Statement Dining | December 13, 2015 | Fashion
The Ballets Russes:
still en pointe
Cultural exemplaries don’t come with a more far-reaching influence than Serge Diaghilev – father of the dazzling Ballets Russes.
He introduced his revolutionary company in 1909 to a Paris that had seen ballet become sober and predictable.
His production was triumphant, with daring scores, exotic costumes and a host of cutting-edge choreography, performers and designers. The characteristic colour-drenched visuals were shaped by Russian artist Léon Bakst, although Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró and Coco Chanel were all associated with the company over the years.
Visuals aside, the star of the show was the remarkable dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, who also choreographed successive shows in radical style.
The designs and colours caused a sensation, their influence spilling out of the theatrical world into fashion and interior design. The Ballets Russes look was sensual and indulgent, including exotic influences and folk art.
Even today, the Ballets Russes influence can be seen, with Alice Temperley, Wedgwood, Celia Birtwell and Zandra Rhodes referencing the movement in collections.
Lets take a look at some of the current highlights:
Temperley employs strong colour, nomadic influences and boho opulence into her collections – mirroring those used in Ballets Russes performances. This Flutura Embroidered Dinner Scarf (£395) adds suitable drama.
Image source: TemperleyLondon.com
Wedgwood’s Cornucopia collection, featuring bands of ivory parchment and dark navy, roped with an ochre accent and rimmed in 22-carat gold, encapsulates the opulent spirit of the Ballets Russes.
Designer Erdem Moralioglu has paid homage to Diaghilev’s creations and the rich, gypsy florals of his pre spring 2016 collection still display a connection between their aesthetics.
Image source: Erdem/Website
Rhode’s trademark rich colour and flowing shapes are perhaps the closest contemporary descendent of the Ballets Russes. This two-piece from her new season collection is a great example of her show-stopping colour and bold shapes.
Image source: ZandraRhodes/Website