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Balmain designer to dress ballet dancers at Paris Opera

May 16, 2017

Balmain's Olivier Rousteing is designing the costumes for dancers in the Paris Opera's "Renaissance"


French fashion house Balmain's designer Olivier Rousteing is bringing his distinctive style off the runway and into the ballet as he dresses the dancers in a new performance at the Paris Opera.

Mr. Rousteing is known at Balmain for his combination of avant garde designs while respecting sartorial traditions. This combination made him the perfect fit for dancer and choreographer Sébastien Bertraud who is directing the ballet.

Balmain ballet
Mr. Bertraud is creating one of four pieces by young ballet talent that will premiere at the Paris Opera between June 13-18. His piece is called "Renaissance."

To design and clothe his dancers, Mr. Bertraud tapped Mr. Rousteing, based on the Balmain designer's daring innovations and respect for classical fashion.

The pair share a mutual love for France’s opulent visual history, including the aesthetic interests of Louis XIV, the Sun King who founded the institution that would later give birth to the Paris Opera.

Mr. Rousteing tried to combine classical ballet attire and silhouettes with a more fashion-forward Balmain aesthetic, drawing on a variety of influences both past and modern.

Renaissance and the three other pieces are part of the Paris Opera’s attempt to reach out beyond the traditional ballet audience and draw in new viewers. Bringing in a popular young designer from a world-renowned brand such as Balmain is one way the Paris Opera hopes to draw new people to the Palais Garnier.

Fashion and ballet have often gone together, such as a recent collaboration between Berluti and ballet dancer Benjamin Millepied.

For Mr. Millepied’s return to the stage at L.A. Dance Project’s annual fundraiser Dec. 12, Berluti designer Alessandro Sartori made a suit of wool and elstane, giving him the flexibility needed to perform. Ballet has frequently been a stage for fashion brands to prove their ability to think outside of the runway, while also showcasing the lines of their designs (see story).