Karl Lagerfeld designs 'beautifully graphic' costumes for ballet
Karl Lagerfeld was extremely detail oriented when it came to designing the costumes and set for ballet production Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet.
The German couturier already has his hands busy helming Chanel, Fendi and his eponymous label, but never turns down a new opportunity. His latest venture is for ballet master George Balanchine's production Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet at Paris' Opera Bastille, for which Karl has created an array of tutus, suede waistcoats and short velvet tailcoats as well as dreaming up the set.
Dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, the opera’s director of dance, was the one who approached Karl and is overwhelmed by the end results.
“He seriously is so thorough, it’s insane,” Benjamin, whose wife is Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman, told WWD.
“I have to tell you, I have worked with a lot of designers and he is so thorough, so serious. He did a lot of research, it’s just fantastic. (The looks are) so graphic, so beautiful. The way they move. There are some simple ideas that I’ve never seen on tutus and we have the best shop to execute it.”
Karl listened to the music featured in the production before sketching costumes to reflect the romantic and classical ballet, also drawing inspiration from a painting by Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser featuring graphic squares and stripes.
As for the set he looked to the Vienna Secession, an alliance of artists and designers formed in 1897, resulting in elements like a giant curtain of panelled swags and a dreamlike castle.
This isn't the first time Karl has designed for ballet; in 2009 he created an exclusive costume for The Dying Swan during the English National Ballet's Ballets Russes season. The costume was worn by the English National Ballet's senior principal dancer, Elena Glurjidze, who praised the designer for making a comfortable yet striking ensemble.
"We always say that the look is 50 per cent of how you are going to dance," she told Vogue U.K. at the time. "So it is very important to have a beautiful costume."