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Costume Drama

Not your average tutus—by Gurung, Theyskens, and van Herpen—at the New York City Ballet's fall gala

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Prabal Gurung, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Olivier Theyskens   
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With couturier Iris van Herpen, Olivier Theyskens, and Prabal Gurung on the bill, last night's program for the New York City Ballet fall gala was one part dance, one part runway show. The three designers collaborated with renowned choreographers Benjamin Millepied (van Herpen), Angelin Preljocaj (Theyskens), and Justin Peck (Gurung) on their one-time-only pieces that were performed last night for the likes of the ballet's fairy godmother Sarah Jessica Parker, Natalie Portman, Drew Barrymore, and 50 Cent.

"This ballet's costume department is incredible because we can make absolutely anything," said the ballet's costume director, Marc Happel, who worked closely with the designers to bring their visions to life. "I remember at first, Ben [Millepied] wasn't so sure we could make Iris' designs work for Neverwhere because they were so complicated and technical," he added. (Made of hundreds of translucent plastic chips, they were certainly not your average tutus.) "But I said, 'No, we will find a way,' and we did." "It was an absolute dream to see this come to life tonight," van Herpen added. "I just hope people liked it."

The results were worth the efforts. As the crowd made their way to dinner afterward, they buzzed about the boundary-pushing performances they had just seen. "Wasn't that just incredible?" asked Sarah Jessica Parker, who is currently filming a ten-part documentary series on NYCB, debuting November 4 via AOL. Of her own attire, a voluminous pink confection by Gurung (the bustier) and Theyskens (the skirt), she said, "Too bad after midnight, this all goes away—if I can get it off. Maybe if I'm really lucky, the boys will let me keep it for one more day."

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