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Noovo Editions


Noovo Editions is an independent editorial project with online and paper editions. First of its kind in Spain from an unique and contemporary perspective on the international panorama,
Noovo seeks not only to be an aesthetic arbiter but also a cultural mediator at the juncture between Fashion, Photography & Jewellery.
A platform to show the highest level of creativity from around the world

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Capezio, "Duro Toe" pointe shoes, 1941. Gift of David P. Dann, 86.21.48. Photograph by Eileen Costa © The Museum at FIT

"Dance & Fashion" explores the relationship between two great embodied art forms: dance and fashion. Dance has utilized a wide variety of costumes, including contemporary fashions, to identify different characters, but there are also certain iconic styles, which represent a dance more abstractly. Tutus and pointe shoes, for example, are integral to the image and movements of the ballerina, just as leotards and tights are associated with the modern dancer.

Traditionally, dance costumes were created by dancers (such as Martha Graham), artists (such as Léon Bakst), and costume designers (such as Karinska).  But in recent years, fashion designers have increasingly been invited to create dance costumes. For example, Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino designed for the ballet and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons provided costumes for Merce Cunningham. Fashion designers have also been inspired by the dance. Christian Dior loved the tutus of Romantic ballerinas, while the shoe designer Christian Louboutin has transformed pointe shoes into fetishistic high heels. The focus of this exhibition is on ballet and modern dance, but other dance forms, such as tango, flamenco, and stepping are featured.

MFIT's exhibition "Dance & Fashion" is a stunning exploration of the relationship between these two embodied art forms. Organized by the museum’s director, Dr. Valerie Steele, and set in a dramatic mise-en-scène created by architect Kim Ackert, "Dance & Fashion" features nearly 100 dance costumes and dance-inspired fashions, ranging from the 19th century to the present, many of which have never been exhibited.

"Dance & Fashion" opens with a superb display of ballet costumes and related fashions from the 1830s and 1840s, the era of the Romantic ballet. A rare Spanish-style costume worn by the great ballerina, Fanny Elssler, is accompanied by fashions of the period. A costume by Christian Bérard for Symphonie Fantastique, along with a costume by Mme Karinska for Ballet Imperial, demonstrates the evolution of classic ballet costume, while a costume from Creole Giselle for the Dance Theater of Harlem evokes the continuing appeal of the Romantic ballet.

Christian Dior’s Black Swan ball gown epitomizes ballet’s influence on fashion design. Conversely, Marc Happel, costume director of New York City Ballet, has said that his costumes for Symphony in C were inspired by fashions designed by Dior and Balenciaga. The pointe shoes of famous dancers such as Anna Pavlova and Margot Fonteyn are juxtaposed with high-fashion styles by Christian Louboutin and Noritaka Tatehana that were inspired by ballet shoes.

The Orientalism of the Ballets Russes (1909-29) has also influenced generations of fashion designers, from Paul Poiret to Yves Saint Laurent. A costume from Schéhérazade, 1910, designed by the artist Léon Bakst and recently acquired by The Museum at FIT, is the centerpiece in a display of extraordinary fashions and costumes, including a couture ensemble from Yves Saint Laurent’s 1976 Ballets Russes collection and an ensemble by Ungaro worn by Princess Caroline of Monaco. There are also costumes worn by dancers such as Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Among the fashion designers who have created costumes for the ballet are Yves Saint Laurent and Riccardo Tischi of Givenchy (for the Paris Opera Ballet), Christian Lacroix, and Jean Paul Gaultier, plus Valantino Garavani, Prabal Gurung, Giles Mendel, Olivier Theyskens, Rodarte, and Iris Van Herpen, all of whom have created costumes for New York City Ballet.

