By Tricia Oliveira | Photos by Julien Benhamou
Dior's Maria Craria Grazia Chiuri has designed costumes for Nuit Blanche, one of three ballets being staged in homage to the composer and musician Philip Glass, set to run nightly at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma from 29 March to 2 April 2019.
For in this performance run, Eleonora Abbagnato, the Director of Ballet at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and an étoile at the Opéra National de Paris, will appear alongside the star dancer Friedemann Vogel in a piece choreographed by the French talent Sébastien Bertaud.
Dance has been a lifelong passion for the creative director of womenswear at Christian Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri, much like the namesake founder himself, who sees the art form, in all its variations, as a liberating gesture expressed through body movement.
For her, creating the costumes for Nuit Blanche represented the opportunity to deepen creative research at the crossroads of dance, culture and couture.
"I’ve admired Eleonora Abbagnato’s work for years," Chiuri explains, "She is an extraordinary artist who has worked hard to achieve her goals. She represents a great source of inspiration for a new generation of women. Her career, much like mine, was forged between Italy and France, which brings the two of us even closer together."
For this unique homage, the dazzling Eleonora Abbagnato dances alongside the internationally renowned Friedemann Vogel, in a powerful performance blending emotion and technical virtuosity.
"I am delighted and honored to be able to contribute to the staging of a project that combines so many elements of performance art, including music, choreography, set design and costume design. Here, my work is like a ‘choreographic exercise’ in itself, because it involves creating costumes that integrate perfectly with movement," notes Chiuri, who returned to Rome, her hometown, especially to work with the Ateliers at the Opera of Rome on this project.
Echoing her research for a collection dedicated to the art of movement, a favorite theme, the designer’s starting point was a reflection on the specificities of dancers’ bodies.
Maria Grazia Chiuri created sixteen costumes – including those of the star dancers – focused on new, contemporary definitions of femininity and masculinity, through the use of light, supple materials that best correspond to the technical and aesthetic requirements of dance. Knits and tulle are layered together on bodysuits and ensembles that are at once functional and enchanting.
Eleonora Abbagnato's full skirt is dotted with romantic silk flowers visible between two layers of tulle, as if preserved between the pages of a book, a symbolic floral reference in tribute to Dior's heritage.
The star dancers Eleonora Abbagnato and Friedemann Vogel symbolically wear ivory costumes, while the ballet corps appears in a kaleidoscope of powdery hues sheathed in black tulle worked with delicate silk flowers, like an impalpable cloud, heightening the visual impact of the performance.