Fashion Designers Dressed Ballerinas for the NYCB Gala

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Rachel Hutsell in Jason Wu for Peter Walker’s ten in seven. Photo: Erin Baiano

The New York City Ballet held its fifth fall fashion gala this week. This year designers Rosie Assoulin, Narciso Rodriguez, Dries Van Noten, and Jason Wu created costumes for original ballets by choreographers Justin Peck, Lauren Lovette, Peter Walker, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa.

NYCB board member Sarah Jessica Parker, who masterminded the annual fashion collaboration, told the Cut that choreographers now participate in selecting the designers. “At this point the choreographers are offering up their ideas, so I think what’s happening now is the list is being curated as a group,” she said.

“I sort of can’t believe it,” she added, noting the fashion gala has raised $13 million* for the ballet company over five years. “I’m very proud of the work of the choreographers and the dancers, and to have this level of designers involved now year after year has been very meaningful. You know, it’s like bona fides.”

Designer Narciso Rodriguez said he loved working with choreographer Lauren Lovette. “She’s a very talented, very enthusiastic young woman, and I think her enthusiasm really was a great source of inspiration because she had so many ideas,” he told the Cut. “This being her first choreographed piece, she was very passionate. I just wanted to create something that was a good support for all her dreams.” Designing the costumes together, the two discussed lighting and their different ideas about how the dancers’ bodies would move.

For Peter Walker’s ballet ten in seven, Jason Wu used a lot of lace — which, he pointed out, is within the DNA of his brand — as well as bright injections of color for a more modern look. “It was kind of using their expertise and translating my aesthetic to the ballet,” he said. “I also got to do the men’s costumes, which is the first time I’ve done something for men.”

He laughed when asked if this experience inspired him to do a line of men’s clothing. “Well, not yet, but it was fun. It was really fun.” Click ahead to see the costumes and performances.

*This post has been updated to show the gala has raised $13 million in five years.

Fashion Takes Center Stage at the NYCB Gala