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Photo of Ballets Russes

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This is my first post on this board after the board split but I post a lot on Ballet Talk for Dancers.

In an article about Coco Chanel there is a picture of 2 dancers from Ballets Russes wearing costumes from her house of design, on page 204.

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Nijinska's "Le Train Bleu" (Ballet Russe, 1924, with score by Darius Milhaud) featured the entire cast wearing beachwear designed by Chanel, according to Susan Au, Ballet and Modern Dance. There's a fascinating photo on p. 111 showing two lines of male swimmers standing in arabesque, a larger group of women in tent-suits, and wierd cubist shapes in the background. This is said to have been an evocation of chic society in Deauville. Thanks, Tiffany, for bringing this up.

Question: are there any other famous ballets with regular clothing (as opposed to dance costumes) by designers in Chanel's league? how about ballets taking place at the beach?

Edited by bart
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How about Todd Bolander's ballet "Souvenirs" which takes place at a seaside resort circa the 1920's? The finale is a wonderful romp on the beach, complete with old-fashioned swimwear! The main character in this ballet is the "Vamp"! It's a delightful ballet...I wonder who might be performing it anymore...

Edited by Gina Ness
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Then there are the Picasso designs for the Little American Girl in "Parade". Like the music for the Manager on horseback, and that august gentleman himself, and the Chinese Conjuror's magic tricks, they are invisible. Picasso and Massine just went to a department store and bought a girl's sailor suit pret-a-porter, right off the rack.

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Very few designers can be said to be in Chanel's league, but a number of them have designed ballets. Chanel herself designed the costumes for an early production of Apollo. Christian Lacroix designed costumes for the ABT production of Gaité Parisienne that were so stunning I could hardly pay attention to the ballet. Marc Jacobs, not a coutourier like Chanel and Lacroix but a fashionable New York designer, has also done some work for ABT, I believe.

But all designers who create for ballet dancers do so with the knowledge that they are making costumes, not street clothes. They have to, in order for the outfits to stand up to the rigors of repeated performance.

Then again, there were those Calvin Klein jeans worn, controversially, by ABT dancers in a recent ballet -- I'm sure someone here will remember the name -- and those Manolos worn (briefly) in NYCB's Thou Swell . . .

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acc'd to one of his dancers, balanchine had the following dictum: no street clothes on stage; and no stage costumes off stage - this came to my attention in ref. to a dance created by peter martins for kyra nichols in which she wore an 'off the rack' number by oscar de la renta.

o.d.l.r. designed the women's dresses for twyla tharp's 'nine sinatra songs' and for 'sinatra suite' and the men's and women's costumes for the robbins/tharp collaboration 'brahms/handel' - but as noted above these were ostensibly 'couture' dresses made for esp. for the stage.

every now & then o'course there are major exceptions: such as that pointed out by mel above re: PARADE, and one hears that martha graham sometimes raided her own closet of maimbocher evening dresses to costume herself and/or her dancers on stage.

i don't think m. jacobs has designed for abt. tho' i could be forgetting something. isaac mizrahi has, however.

i suppose french and italian readers here could add many more examples of couture costume designs: la croix also did the paris op. ballet's JEWELS, sets & costumes.

and let's not forget all the halston remakes for graham's repertory.

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No, it doesn't say what ballet or who the dancers are. It is in a photo spread showing designs from Chanel over the years that Coco Chanel was alive.

I believe there was a nice article about fashion designers designing costumes for ballet companies in Pointe Magazine in the last year or so?

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