s world.

You have 53.31% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *