April 19 2014

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6 posts tagged "New York City Ballet"

EXCLUSIVE: Backstage With Valentino At The NYCB


“I am a great fan of the ballet, and it has always been my dream to design costumes for the New York City Ballet and to work with Peter Martins, who has been a friend for over 30 years,” Valentino Garavani tells “I was used to working with the same people for decades, so this collaboration is a new experience for me, and it has been fantastic.” Tomorrow night, with the ballet’s fall gala, the iconic designer’s dreams will come to life on stage at Lincoln Center. He’s spent months creating roughly 25 costumes for four out of the five ballets, two of which are set to make their world premiere tomorrow night. Before the curtain goes up, Valentino gave an exclusive look at the making of the dramatic organza pieces he’s made for the dancers. Watch the video above.

Hedi In Hiding? Designer’s First Men’s And Resort Collections To Be Shown To Buyers Only, And More Of The Day’s Top Stories


Good things come to those who wait, right? Hedi Slimane must think so. The French designer, who recently took over Stefano Pilati’s post at Yves Saint Laurent, has decided to present his debut collections for the house, women’s Cruise and Spring menswear, only to buyers. The rest of the world will see his debut during Paris women’s fashion week in September. [WWD]

Just on the heels of the New York City Ballet’s spring gala, which debuted ballets with costumes by Rodarte and J. Mendel, Valentino Garavani has announced he’s getting on his toes. Or, at least, he’s designing for those that do: He’s created all of the costumes for NYCB’s fall opening. []

Queen Elizabeth II’s crown is getting a makeover. Luxury labels Bulgari, Mulberry, Valentino, and more have taken a stab at reinterpreting the iconic crown in celebration of her upcoming Diamond Jubilee, 31 of which are on display at Harrods department store in London. [NY Daily News]

Since Adam Yauch’s death on May 4, fans have paid countless tributes to the late Beastie Boy. But now, Brooklyn residents arelooking to pay a different kind of homage with something permanent. Residents of Brooklyn Heights have petitioned to rename Squibb Park, which is currently undergoing renovations to become a skateboarding facility, in honor of Yauch. [The Hollywood Reporter]




Photo: Miguel Villagran / Getty Images


Trading His Furs For Fouettés


With just hours before the curtain rises at the David H. Koch theater for the New York City Ballet’s Spring Gala tonight, J. Mendel’s Gilles Mendel is busy making the finishing touches on the costumes he’s designed for mater in chief Peter Martins’ new work, titled Mes Oiseaux. “I have been running back and forth to Lincoln Center with my scissors for two days now,” he told before heading back to the theater today. “It’s like doing a haircut—just a little more on this side and on that side until it’s perfect. It’s so surreal, here I am standing on the stage at Lincoln Center having the dancers of the New York City ballet do pirouettes for me so we can see that everything looks just right.”

It’s not the French designer’s first spin in the dance world. Back in 2010 he created the costumes for NYCB’s performance of Melissa Barak’s original ballet, Call Me Ben, which also provided inspiration for his Spring 2011 collection. “I like my clothes to be very precise because in fashion you want to look at them up close,” he said. “But from that experience, I learned to let go and stand 20 feet away from the dancer—things have to look good from a distance on the stage.”

For his second act, the designer brought the same femininity that’s linked to the J. Mendel aesthetic using tulle, stretch georgette, and muslin. But, he warns, “I think people will be quite surprised—it’s very graphic. The ballet is about three women and their relationship with a man. Peter and I wanted to give to the public a moment of discovery, so you wouldn’t know immediately that one woman is good, one is bad.” He designed a series of mostly-black costumes for the number, which only show the dancer’s true colors—figuratively and literally—when they move. An exclusive sketch of one of Mendel’s costumes is above.

Mes Oiseaux will be performed tonight alongside the Balanchine classic Symphony in C, with costumes by Marc Happel, and the latest work (titled Two Hearts) by former NYCB principal dancer and husband to Natalie Portman, Benjamin Millepied, with costumes by Rodarte. And check back tomorrow in People & Parties for our full report on the gala, hosted by honorary chairman Natalie Portman.

