Chanel Costumes the Opening Gala of the Opéra national de Paris 2021 Dance Season – Sans Audience
As the pandemic made its best attempts to completely shut down our cultural lives, few things have more poignantly captured the sadness of it all than the endless images of empty theaters, concert halls and opera houses. But art always finds a way to reach us when we need it most – and the sheer determination of those who wish to deliver it to us has been at times nothing short of breathtaking.
One of the most beautiful examples came on January 27, when the Opéra national de Paris commenced its 2021 dance season with an Opening Gala…that had no physical audience. Rather, it was streamed around the world via their own digital platform, L’Opéra chez soi (which translates simply to “the opera at home.”)
For this occasion, the Principal dancers Valentine Colasante and Hugo Marchand together performed the Grand Pas Classique – a famous pas de deux first presented in 1949 (with choreography by Victor Gsovsky, set to the music of Daniel-François E. Auber). The graceful, almost fantastical costumes were created exclusively by Chanel, under the direction of Creative Director Virginie Viard.
Indeed, the feminine silhouette was characterized by a midnight blue silk bustier, with a tutu of black tulle, embroidered with a constellation of sequins, beads and strass, to evoke a star-lit sky – the latter being the work of House of Lesage, one of Chanel’s Métiers d’art. The masculine outfit was also illuminated by similar celestial and poetic motifs.
Chanel‘s involvement with the dance word dates all the way back to Coco Chanel attending a 1913 performance of Stravinsky’s groundbreaking The Rite of Spring, which was said to be a life-changing experience for the legendary designer and cultural impresario. So obviously no virus, no matter how insidious, would be able to break that chain.
The Gala opening of the Opéra national de Paris’ 2021 dance season is available online on L’Opéra chez soi.