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August 28 2014

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The Dance of Verrier

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Post Black Swan, dance has gotten a bit of a bad rap. But the art isn’t only the provenance of unraveling young prima donnas. It’s also, as Verrier designer Ashleigh Verrier reminds us in her latest collection film, a genteel pursuit—even if, in Verrier’s case, it’s a slightly trippy one.

Verrier’s Fall ’11 collection was inspired by Newport Remembered: A Photographic Portrait of a Gilded Past, Deborah Turbeville’s look at the mansions of some of America’s wealthiest citizens, like the Breakers, the famous private home of the Vanderbilts. “They have their own sense of subterranean life that she was very much out to capture, and that was sort of the underlying theme of the collection,” Verrier said of Turbeville’s shots. She incorporated that sense into her own collection using houndstooths and muted fabrics, evoking the opulent lifestyle at The Breakers. But the modern twist came courtesy, Verrier said, of a trip to MOMA and an avant-garde pioneer. “Danse Serpentine” by the late nineteenth-century modern dancer Loie Fuller was particularly influential. “She was able to paint each frame of the film and create an illusion based on how the clothes were moving from a dance standpoint,” Verrier explained of Fuller’s work. Verrier’s own film, debuting exclusively above, was directed by the fashion lenswoman KT Auleta and styled by Ben Sturgill, with music by Gang Gang Dance and an invisible dancer from the Joffrey Ballet School.

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