On Friday 19 November 2010 visitors packed into the stunning surroundings of the V&A’s Raphael Gallery to see the culmination of a unique project between London College of Fashion, English National Ballet and the V&A come to fruition.
To coincide with a major retrospective at the V&A: ‘Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, 1909-1929’, and the centenary of the Ballets Russes, London College of Fashion and English National Ballet have spent the past year working together on a unique project that has brought together these three cultural powerhouses with spectacular results.
Students were required to form their ideas by examining contemporary and historical fashion and engaging directly with the Ballets Russes, researching costumes in the V&A collections, the performances, the movement, the music, and the wonderment of fashion and costume.
To showcase the results of this hugely successful collaboration, 25 students were asked to take their designs – including garments, footwear and accessories – into production. These finished designs were unveiled on Friday as part of a special evening entitled ‘Ballets Russes Design Perspectives.’
The event also featured the premiere of a film documenting the project and a live performance by six English National Ballet dancers wearing the student collections, choreographed by English National Ballet Artist Stina Quagebeur.
Due to overwhelming demand, ENB decided to stage a second performance on the evening, to give the waiting visitors – hundreds of whom were queuing outside the Raphael Gallery – to get a glimpse of the dancers in the students’ collections. Watching the performance on the evening were David Bamber (Visiting Fellow and English National Ballet project advisor), Craig Hassall (Managing Director of the ENB), and Professor Frances Corner OBE (Head of College, London College of Fashion).