The Bond between Dance and Fashion

by Monday, July 3, 2017

It is widely known that fashion finds its inspiration in every nook and cranny of art, from architecture to film and theatre. Even though each functions as its own cultural space, the worlds of ballet and fashion are often interwoven. This fusion takes place not only through the  works of famous designers who, more than often, use modern and classical dances as an inspiration for their collections, but as well through numerous others spheres of fashion, and art in general.  When it comes to fashion, the motif of ballet can be repeatedly found in different celebrity designers’ collections, from Coco Chanel to Yves Saint Laurent to Giorgio Armani. This breathtaking synthesis has produced the fashion trend that in real has never faded away – transparent tulle, pastel colors and layering, daring but at the same time secure combination.

Designing ballet costumes

If we would try to recall the very beginnings of fashion-theatre collaboration, we would have been lost halfway through it, since the history of cooperation between the two is so long and profuse. The fashion gurus such as Vivien Westwood, Carolina Herrera, Sarah Burton and many others, used to create remarkable theatre costumes.  The main idea of these collaborations usually lies in depicting the importance of movements and costumes in art. Designers are often led by the need of contemporary women to enjoy in graciousness and freedom of the movements that these designs will enable them. Linking fashion, as a prevalent art form, with ballet, unfortunately, less promoted one, ballet performances have managed to gather a wider audience, while fashion designers have got an opportunity to participate in a merely artistic project.

Valentino Garavani for the New York City Ballet

Ballet dancers being models   

On the Opening Ceremony of the New York Fashion Week last year, the audience was appalled seeing the models slipping and falling all over the runway.  However, these falls were, without a doubt, staged. Namely, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim asked New York City Ballet to play the part in the presentation of their collection. The catwalk performance was a prearranged choreography consisting of many trips, but as well numerous graceful movements.

The number of ballet dancers who have appeared as main characters in numerous music videos, as well as models on the runway, is surprisingly increasing.  Since the art of movements brings the best in us, the audience is always delighted by seeing these collaborations. The performance of a Ukrainian ballet dancer left the audience speechless last year. He brought a story of his own to the song of a famous Irish musician Hosier. Here, in particular, we could see how mighty the power of the movements could be, and how strong message could be carried solely through the perfect mixture of intricate, still overly simplified body actions.

Ballet on fashion photography

The motif of ballet is frequently represented in the field of fashion photography as well. Inspired by the graciousness and sophistication of ballet dancers, photographers are often reaching for exactly this pattern to fill in their editorials. These photographs are clearly depicting the style and grace of a prima ballerina that is now being transferred to the everyday woman. Few years ago, a renewed editor of French Vogue, Carine Roitfeld, dedicated an entire issue of her new magazine CR Fashion Book, to ballet.

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