The New York City Ballet will reprise its annual Fall Fashion Gala this September, inviting fashion designers to create costumes for new works that will premiere that evening.
The company’s 2019 edition, the first to be presided over by its new leadership staff, will see costumes designed by Zac Posen and Anna Sui. The event is scheduled to take place Sept. 26.
Posen has been paired with City Ballet principal dancer and choreographer Lauren Lovette, wardrobing her third work for the company. The yet-to-be-titled ballet will accompany Tan Dun’s score, “Fire Ritual,” composed for solo violin and orchestra.
Sui will team with Edwaard Liang, artistic director for the Ohio-based BalletMet and a former dancer with NYCB as well as the Nederlands Dans Theater. The work will be set to a new composition for solo violin and orchestra, devised by Oliver Davis.
The Fashion Gala event is annually conceptualized by Sarah Jessica Parker, who acts as a matchmaker between choreographers and designers. Marc Happel, City Ballet’s costume director, then facilitates the designers’ visions — adapting their fanciful whims to suit ballet’s athleticism and the grand scale of its stage.
Parker initiated the fashion gala franchise in 2012 under City Ballet’s previous Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins. In the last seven years, it has seen collaborations with designers including Valentino, Thom Browne, Virgil Abloh and Dries van Noten, among others.
Martins’ successor, Jonathan Stafford, said he intends to keep the program in place.
“It’s been highly successful for the company, both artistically and financially, and it always brings a lot of excitement into the theater. It’s definitely something we plan to continue,” Stafford told WWD.
“The fashion gala collaborations follow in the tradition of [our founder] George Balanchine who had a history of working with artists from various disciplines. Anytime we branch out and collaborate with leading artists in other fields, it’s great for the company and the whole creative process,” he added.
“For many years, I’ve been pushing for a New York-centric Fall Fashion Gala. This year with Anna and Zac, I think it’s a really nice moment for New York designers,” Happel said.
“What I’ve really learned over the years is how to talk to fashion designers in a way that helps them understand our world and how they can bring their designs into it, in a way that works for the ballet but still has their unique fingerprint,” he added.
The gala evening will also include a performance of one of Balanchine’s seminal works, “Symphony in C,” a grand ode to classical ballet set to music by Georges Bizet and featuring a fleet of lavish costumes.
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