Riccardo Tisci has designs on ballet

Created costumes for Paris National Opera

We all know that, sartorially speaking, ballet isn’t all tutus and tiaras (right?), but the Opéra national de Paris can now lay claim to being more well-dressed than most: Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci has collaborated on the costumes for its newly-opened Boléro de Ravel.

It’s the designer’s first project of this kind but, as the beautiful sketch above demonstrates, he delivered – in spades.

‘It is one of the dreams of a designer to design costumes for a ballet. I have had offers in the past from many other big theaters/operas. But I never felt ready. When this one came along, I felt it was the moment to say yes for many reasons,’ Tisci explains.

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‘First, being Italian, I am very proud to have been asked to create costumes by Brigitte Lefèvre, director of danse at Paris’ national Opera, which is the biggest opera theater in the world and it is such an iconic institution in France. Second, because it is the Bolero.’

Speaking of the costumes, on which he collaborated with the atelier of the Palais Garnier, Tisci likens them to ‘Haute Couture for the stage’.

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‘The music has such an intense feeling. I wanted the dancers to feel naked somehow. The costumes express two sides of me: darkness and romanticism.

‘The dancers wear nude catsuits in illusion tulle embroidered with white lace forming a skeleton. They shed several layers as they dance, just like the life cycle of animals or flowers losing their petals. They become these moving skeletons, strong and fragile at the same time.’

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