A working day for London’s Royal Ballet dancers can exceed 12 hours. Following a 10.30am class, they’re in rehearsals till 5.30pm – rotating between as many as 5 productions at any given time – with an hour’s break for lunch and a sprinkling of physiotherapy appointments. And that’s earlier than they even get to the performances.
There’s only one week to go earlier than the opening night time of Christopher Wheeldon’s new single-act ballet, Corybantic Video games, on March 15 and the dancers are in the course of their first stage name. “It’s nearly like a brand new starting as a result of it’s the primary time anybody within the inventive and artistic groups will get a picture of how [the production] will look on stage,” principal Lauren Cuthbertson tells me as we emerge from the Margot Fonteyn Studio on the firm’s Covent Backyard headquarters. She has simply practiced her pas de deux – a dance consisting of sculptural and delicately interlacing actions – with fellow principal Ryoichi Hirano, as Wheeldon fine-tuned their each carry, pirouette and développé. “Till now we’ve been in our follow garments within the studio – a totally totally different setting. It’s at all times a bit nerve-racking as a result of there might be a lot change. The hair modified twice already; I used to be facet stage with my hair being undone and sprayed and pinned once more.” But amidst all of the brouhaha, this morning Cuthbertson says she skilled a “magical second,” as she paused to take inventory and realised: “Wait, I’m standing on the Royal Opera Home stage, carrying Erdem.”
Steered by the choreography and Leonard Bernstein’s orchestral rating Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium), the costumes include a mess of refined contrasts that – particularly en masse as a military of stylish kouros – is a putting sight and a noticeable departure from the lace and brocade of Erdem’s runway designs. The ballerinas’ champagne-coloured silk satin bodices and high-waisted pants are tailor-made with angular seams emphasised by boning, and their delicately pleated tulle skirts – which cascade right down to the ankles – have velvet ribbon painstakingly hand-stitched alongside the hem. The lads’s leotards in the meantime are such a low denier they nearly seem bare above the waist of their white tights. All of the dancers’ torsos are sheathed in several black velvet harnesses; a graphic element that resembles the spontaneous drapes of a chiton.
“I really like the concept of inspecting the time when the piece of music was created (the 1950s) and mixing that with one thing very Grecian,” Erdem Moralıoğlu says after we meet within the Royal Opera Home’s plush, pink velvet-clad Bedford Retiring Room. “The traces are very daring; it’s nearly like I’ve drawn over the physique with a marker. I additionally discovered myself earlier collections,” he continues. “The bustier form from spring/summer time 2018 that had a lot to do with 1950s underpinnings, and even the most recent autumn/winter assortment, with all these hand-pleated skirts, labored its approach into the present.”
From Christian Lacroix’s elaborate tutus for the Paris Opéra Ballet, to Dries van Noten’s informal outfits for Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Rain, fashion-dance partnerships have a wealthy historical past, and Wheeldon’s collaboration with Erdem for Corybantic Video games continues this legacy. When it was time to decide on a designer to create costumes for the 21 dancers, Moralıoğlu appeared a pure match for Wheeldon. The pair met six years in the past when the designer invited the choreographer to his style exhibits, having seen quite a few his ballets – together with A Winter’s Story (an adaptation of Shakespeare’s romance) and summary work After the Rain. It’s additionally not the primary time Cuthbertson has been wearing Erdem – she wore considered one of his robes to attend the Laurence Olivier Awards in 2015 – so this collaboration is born out of friendship in addition to mutual admiration. However why was he drawn to this ballet specifically? “I believe it was the concept of doing a totally new piece that was trendy – one thing that hasn’t existed earlier than,” he says.
Designing ready-to-wear is a considerably totally different problem to designing costumes for ballet. For one, style is about enabling somebody to specific themselves by means of garments. Costumes, alternatively, assist a dancer embody a personality. Then there are the sensible necessities. “Somebody having the ability to carry their leg above their head wasn’t one thing I had to consider once I was designing my final assortment,” Moralıoğlu says. “The costumes must [withstand] being washed after each efficiency, every costume is customized made to the dancer’s physique, so the fittings are terribly rigorous and final minute since you are working round their schedule.” Through the stage name, the free velvet ribbons connected to the harnesses hinder the dancers’ actions however, earlier than lengthy, Moralıoğlu and the costume workforce discover a resolution: small hid loops to carry the ribbons in place with out being too restrictive.
As for his foray into designing clothes for males, can we count on to see Erdem menswear exhibiting up on the London Style Week schedule anytime quickly? Not for now – he’s sticking to womenswear – except, he provides with fun, “it’s for dancers.”