Jean lingerie china Paul Gaultier creates costumes for Snow White ballet by Preljocaj
Picture the scene. You invite Jean Paul Gaultier to dinner. Wholesale Bikini At some point during the meal you nervously float your proposal: you want the Parisian haute couture legend to design all the costumes for your new ballet. Gaultier, to your disbelief, says yes — and, what’s more, he will do it gratis. In a blaze of creativity, he produces almost 300 sketches in 10 days. Then, like fashion’s version of Santa Claus, he arrives at your studio bearing the finished product — piles of dazzling costumes in very un-ballet leather and vinyl. “For the dancers, it was like Christmas,” recalls Angelin Preljocaj.
It was so exciting for everybody.”Preljocaj, Wholesale Corsets one of Europe’s leading contemporary choreographers, tells the story with relish. When he started his hunt for a designer for his new ballet Blanche Neige, or Snow White — crafted for his sleek, celebrated 26-member dance company, Ballet Preljocaj — Gaultier was on the top of his wish list.Fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier. Picture: Rainer TorradoHe had seen one of the designer’s catwalk shows in 2008 with models dressed in gloriously ornate costumes inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid — think seashell bras, dresses with fish scales, seaweed and net, hair wreathed in algae — and “so when I was thinking who could do the costumes for this, I was really orientated towards him. I was fascinated, thinking, ‘Wow, he’s the right guy for it.’ ”Little did he imagine that the designer would say yes — or that Gaultier would be a fan of his work.
The designer had been impressed after seeing a production sexy lingerie supplier at the Avignon Festival. “At first, he was thinking I am asking him to do an abstract ballet because the works he had seen from me were abstract. But when I proposed to him that it was a fairytale, he was really enthusiastic. I asked him to come to the atelier of the set designer and see the maquette, the — comment dire — set model? I showed him my vision for Snow White … and during this time he is writing, writing in his notebook.” Two weeks before the premiere, the costumes finally arrived. After a fitting with the dancers, the perfectionist Gaultier basically started all over again, says Preljocaj.“I was thinking, ‘OK, good, we’ve got the costumes’, and then he starts to remodel and change things — it was another scale of creativity.” And he did it for free “because, yes, when we started this project, we don’t have enough money [to afford] Jean Paul Gaultier, but he was so excited to accept.
He was very enthusiastic and wholesale Christmas costumes very generous — he is a kind of co-producer of this work.”So what did audiences see when the curtains rose at the premiere of the work at the Biennale de la Danse de Lyon in 2008? This being Gaultier, Snow White’s look was pure sex. Think horns, latex bustiers, suspenders, bustles, leather strapwork, and thigh-high vinyl boots strutting across Thierry Leproust’s magical set with its giant silver mirror and rock wall. The effect in a snapshot? “Renaissance festival meets bondage club”, in the view of one bemused critic.The Queen, arriving in a clap of thunder, is an S&M high priestess in black gloves, black hood and PVC dominatrix boots who later orally “rapes” Snow White with that notorious apple. The young boar killed by the Huntsman is a bare-breasted woman with huge horns. And Snow White? She’s dressed in something akin to a toga or thong or baby diaper with plenty of leg and loin flashing. According to Gaultier, “it clings to the skin like a … a … like a miracle! Like she’s wearing nothing.”Audiences and critics gasped at the spectacle. There were jeers (too fantastical and fetish club-by) and cheers (emotionally powerful, visually spectacular) in equal measure. Australian audiences get their opportunity to judge when Ballet Preljocaj premieres Snow White at Queensland Performing Arts Centre tonight as part of the QPAC International Series 2016. The Brisbane Festival also will feature a bloody reimagining of the tale in a new opera, a collaboration between La Boite Theatre and Opera Queensland under the direction of Lindy Hume, as well as screenings of the 1916 silent film and 1937 Disney Snow White at the Gallery of Modern Art.To Preljocaj, there’s nothing prurient in his version of the story.
This state of onstage deshabille, as the French put Wholesale Bikini it, is central to the tale, he says — sexuality with all its weird and twisted tributaries is the engine that drives this dark 1812 Brothers Grimm classic. This is a story of sexual attraction, love, lust, obsession, revenge and hate — a fairytale, then, that could have been made to order for a choreographer long celebrated for being outre noir, or beyond black.Since emerging out of the experimental dance boom in France in the 1980s, the French-Albanian dance maker has made waves with works ranging from his 1990 Romeo and Juliet (with the protagonists reimagined as a homeless drifter and a daughter of a dictator in a bleak totalitarian state) to his 2001 Rite of Spring featuring a gang rape and the stripping naked of the protagonist. His 1996 work Annonciation attracted the ire of Orthodox Russians and conservative US political commentators alike with its depiction of a female archangel Gabriel smooching the Virgin Mary.His visceral 1998 Casanova for the Paris Opera Ballet featured bloody red cavities and X-rays, with famed ballerina Isabelle Guerin reciting the symptoms of venereal disease from a medical textbook.But about 2008, after finishing a run of typically cerebral, dark and dense abstract pieces such as Empty Moves and Eldorado (Sonntags Abschied), he craved something different, he says: “I wanted to do something mysterious, romantic, magical — a narrative ballet.”