Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The ‘Mad Professor’ Who Makes Sure the Tutus Swirl

The New York Times: On one side of the fitting room at New York City Ballet’s costume shop, the clothing designer Narciso Rodriguez was studying the neckline of a pink-and-black dress on the ballerina Indiana Woodward.

On the other side, the designer Rosie Assoulin was evaluating the length of a tailored jacket on Sterling Hyltin.

6 comments:

Jasmine Lesane said...

I’m excited that this was in the New York times! I think that articles like these are important for making fine arts more accessible. Theatre is really hard to understand, probably because it is so dependent on the live experience, but it also is only there for a moment. So if you miss it its gone, and people aren’t really into things they can’t immediately see now a days. But this article does a really comprehensive job of explain the care that goes into these costumes. We typically think of clothes of how they look on a rack or in a magazine article. For Dance it becomes a sort of science, clearly as this designer, Narciso Rodriguez, said he looks at proportion and gravity to inform his pieces. You have to pay such close attention to the specific movements of the garment, but at the same time ensure that the dancer is the lead focus.

Natalia Kian said...

This man is living my literal DREAM! Well, not necessarily "literal," but very close. I don't care how many times I have to say it to the incredulous ears of my colleagues, being backstage on wardrobe crew, addressing all potential problems before they can begin and making the show happen from the angle of it which I know best - that is what I love more than anything in this world. It's what makes me feel alive. To see the great pointillist painting which all of those little dots of detail come together to make, and then to use that to fuel the big picture is all I want to do. I am so gratified and moved to know that Mr. Happel not only has this job, but is appreciated and hailed by his colleagues for his unquestioned esteem and necessity. I have always thought that in order to have such a career I would need to look more into the realm of film and television, but now that I know dance holds potential for me I see a whole new path for the choosing. I hope that wherever he is, whatever shirt tail he is tucking in or tutu he is adjusting, Mr. Happel knows that he has inspired at least one person through this article. I hope to feel more inspiration of this type in the future.

Amanda Courtney said...

I think costuming and ballet have always gone very much hand in hand, and this collaboration seems like a very logical point for the two to meet. Think of Giselle, and the intrinsic billows of white tulle that dress the Willis. Or a show like the Nutcracker, and how readily one can conjure up visions of tutu clad sugar plums. It often seems to me that costuming and ballet were made for each other, as the graceful movement and form the dancers provide highlight the costumes, and the costumes in turn amplify that beauty and highlight the physical form. Though utilizing modern couturiers may seem to chafe against ballet, which is steeped in tradition and a sense of classicality, this is an important way in which dance and ballet may stay relevant. Ballet can frequently be alienating, and this is a ripe opportunity for those alienated to once more return to it, and meet it again in its revitalized form.

Claire Krueger said...

When the article said costumes are usually a third rung I found satisfaction knowing the true extent of the statement. A good costume fits, sometimes to the point where you pay it little to no attention. A bad costume stands out taking away from a performance. I like how they described the fashion show as one of the few events in which costume takes priority, because it is very true. This article is a great example on the toils and craftsmanship costume designers work through, and it does a good job of commandeering respect for costume designers and fitters.

Sarah Boyle said...

The costumes in the photos look extremely cool. I how the sheer material and the colorful neon accent appear to seamlessly mix the costumes and lighting. The skirt functions kind of like a gobo over her legs. It interesting that they brought in couture designers for this project, because they are used to dealing with different challenges than a costume designer, particularly costumes for dance requiring a greater range of motion. I imagine that the translation between costume types makes Happel’s job much more difficult, and more impressive. He has to understand the design, and technical side, and dance movements, and all of the perspectives and priorities of the people he is working with. And even if the some of the couture designers’ costumes don’t work for the performance, I think that bringing in a new type of designer, and their chose of media and style, is a good kind of risk to take.

Tahirah K. Agbamuche said...

I must say, it is a brilliant idea to bring top designers into entertainment and connect them with the arts. It is a great way to get some new idea’s present and I have never heard of this type of collaboration. As we learned from the article, there is certainly a lot of gaps that needs to be filled which is where the role of Mr.Happel comes in. He really is a wearer of many hats, which is extremely valuable. It is really interesting to see the different levels the designs need to filter to in order to arrive completed and ready on stage. I really admire Mr.Happel’s level headed, but creative personality. I can not imagine how stressful it is to serve as such a crucial go-between-points.It is unfortunate that Mr.Happel’s job is often overlooked, but it is nice that he is at least receiving praise now in the form of this article even if it is only a small amount.

CMU School of Drama