Sex and the Glissade

Great Design September 21, 2012 0
Sex and the Glissade

If we are doing our job correctly, then GreatDesign should celebrate creativity, especially when it crosses two highly visual disciplines.  In this case, it’s dress and dance.

As the dancers graced the Lincoln Center stage at last night’s New York City Ballet Fall Gala, audiences were treated to extraordinary new designs by Valentino Garavani.

No, this was not a runway show.

The famed Italian designer, who retired from the fashion world in 2008, brings his glamour and dramatic precision to sixteen costume designs for an upcoming NYCB production.

Sarah Jessica Parker, a board member for the ballet company, wanted “to have an extraordinarily special designer, or two or three, who would build new costumes for new ballets.”

The plan appears to be working.

Leading up to the Fall Gala, Parker and Valentino sat down to chat about creativity, collaboration, and the discipline of dance.

Below is an excerpt from that interview originally published this week in The New York Times.

VALENTINO (wearing a brown check blazer, blue shirt, gray knit tie and ecru trousers) You know that Sarah Jessica was a ballet dancer when she was much younger?

MS. PARKER (in a strappy black dress with colorful spots, her hair up) I was a ballet dancer at the American Ballet Theater in the 1970s, but I started dancing in Cincinnati before I moved to New York. Eventually, I had to make a decision between acting and dancing. You can’t treat ballet as casually. You can’t dip in and out of it, so I think I was better suited to be an actor due to my own temperament. But I love ballet and I still dream I can dance. I am really, really gifted in my dreams, much more so than I was in my actual practice.

VALENTINO When I was 19 years old working in Paris for a big fashion house, I took two years of classic ballet classes. Ballet, I think, is really something to admire. Those dancers really do just this, from morning to evening. They think about moving and doing exercises to have their muscles very warm. It is a sort of religion.

MS. PARKER It is a discipline that is unmatched.

VALENTINO I am a fairly good spectator. For me, when I go to the theater, it is a very important to applaud. In Italy, there are ladies, when they are in their mink coats or seated in those chairs, who think it is very vulgar to applaud. So you know what I do? I kick the chair in front of me so they move. The effort they do on stage is amazing, so when you are in the audience you must appreciate and realize the effort that they make.

Read the rest of Eric Wilson’s story here.

Valentino, Sarah Jessica Parker, New York City Ballet


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