The Centre national du costume de scène et de la scénographie continues its collaboration with Christian Lacroix, following him into the heart of the Opéra national de Paris where he created the costumes for the ballet La Source, in a choreography by Jean-Guillaume Bart, Danseur Etoile. These sumptous costumes embroidered with Swarovski crystals were worn on stage by the Paris Opera Ballet at the Palais Garnier in the autumn of 2011 and are presented here in an exhibition organized by Christian Lacroix.
Christian Lacroix, designer of theatre costumes
Chrisitan Lacroix, great fashion designer who has become a designer of costumes for theatre, opera and ballet, created the sumptuous costumes for the ballet La Source, given at the Opéra national de Paris in the autumn of 2011. This classical ballet, which disappeared from the repertoire of the Opéra at the end of the 19th century, tells the story of the sacrifice of Naïla, spirit of the source, for the love of the hunter Djemil and his beautiful Nouredda.
Jean-Guillaume Bart, Danseur Etoile, trained at the dance school of the Opéra, had long had the project to bring this ballet back to life. Brigitte Lefèvre, director of dance at the Opéra national de Paris gave him the occasion to do so, inviting the dramaturge Clément Hervieu-Léger, costume designer Christian Lacroix and scenographer Eric Ruf around him to accompany him in this adventure, and programming the ballet at the Palais Garnier.
These costumes, of refined neo-classical style for the fantasy roles, tinted with orientalism and shimmering colors for the folk characters, bear witness to the dream world of Christian Lacroix. He spoke about this during the preparation of the ballet in the costume workshops of the Opéra national de Paris, saying, “I wanted to give the impression that these costumes, as well as the ballet, had come out of a long sleep with their freshness and memories, and, in addition to have the rustic aspects contrast with the opulence of the brocades, ornaments and jewels.”
The ballet is a succession of nymphs in romantic tutus made of Japanese organza (one of the lightest fabrics in the world); of odalisques draped in tunics and loose pants made from old saris; of Caucasian women as “Russian dolls”, in their ethnic dresses, and Caucasian men in coats inspired by traditional clothing but given new color with the palette of Christian Lacroix; costumes and tiaras decorated with Swarovski crystals.
The route of the exhibition, into the heart of the Opéra national de Paris
The exhibition and the accompanying catalogue are an invitation to discover these costumes and accessories from their conception by the costume designer to their creation by the costume workshops at the Palais Garnier and finally to the staging of the ballet. Transported to the heart of the costume workshops at the Palais Garnier, the CNCS will reveal, room by room the different costumes of the characters in the ballet, retracing for each one the stages of development, technical research and artistic interest. Display cases and rooms will be decorated with the sources of inspiration for Christian Lacroix (documents, photographs and historic items of clothing), maquettes which he drew for each character as well as patterns, fabric samples, dye tests and prototypes. So many tangible witnesses to the work of the designers, tailors, decorators and milliners of the costume workshops of the Opéra national de Paris being honored in this exhibition for their exceptional know-how.
To explain this work, interviews and reports are shown as part of the exhibition. Brigitte Lefèvre, Jean-Guillaume Bart, Clément Hervieu-Léger, Christian Lacroix, Eric Ruf and the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet evoke the specifics of the creation of this ballet. The visitor can also watch reports in the costume workshops (costume fittings, treatment of materials), the elaboration of the make-up design, the creation and mounting of the sets, the rehearsals, etc.
In addition, there are numerous photographs taken by Anne Deniau in the costume and set workshops (creation, sewing,
fittings, set-up…), during the dance rehearsals in studio and on stage, and reproductions from the archives of the Paris Opera
Library-Museum (costume and set maquettes) which illustrate these various subjects.
Exhibition's virtual tour