dirac

Costumes: the good, the bad, and the ugly

59 posts in this topic

i can't speak for anyone else in NYCB's audiences, but after watching VIENNA WALTZES since its world premiere, i've not seen this detail from the audience.

that said, i don't know how often or if the costumes have been re-built since the first set; one time, or more, and if so if the rose detail was included in the re-made costume.

have you checked Bentley's KARINSKA book? there might some more info. there.

Funny you should ask, but I've been trying to hunt down a copy. The central library here in San Diego apparently has one copy, but it's not in the stacks and seems to be a special request. So I've got to go to some trouble to drive into the city, and I'm not certain if it can even be checked out. It's an expensive out-of-print book.

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here's what Bentley says in one passage of KARINSKA.

"Underneath Suzanne Farrell's VIENNA WALTZES gown, nestled in the soft ruffles, was small gold rose. It was there ostensibly to indicate where the ballerina should hold her train while she waltzed, but really it was there for no reason at all. It was there for Balanchine and Farrell and Karinska to know it was there." --p. 162

off topic, on p. 146 of my variously autographed copy of the book from a publication party held in NYCB's rehearsal studio on the occasion of the book's 1995 release, is a photo of a fitting for Farrell in one of her shifts for DON QUIXOTE, with Karinska manipulating the skirt's fabric and Balanchine, assisting; it's where Farrell chose to sign her name for me, noting to me that it was her favorite Karinska costume. (or now that think of this, perhaps she said it was her favorite costume-connected photo b/c it had both Karinska and Mr. B. in it...)

p.s. i just realized that Abrams included, among its small-size publicity photos, the one of the DON Q fitting; it's attached below.

post-848-0-85625300-1371307429_thumb.jpg

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That is a nice photo, RG. I can't remember seeing a photo of Karinska doing a fitting (though there may be a few in the Bentley book). Note that Farrell remembers Balanchine asking for a silver rose, and they got a gold one: hard to say what really happened.

It would be fun to know what other costume special additions were created, and were they only for the principal ballerinas.

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i wonder if Bentley might have gotten the color wrong.

i believe silver is the color of the Rosenkavalier's rose.

re: costume details tho' this isn't anything so very mysterious, just a little hard to see by anyone but someone up close to the costumes in question, but the bodices for the women in Hot Chocolate (in THE NUTCRACKER) have lockets on them, some have a picture of Balanchine in them and some Kirstein.

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i wonder if Bentley might have gotten the color wrong.

i believe silver is the color of the Rosenkavalier's rose.

re: costume details tho' this isn't anything so very mysterious, just a little hard to see by anyone but someone up close to the costumes in question, but the bodices for the women in Hot Chocolate (in THE NUTCRACKER) have lockets on them, some have a picture of Balanchine in them and some Kirstein.

That's funny - did it depend on whose good side you were on? Balanchine, or Kirstein. ;)

I've noticed that the original La Valse costumes had rather complicated looking jewelry pins on the bodice. It's almost like military insignia. Naturally those disappeared with time. In the famous photo of Dina Adams, featured on the cover of "Apollo's Angels", she has as many as five of these 'badges'. There's a photo of Verdy with a similar arrangement plus necklace.

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Karinska's hair, head, and bodice ornaments were well known for their detail and often their individuality, that is, for the uniqueness of each piece even on a set of would-be alike costumes.

Bentley's book has photos of some of this detailing. there's one particular shot of a beaded rosette in a series of pink and rose hues.

the LA VALSE photo which you note of Adams is a Platt Lynes, so finding a more full reproduction would give you a clearer sense of the detailing. i believe that shot was from a photo session meant for souvenir NYCB booklet around the time of the premiere of LA VALSE; those books, btw, were rarely dated with their year of release, presumably so they could be used for a few years running and not seem out of date.

somewhere i have a copy-print of that photo and if it surfaces i could scan it to see if the detailing would come up with further clarity.

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Karinska's hair, head, and bodice ornaments were well known for their detail and often their individuality, that is, for the uniqueness of each piece even on a set of would-be alike costumes.

Bentley's book has photos of some of this detailing. there's one particular shot of a beaded rosette in a series of pink and rose hues.

the LA VALSE photo which you note of Adams is a Platt Lynes, so finding a more full reproduction would give you a clearer sense of the detailing. i believe that shot was from a photo session meant for souvenir NYCB booklet around the time of the premiere of LA VALSE; those books, btw, were rarely dated with their year of release, presumably so they could be used for a few years running and not seem out of date.

somewhere i have a copy-print of that photo and if it surfaces i could scan it to see if the detailing would come up with further clarity.

That, would be fantastic!

I'll keep looking about for the Bentley/Karinska book. Apparently our Central Library is spending the summer moving into new headquaerters, so no books in the Central can be checked out. Arrrrgh.

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Yes, Karinska's book is rather hard to get hold of these days. I am still mad with myself as I saw the book in an antiquarians window some years ago, but being in a hurry to catch my train, I didn't do anything about it. A few days later the book was gone. Could have entered, bought the book and taken a later train! No ballet library is complete without a copy. However, now I have contacted a few second hand book stores and placed an order, we will see what happens, hope I get a copy. Ballet books are not much in demand here, so I hope it will be rather on the cheap side. Thank you all for reminding me of this!

By the way, I have a book on Amazon. "The history of theater and dance in Sweden 1600-1900".

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