I’ve been dancing for 15 years of my life but I’ve never found ballet costumes particularly “beautiful.” The collaboration of the New York City Ballet company and Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton changed my mind.
Scrolling through Instagram one morning and finding my still favorite designer’s company handle showcasing the NYCB proudly, gave me a new appreciation for the brand. The costumes were created simultaneously with the choreography in order to compliment each other. As important as every movement is, the clothing sets the tone.
The costumes were custom made for New York City Ballet’s world premiere of Liam Scarlett’s ballet, Funerailles.
Funerailles is a duet, danced by principal dancers Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild. Peck’s costume features a black bodice with tasteful cutouts and gold accents, transparent long sleeves with more gold accents and a black skirt which gorgeously ombres to nude. Fairchild’s costume features black tights, which are normally worn for male ballet dancers. However the company added a black collared military style jacket with gold accents that resonates with Peck’s piece.
Both costumes appear comfortable and proved to be functional, which is essential for the dancers. If the costume is restricting, the dancer won’t be able to perform as well. The pieces were made of higher quality material than that of the usual itchy blend that typically makes up a ballet costume.
The fact that the costumes could be pulled off while off-stage appealed to me greatly. Almost all dance costumes can only be used on-stage. Off-stage they are out of context, I don’t see a tutu being worn on the L train as often as I see a pair of jeans.
The costumes and the choreography itself are dark but stunning which, intentionally or unintentionally, is a nod to the deceased designer.
The collaboration was made possible by actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who is the NYCB Board of Directors Vice-Chairman. Other talented designers, such as Carolina Herrara, Thom Browne and Mary Katrantzou, also participated in the historic project.