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Christian Lacroix, La Source and the Paris Opera Ballet
(Christian Lacroix, La Source and the Paris Opera Ballet)

Start Date 16 June 2012
End Date 31 December 2012
Venue Centre National du Costume de Scene
Location Moulins, France
Curator Delphine Pinasa, Brigit Lefevre
Designer Eric Ruf
Aritistic Director Christian Lacroix
Mannequins in hats, coats and with bow and arrows on display

The Centre national du costume de scène et de la scénographie continues its collaboration with Christian Lacroix, following him into the heart of the Opéra national de Paris where he created the costumes for the ballet La Source, in a choreography by Jean-Guillaume Bart, Danseur Étoile. These sumptuous costumes embroidered with Swarovski crystals were worn on stage by the Paris Opera Ballet at the Palais Garnier in the autumn of 2011 and are presented here in an exhibition organized by Christian Lacroix.

This exhibition is an invitation to discover the costumes and accessories created for the ballet La Source, from their conception by Christian Lacroix to their creation by the costume workshops at the Palais Garnier and finally to the staging of the ballet. The scenography of the exhibition places the costumes in the context of their creation, recreating the costume workshops of the Palais Garnier in the exhibition spaces at the CNCS. Transported to the heart of the workshops, the visitor will discover these places hidden to the general public, where seamstresses and tailors work daily in the service of the splendor and beauty of theatrical productions.

Christian Lacroix, theater costume designer

Christian Lacroix, great fashion designer who has become a designer of costumes for theater, opera and ballet, created the sumptuous costumes for the ballet La Source, given at the Opéra national de Paris in the autumn of 2011. This classical ballet, which disappeared from the repertoire of the Opéra at the end of the 19th century, tells the story of the sacrifice of Naïla, spirit of the source, for the love of the hunter Djémil and his beautiful Nouredda. Jean-Guillaume Bart, Danseur Étoile, trained at the School of Dance of the Opéra, had long had the project to bring this ballet back to life. Brigitte Lefèvre, Director of Dance at the Opéra national de Paris gave him the occasion to do so, uniting the dramaturge Clément Hervieu-Léger, costume designer Christian Lacroix and scenographer Éric Ruf to accompany him in this adventure, and programming the ballet at the Palais Garnier.

These costumes, of refined neo-classical style for the fantasy roles, tinted with orientalism and shimmering colors for the folk characters, bear witness to the dream world of Christian Lacroix. He spoke about this during the preparation of the ballet in the costume workshops of the Opéra national de Paris, saying, “I wanted to give the impression that these costumes, as well as the ballet, had come out of a long sleep with their freshness and memories intact, and, in addition, to have the rustic aspects contrast with the opulence of the brocades, ornaments and jewels.”

The ballet is a succession of nymphs in Romantic tutus made of Japanese organza (one of the lightest fabrics in the world); of odalisques draped in tunics and loose pants made from old saris; of Caucasian women as “Russian dolls”, in their ethnic dresses, and Caucasian men in coats inspired by traditional clothing but given new color with the palette of Christian Lacroix. Costumes, hairstyles and tiaras decorated with Swarovski crystals.

Image courtesy of Centre National du Costume de Scene