Evening Hours

Last night was the New York City Ballet fall gala and so I ditched my baby vomit digs for a Miu Miu dress and some Prada heels and got my hair did.  Peter and I shared a couple of glasses of champagne at Boulud Sud before heading to the theater to chit chat and people watch.  So many great sightings (Tory Burch is stunning and looks 28 years old; Martha makes cropped brocade trousers look sublimely black tie every time) and wonderful gowns.  Taking your seat at a gala makes the theater feel like a theater should feel: glamorous.  There were gowns in every color and every shape.  Some gorgeous, others not so.  One famous woman in particular was bedecked in a beautiful, feminine gown with a gorgeous updo.  But she slouched like a teenager.  I'll be self conscious about my posture forever after!

Since Sarah Jessica Parker joined the board of the ballet there has been an emphasis on fashion at the gala events.  Last fall the costumes were designed by Valentino.  In the Spring, by Altuzzara.  This performance featured three designers, each paired with a choreographer, each of whom staged a world premiere performance last night.  Each of the pieces was introduced by a short video illustrating the collaboration among the applicable choreographer, designer, and the poor man in the City Ballet's costume department who was tasked with producing the deisngers' wild ideas ("You want the detailing to look like...marmalade?")  The videos were a helpful, lighthearted way to provide context for the weirdness of some of the costumes: the costumes for one piece were made entirely of strips of black plastic; another piece featured gauzy, ethereal dresses with huge red scarring in different places on the dancers' bodies.

The collaborations were:

Justin Peck with Prabal Gurung, "Capricious Maneuvers" - a light, fun piece with a lot of technique and a bit of whimsy.  The costumes were pretty and most closely resembled the designer's own aesthetic onstage (a sort of coutureified active-wear).  Plus, Prabal's own tuxedo was so marvelously sharp when he took a bow.

Benjamin Millepied with Iris Van Herpen, "Neverwhere" - Really interesting pairing.  Benjamin's piece was so romantic, so gentle.  Very beautiful.  I really love Benjamin's work (Two Hearts is one of my favorite ballets).  Iris is romantic in the way of Alexander McQueen: surprising materials and jarring shapes that fall somwhere between 18th century court clothing and...an armadillo.  Iris dressed all of the dancers in strips of black plastic that made them look a little robotic.  It was an interesting contrast to the piece and worked surprisingly well, but I found the costumes a little distracting both in spirit and because the costumes made noise.

Angelin Preljocaj with Olivier Theyskens, "Spectral Evidence" - I loved this piece.  It was a dance that depicted the Salem Witch trials.  The men were in puricantical, black, buttoned up suits with waist coats which helped create an aura of intimidation onstage.  The women were in the gauzy white dresses with scars that I mentioned above.  The dancing and the music in this piece were so modern.  There were classic ballet elements, theatrical elements, and moments so full of energy and frenzy that they could have been in a Beyonce video.  In the end the women literally burn alive in white boxes lit up as fire, so it's...intense.  But amazing.  Also our friends Robbie Fairchild and Tiler Peck performed the lead roles in the piece and they were just so phenomenal. So phenomenal!

Tickets for the New York City Ballet fall season are on sale now so if you have a chance to see any of these three pieces, do it.  They were all amazing and an absolute delight to experience.  And if the cold weather this week has your head drifting to holiday: Nutcracker tickets go on sale on Monday.

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