For the modern dance section, the Martha Graham Dance Company has loaned noteworthy dresses, some designed and worn by Graham herself, and others the product of a close collaboration between Halston and Graham. Once adamantly opposed to ballet, modern dance choreographers have increasingly incorporated elements from ballet and other dance genres, resulting in new forms of modern and post-modern dance. "Dance & Fashion" includes several important African-Caribbean-inspired costumes from Katherine Dunham, a costume from José Limon’s Moor’s Pavane, and one from Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. Fashion designers featured who have created costumes for modern dance include Narciso Rodriguez for Morphoses, Francisco Costa for Elisa Monte, and Tara Subkoff for Stephen Petronio, among others. A highlight is a costume from Merce Cunningham’s Scenario designed by Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, juxtaposed with a CDG “bump” dress, which inspired the dance costume.

credits: 1:Rodarte, woman’s costume for Two Hearts, Spring 2012, lent by New York City Ballet. Photograph © The Museum at FIT. 2:Jean Paul Gaultier, man’s costume for Façade, un divertissement 1993, lent by Maison Jean Paul Gaultier. Photograph by Eileen Costa © The Museum at FIT. 3: Prabal Gurung, woman’s costume for Capricious Maneuvers Fall 2013, lent by New York City Ballet. Photograph by Eileen Costa © The Museum at FIT. 4: Valentino, woman’s costume for Bal de Couture Fall 2012, lent by New York City Ballet. Photograph by Eileen Costa © The Museum at FIT

Comme des Garçons ballet flats, Comme des Garçons, pearlized patent leather and elastic ballet flats, Spring 2005, The Museum at FIT, 2005. Photograph by Eileen Costa © The Museum at FIT






In addition to ballet and modern dance, there is a flamenco dress and a selection of flamenco-inspired dresses by designers such as Cristobal Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, Jeanne Paquin, Oscar de la Renta, and Ralph Lauren. Recently, Rick Owens was so inspired by African-American step dancers that they performed at his runway show in Paris. Examples of his designs are also included.

Also on view is art work by David Michelek featuring ballerina Wendy Whelan, and a series of 13 photographs and a video by acclaimed dance and fashion photographer Anne Deniau, also known as Ann Ray, in collaboration with performers from the Paris Opera Ballet.  In addition, there are selected dance videos, as well as videotaped interviews with Marc Happel, costume director of the New York City Ballet, and others. 

A multi-author book, published by Yale University Press, accompanies the exhibition.

Dress and adornment have long played an important role in the visual allure of dance, and fashion designers have often been inspired by the way dancers look. The tutus and pointe shoes of the Romantic ballerina, for example, have influenced designers from Christian Dior to Christian Louboutin. Cristóbal Balenciaga was inspired by the drama of flamenco, Yves Saint Laurent by the Orientalism of the Ballet Russes, and Rick Owens by the dynamism of African-American steppers. Fashion designers  are also increasingly collaborating with choreographers to create stylish new dance costumes—from the “bump” dresses by Comme des Garçons for Merce Cunningham  to Valentino’s “Bal de Couture” designs for New York City Ballet.
 
Lavishly illustrated with both contemporary and historical images, the book features essays by ten  fashion experts, who explore various aspects of the reciprocal relationship between dance and fashion, from the liberating effects of the tango to the influence of ballet on Japanese girl culture. Designers featured include Leon Bakst, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Comme des Garçons, Christian Dior, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Halston, Barbara Karinka, Isaac Mizrahi, Rodarte, Yves Saint Laurent, Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy, Valentino, and Iris Van Herpen.   
 
This beautiful book explores for the first time the synergy between dance and fashion, and is an original and inspired contribution to the study of both art forms. 

 

Halston, woman’s costume for Tangled Night, 1986, lent by Martha Graham Dance Company. Photograph © The Museum at FIT Stella McCartney, man’s tattoo costume for Ocean’s Kingdom, Fall 2011, lent by New York City Ballet. Photograph © The Museum at FIT
Rick Owens, ensemble, Spring 2014, lent by Rick Owens. Photograph © The Museum at FIT. Narciso Rodriguez, woman’s costume for Locomotor 2014, lent by Stephen Petronio Company. Photograph by Eileen Costa © The Museum at FIT
 

For more information: http://exhibitions.fitnyc.edu -----http://yalepress.yale.edu

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