Illustration: Courtesy of J. Mendel

Backstage At The Ballet


With Rodarte on the bill as costume collaborators, the New York City Ballet’s upcoming spring gala is one that has the fashion set buzzing. But that’s not the only fashion brand in the mix; Swarovski also teamed up with the ballet for the newly redesigned costumes for George Balanchine’s Symphony in C. New York City Ballet’s director of costumes, Marc Happel, scattered more than 105,000 crystals and stones in midnight blue, black diamond, jet, and crystal on the 62 costumes and tiaras for the piece, which was (fittingly) originally called Le Palais de Cristal (Crystal Palace). “Ultimately, the challenge was to design a ballet that is modern and hopefully timeless but at the same time is completely comfortable for our dancers,” Happel tells of the project, which took a little over a year to complete. Here, an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of the costumes as they came together.

Photo: Nick Bentgen

Stella McCartney, En Pointe  


Stella McCartney knows her way around a runway collection, a Met ball gown, or even a line of Olympic-ready sportsgear. But when she was asked to costume the new ballet Ocean’s Kingdom—scored by her father, Sir Paul McCartney, and choreographed by the New York City Ballet’s Peter Martins—the seasoned veteran had to stretch her muscles a bit more than usual. Tomorrow night, the ballet debuts at Lincoln Center. Beforehand, caught up with McCartney to talk working with dad and designing a tutu-less ballet.

Did you do ballet when you were you a little girl?
I didn’t really do it when I was younger. I tried for a moment, but ballet kind of passed me by, it wasn’t really part of my life. Maybe we were a little too rock ‘n’ roll for the ballet lessons? My daughter is big into ballet though.

What was this collaborative process like for you?
It’s more of a collaboration than most things I have ever done, actually. Working with Dad was more talking to him about his vision for the characters and what they symbolize. There is definitely a clear storyline. But it’s funny, the music has been a little less important than the hair and makeup for the costumes.

How did you work with Peter Martins and the dancers to create the costumes?
Working with these incredible dancers, I treated them like athletes. The athletic thing comes pretty naturally for me through my work with Adidas and the upcoming Olympics. With Peter, it was working on the aesthetics, like elongating legs, revealing their extreme movements, and emphasizing the technique, and also telling a story. You are telling a story through costumes. It’s been an incredibly complex process. Being asked to design costumes for music that hasn’t been finalized, or choreography that hasn’t been finished, isn’t easy.

I can’t help but notice there are no tutus in this ballet. Why not?
It’s funny, from the first day, my biggest question was: How did Dad see it? It was very contemporary, musically and visually. As a fashion designer, when you are asked to do a ballet, the first thing you want to do is an amazing, elaborate tutu—especially as a woman. It’s been refreshing to not do that. It’s easy to get so theatrical with this but I wanted to make sure to bring my brand and voice into the ballet.

These costumes took a lot more time than you predicted. How long have you been working on them?
Every day, since we started a couple of months ago. It’s definitely been a thought-consuming and time-consuming process, for sure.

What were you most surprised by?
There was nothing I was totally surprised by, but it’s been more extreme than I would have thought. We have this incredible music by Dad, this amazing choreography, and it’s the bringing together of all those elements. Maybe it’s the timeline and the way the choreography comes so much after that has been difficult? The choreography and music was an ongoing process, but the clothes have to be set a little more in stone. Nothing really whacked me in the face from left field, luckily. To do a ballet for the New York City Ballet, it’s incredible.

Would you do this again?
Maybe—I am open to everything. For me, I have a fashion show as my normal venue and with this, it’s really exciting that this will travel and thousands will get to experience the entire process. It will fill their life for one moment. I definitely have a tutu in me, somewhere. I wanted to create elements I would be proud to put down the runway, if that were to happen. In no way did we want it to be too theatrical or comic. You really have to find a balance between ridiculous and storytelling.

On the big debut night, will you be backstage or in the audience?
I have been seated in the audience, but I feel a bit like I should be backstage. I will know that during those key days, where I should be. I’m a bit nervous, you always are. It’s a totally new arena for me. I’m hoping it goes OK. I haven’t even seen the costumes on stage yet. I finally got to see it in a rehearsal room, so at least I could see it to scale. That’s really important to me and that was really cluttering my mind.

Did your work on the ballet influence your work as a fashion designer in any way?
Had we had more time, and had the timing been in conjunction with my collections, I think it might have. Maybe it influenced my ready-to-wear collection a bit? Perhaps it’s more the other way around. It’s an interesting process working with dancers. It’s kind of like you have a grid and you have to work into that. There’s a reason that ballets look the way they do. It’s not like an opera where no one is moving—headpieces can fall off mid-pirouette!

Get a sneak peak at rehearsals and costume fittings with Stella, here.

Photos: Courtesy of Stella McCartney