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Arts and entertainment

Alaïa lends couture expertise to costume execution

March 21, 2023

Creative director Pieter Mulier helms an effort to outfit dancers starring in “Pit,” a new ballet composition taking place at The Paris Opera Ballet. Image credit: Alaïa Creative director Pieter Mulier helms an effort to outfit Paris Opera Ballet dancers starring in “Pit,”  the company’s new composition. Image credit: Alaïa


French couture house Alaïa is exploring the varied aspects of live performance with its latest undertaking.

For a costume design partnership involving the world’s oldest ballet company, the brand’s expressive ethos adheres to an entirely different format. The collaboration sees Alaïa injecting its codes into high culture, continuing fashion’s love affair with the theater in an effort helmed by the house’s creative director Pieter Mulier.

Alaïa arrivals
Arriving upon a world-renowned stage, an alternative project brings Mr. Mulier’s vision — an apparel effort for The Paris Opera Ballet helmed by the leader — to fruition.

Founded in 1669, the operation is owned by The Paris Opera. A mainstay in France, the centuries-old operation plays an outsized role in the rich cultural history of Alaïa’s home country.

For now, the brand continues to inject its codes into one historied practice in particular. Alaïa's atelier worked in tandem with the Opéra Garnier's, to bring costumes designed by its creative director to life.

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As evidenced by a set of newly-released images and videos, the brand is showcasing custom costumes created specifically for a new composition choreographed by dancers Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber, and hosted by the institution — the production, entitled “Pit,” debuted on March 17th.

Viewers watch as the creations come together in a round of newly-published assets, in which ballerinas are seen wearing garments inspired by their very own movements during the one-hour-long session.

Atelier lab coats and wrist pin cushions abound, one standout act appears to be clothed in Alaïa’s signature corded viscose material in a series of stage shots. Shortly beforehand, amid the brand's workshop, the dancer poses for a fitting in the long-sleeved white dress.

Set to a soundtrack reminiscent of a heartbeat, troupe members spring from the ground and pirouette about, engaging with the force of the full body throughout the selections.

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The presentation marks Ms. Smith and Mr. Schraiber's first bout of work for the Paris Opera Ballet. The sold-out show remains on view at the Paris Opera Ballet until March 30, 2023.

Boosting “ballet-core”
Ornamenting the company’s accomplished dancers, the maison’s most recent pursuit allows a group of artists to hone their respective crafts in more ways than one.

First off, the label is, itself, so deeply intertwined with French history, that a collaboration of this nature compliments both partners' narratives.

Alaïa's own assortment of ballet-influenced apparel also backs the level of authenticity the brand brings to the table, as ballet-core tightens its grasp on the industry In fact, Stylight Insights' Fashion Recap 2022 reported a steady increase in ballet flat inquiries on the platform, up 30 percent between October and November 2022 (see story).

The feminine flat proved to be spring/summer 2023's standout, running the runways of designers from London's Simone Rocha to Italian fashion house Miu Miu.

Trends aside, Alaïa is not alone in supporting the movement-based ballet exhibition.

Separately, “Pit” is separately sponsored by Swiss watchmaker Rolex, a luxury entity that has gone to great lengths to seed collections, providing the blueprint for many of the sport’s world’s strongest product placement initiatives to date (see story).