Christian Lacroix, La Source and the Paris Opera Ballet

From June 16 to December 31, 2012

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 Étoile. These sumptuous 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.

This exhibition is an invitation to discover the costumes and accessories created for the ballet La Source, from their conception by Christian Lacroix to their creation by the costume workshops at the Palais Garnier and finally to the staging of the ballet. The scenography of the exhibition places the costumes in the context of their creation, recreating the costume workshops of the Palais Garnier in the exhibition spaces at the CNCS. Transported to the heart of the workshops, the visitor will discover these places hidden to the general public, where seamstresses and tailors work daily in the service of the splendor and beauty of theatrical productions.

Christian Lacroix, theater costume designer

Chrisitan Lacroix, great fashion designer who has become a designer of costumes for theater, 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 Djémil and his beautiful Nouredda. Jean-Guillaume Bart, Danseur Étoile, trained at the School of Dance 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, uniting the dramaturge Clément Hervieu-Léger, costume designer Christian Lacroix and scenographer Éric Ruf 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 intact, 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, hairstyles and tiaras decorated with Swarovski crystals.

Commissariat de l’exposition et direction artistique

Christian Lacroix

Artistic director

He lives and works in Paris and Arles, where he was born. After studies in classical literature and art history, he could not picture himself as artist, teacher or museum curator, and took the direction of fashion and costume, with Hermès and then Guy Paulin in...

Artistic director

He lives and works in Paris and Arles, where he was born. After studies in classical literature and art history, he could not picture himself as artist, teacher or museum curator, and took the direction of fashion and costume, with Hermès and then Guy Paulin in Paris, Italy and Japan. He was artistic director at Jean Patou from 1982 to 1987 before Bernard Arnault founded the house of Christian Lacroix. At the same time, he designed costumes for many theater, opera and ballet productions in France (Opéra national de Paris, Comédie-Française, Opéra-Comique, Festival d’Aix, Marseille) and abroad (la Monnaie in Brussels, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Vienna and Berlin Operas). At the Opéra de Paris he designed costumes for Cendrillon (P. Maxwell Davis, 1986), Les Anges ternis (K. Armitage, 1987), Jewels (G. Balanchine, 2000), Shéhérazade (B. Li, 2001). Since 2000 he has worked as a more industrial designer (tgv, hotels, Gaumont cinemas) and as scenographer of his own work: Centre national du costume de scène; Fashion Museum and Decorative Arts Museum, Paris, in 2007; the Réattu Museum and Rencontres d’Arles in 2008 – activities which have become preponderant since the recent end of his activities as fashion designer. His projects in 2012: Adrienne Lecouvreur at the Frankfurt Opera (Germany), Peer Gynt at the Comédie-Française (Paris), Salomé at the Saint Gall Opera (Switzerland), Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme at the Bouffes du Nord (Paris) and Madame Butterfly at the Hamburg Opera (Germany).

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Brigitte Lefèvre

Curator

Brigitte Lefèvre entered the School of Dance at the Opéra de Paris at the age of 8, and was hired as dancer in the ballet corps when she was 16. In 1970 she choreographed her first ballet, Mikrocosmos (with music by Bartok), for Jacques Garnier, Michaël Denard and herself....

Curator

Brigitte Lefèvre entered the School of Dance at the Opéra de Paris at the age of 8, and was hired as dancer in the ballet corps when she was 16. In 1970 she choreographed her first ballet, Mikrocosmos (with music by Bartok), for Jacques Garnier, Michaël Denard and herself. She left the Opéra in 1972 to found, with Jacques Garnier, the Theatre of Silence, based in La Rochelle from 1974 to 1985. She was hired as Chief Dance Inspector (Department of Music and Dance at the Ministry of Culture) in 1985, and in 1987 became General Inspector and the first Dance Delegate. In September, 1992 she became General Administrator of the Opéra de Paris-Garnier, then in February, 1994, Adjunct-Director of Dance. On July 1, 1995 she was named Director of Dance at the Opéra national de Paris. Since her nomination, Brigitte Lefèvre has constructed a living repertoire which joins the past, present and future. While giving an important place to tradition and maintaining the great classical ballets – and in particular the productions by Rudolf Nureyev – she regularly programs choreographies which have marked the 20th century, and invites contemporary choreographers to remount ballets or to create new ones. Brigitte Lefèvre is Vice President of the National Conservatory of Music and Dance of Paris and Administrator of the Théâtre national de Chaillot. She is Commander in the National Order of Merit; Commander of Arts and Letters and Officer in the Legion of Honor.

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Eric Ruf

Sets

After studying at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Appliqués et des Métiers d’Arts Olivier de Serres (Applied Arts and Art Trades), at the École Florent and at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, he joined the Comédie-Française in 1993 and became the 498th...

Sets

After studying at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Appliqués et des Métiers d’Arts Olivier de Serres (Applied Arts and Art Trades), at the École Florent and at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, he joined the Comédie-Française in 1993 and became the 498th Sociétaire in 1998. Parallel to his career as theater, cinema and television actor, he is a stage director and set designer. As designer-scenographer, he has created the sets for Cyrano de Bergerac (Edmond Rostand), Fantasio (Alfred de Musset), La vie du grand Don Quichotte et du gros Sancho Pança (Antonio Da Silva) and Loup (Marcel Aymé) at the Comédie-Française; for Mental de l’équipe (Émmanuel Bordieu) at the Théâtre du Rond-Point; for Fortunio (Messager) at the Opéra-Comique and for La Didone (Cavalli) at the Théâtre de Caen. He received the Gérard Philippe Prize from the city of Paris in 1999, is Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters, and received the Molière prize for set design and for supporting male role in Cyrano de Bergerac in 2007.

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Delphine Pinasa

Curator

Delphine Pinasa succeeded Martine Kahane as Director of the Centre national de costume de scène in August, 2011. An art historian, specialist in stage costumes, and formerly Delegate Director of the CNCS, she worked for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Ministry of...

Curator

Delphine Pinasa succeeded Martine Kahane as Director of the Centre national de costume de scène in August, 2011. An art historian, specialist in stage costumes, and formerly Delegate Director of the CNCS, she worked for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Ministry of Culture and Communication, and then at the Opéra national de Paris from 1993 to 2003, where she was first in charge of the costumes in the museum collection, and then head of the Costume Patrimony department beginning in 2001. Since 2005, with the exhibition Rouge at the Paris Opera Library-Museum, she has collaborated regularly with Christian Lacroix. Delphine Pinasa has curated many exhibitions in France and abroad and has published many works in relation to these exhibitions, including the history of the costume workshops at the Palais Garnier.

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