Ballet and fashion are well-matched partners, especially when the right designer is involved. Since April, Valentino has been visiting New York City Ballet’s costume department, at the behest of director Peter Martins, who asked him to create costumes for the company’s fall gala. “I don’t think he does anything but on a big scale,” says costume director Marc Happel. Valentino did have to scale back his vision for the ladies’ hair though: “It became obvious in the fittings that this huge hair was not possible to dance in,” Happel says. “I think he realized it was too much.”
Signature Valentino red pops up in this “collection” of sixteen costumes—notably in a bloom-festooned silk chiffon-and-organza gown and a torus-shaped tutu with tulle ruffles. But the designer stuck primarily to a black-and-white palette. The women wear dramatic, voluminous gowns straight out of a Russian novel, as on principal Teresa Reichlen (at right). “I like the idea of something romantic, for girls who want to dance and flirt,” Valentino says. “She is just beautiful, and I liked to see how happy she was wearing something so different.”
Valentino fitting a costume on Teresa Reichlen.
Valentino with Peter Martins, the ballet’s Master in Chief.