The Museum at FIT (MFIT) will present Dance & Fashion, a stunning exploration of the relationship between these two embodied art forms. Organized by the museum’s director, Dr. Valerie Steele, Dance & Fashion will feature 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 will open with a 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, will be accompanied by fashions of the period. A costume by Christian Bérard for Symphonie Fantastique, along with a costume by Mme Karinska for Ballet Imperial, will demonstrate the evolution of classic ballet costume, while a costume from Creole Giselle for the Dance Theatre of Harlem will evoke the continuing appeal of the Romantic ballet.
Christian Dior’s Black Swan ball gown will epitomize ballet’s influence on fashion design. The pointe shoes of famous dancers such as Anna Pavlova and Margot Fonteyn will be juxtaposed with high-fashion styles by Christian Louboutin and Noritaka Tatehana that were inspired by ballet shoes.
Among the fashion designers who have created costumes for the ballet will be Yves Saint Laurent and Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy (for the Paris Opera Ballet), Christian Lacroix, and Jean Paul Gaultier, plus Valantino Valentino Garavani, Prabal Gurung, Gilles 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. Fashion designers featured who have created costumes for modern dance will include Narciso Rodriguez, Francisco Costa, and Imitation of Christ.
In addition to ballet and modern dance, there will be a flamenco dress and a selection of flamenco-inspired dresses by designers such as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, Jeanne Paquin, Oscar de la Renta, and Ralph Lauren.
Image 1: Capezio, "Duro Toe" pointe shoes.
Image 2: Cristóbal Balenciaga dress.