Dance and fashion designers
From November 30th to May 3rd, 2020
For one century, the great fashion designers have constantly been exalting the creations of choreographers. Coco Chanel and the Russian Ballets, Gianni Versace and Maurice Béjart, Christian Lacroix and then Balmain by Olivier Rousteing and the Ballet of the Paris Opera, Issey Miyake and William Forsythe: the examples are as numerous as prestigious. With “Dance and Fashion Designers”, the National Centre of Stage Costume pays a tribute to these glorious collaborations and presents for the first time in its exhibition spaces a selection of 120 costumes in showcases imagined as jewellery boxes, enriched by pictures and videos. Created by journalist and author Philippe Noisette and designed by architect and artist Marco Mencacci, the exhibition unveils a genuine ballet of shapes and materials in which the immobility of the costume gives way to the motion of the dance.
The tone is set from the start of the exhibition. The visitor explores the rooms under paper volutes reminding with delicacy and grace of the bottom of the tutus, as if they were
suspended over his head. He can discover splendid costumes by Hervé Léger for Rythme de Valse with a choreography by Roland Petit at the Paris Opera.
These creations make light of forms, presenting singular silhouettes, for a dance beyond abstraction. In her day, Isadora Duncan revealed a lot about her dance and about herself in her ample tunics, an homage to Ancient Greece. As for Nijinski, he outraged the audience with his slinky tights in his cunningly provocative Afternoon of a Faun.
With the Second Skin theme, the following rooms unveil the underside of dance: leotards, precious tights, window-dressings, carefully designed transparency; in a nutshell, the costume becomes a second skin to enhance lines and curves. It is a journey to the world of the body proposed by the surprising designs of Balmain, Givenchy, On aura tout vu, Adeline André or Christian Lacroix.
It is then the turn of the materials to reveal themselves in a fourth theme. Dance is an incredible field of experimentation, and through it the costume designers dare innovate. Here the visitor dives into researches of creators like Iris van Herpen or Hussein Chalayan, from the choice of the fabrics to the cut of the costumes.Hussein Chalayan proved his genius with his work on the cutting, the folding and the stitching of his costumes. Coco Chanel is the first for Le Train Bleu to have dressed the dancers of the Russian Ballets with jerseys. In this tribute to sport, materials play freely. Mademoiselle Chanel is the guest of honour in these showcases.
Finally, the exhibition ends with a dramatic turn of events and a characteristic duo. Unique by its richness as well as its longevity, the collaboration between Maurice Béjart and Gianni Versace brought to life about ten ballets and remains one of the most famous worldwide. The visitor will rediscover some of the great roles elevated by Béjart in productions like Pyramide – El Nour or Souvenirs de Leningrad, not forgetting the notorious dress created by Versace for Sylvie Guillem in the ballet Sissi l’impératrice anarchiste.
Dance and Fashion Designers is an homage to dance in all its forms.