Tuesday 2nd April

| BY Paul Toner

When Two Become One: Remembering The Moments When Fashion and Dance Joined Arms

Maria Grazia Chiuri loves a good boogie, doesn’t she? Though you won’t find the Dior creative director doing any of the Fortnite dances anytime soon, she prefers something a little more bourgeois. Similarly to Christian Dior himself, dance has been a lifelong passion for Chiuri, who sees all style variations as “a liberating gesture expressed through body movement.” Dior’s leading lady has collaborated with Eleonora Abbagnato to design costumes for Nuit Blanche, staged this weekend in Rome – the first of three ballets in homage to composer and musician Philip Glass. Dance is already ingrained into Chiuri ‘s vision for the house. Just last September, she turned to choreographer Sharon Eyal to cast a chorus of dancers who intertwined alongside an array of elegantly pleated dresses in putty hues – her excellent technique for draping is a perfect fit for the ballet. In celebration of the monumental moment for the designer, here are some blasts from the past with our favourite fashion-dance crossovers.

Dries Van Noten for Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Rain (2017)

Dries Van Noten’s design lexicon has become defined by his marriage of clashing textures, awash with bold prints in both pastel and acidic hues. Yet when appointed to design the costumes for the 2017 recital of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Rain, the palette was muted. The energy of the performance is of high altitude, where the choreography follows geometric patterns and numerical formulas. For such a technical performance, the designer honed in on the cut of the garments, his aim to give the dancers enough ability to move as possible.


Hussein Chalayan for Gravity Fatigue (2015)

As a designer, Chalayan knows no limit. An auteur in redefining the possibilities of what clothing can be, he’s made skirts out of coffee tables and dresses that melt, fold into envelopes and that are made from components of an aeroplane. The theatrics are of equal importance to the precision of the cut for the designer, so it was the natural progression for him to take his designs to the stage. For his debut dance performance, Gravity Fatigue, Chalayan delivered a masterclass in storytelling, through the immense technical abilities of his designs. The clothes hold their own, not as a separate entity, but an integral element to the show’s narrative.


Prada for Fortuna Desperata (2015)

For a one-night-only rendition of Fortuna Desperata, a Performa Commission by Francesco Vezzoli and David Hallberg, Miuccia Prada was given the task of creating Hallberg’s costume, his first show after a year-long absence from the stage. Embellished in crystals and stones, the black woollen number was paired with odd socks, pulled high, jester-esque even. It was a perfect fit for the performance which was supposed to read like “a futuristic version of a painting by Beato Angelico” Vezzoli told WWD back in 2015.


Gareth Pugh for Carbon Ballet (2012)

Before he entered the fashion realm, Gareth Pugh was a trained dancer. Sadly, when he picked up the scissors, he hung up his dancing shoes. He did, however, make a brief return to the theatre, not to bust out some killer pirouettes, but to create the costumes for Royal Opera House ballet production, Carbon Life. In signature Pugh style, the sculptural looks were truly eerie. Robust in shape and creature-like through sinister masks, it’s classic Pugh in all its twisted glory.


Riccardo Tisci for Boléro, Paris Opera Ballet (2013)

Skulls, bones and a lot of intricate lace detailing: Riccardo Tisci’s Boléro costumes focused on the beauty that lies within. Choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet, with a set designed artist Marina Abramovic, Tisci’s army of dancers all sported transparent catsuits, their bones and spinal cords re-imagined through embroidered white lace, a rather beautiful effort in accentuating the physique of each performer.