And now for something completely not different. We were distracted, at ‘Dance at the Music Center,’ by an unflattering costume created for the lead dancer in Ballet Preljocaj’s “Snow White.”
Baby-diaper by front, bird-tail by back, and bared flesh in between, it was fabricated by haute couturier Jean-Paul Gaultier. It sent the viewer’s eye onto the dancer’s exposed upper thigh and derriere. Okay, it didn’t work. No big deal.
We had to laugh, however, when our friend noted, after the performance, that Snow White’s look, and even more so the black version worn by the story’s wicked stepmother, bore an uncanny resemblance to a notorious ensemble from the past.
It bares mentioning, er … it bears… well, Gaultier’s dance wear certainly recalls Cher’s kooky “thong” get-up of 1989.
We spent a good deal of time during the ballet, as the Mahler music sequenced, tracking whether the white fabric’s draping would wrest the fairy tale from “R” to “X” rating. At the coda, Gaultier clad Mlle. Blanche in a lovely tiered ballgown. But it came late.
In the Washington Post, dance critic Sarah Kaufman speaks to the fashionista about his dance creation.
“There was something very tender and beautiful between her and the prince,” Gaultier says, recalling the moment with evident awe. “Sensual but beautiful and pure. I try to make an outfit that is white, innocent, in jersey, but that drapes. It’s attached with a kind of elastic you don’t see. It clings to the skin like a . . . a . . . ” he searches for the word. “Like a miracle! Like she’s wearing nothing.”
The look is part Grecian goddess, part diaper, with a train. It’s open on the sides, so Snow White bares quite a lot of skin, but the way the fabric wraps between her legs, suggesting a baby’s swaddling, is just as Gaultier described it: at once sexy and chaste.
For her, there is none of Gaultier’s customary irony. In the face of innocence, the designer set aside architecture, exquisite stitchery and any character detail whatsoever. “It’s really not a costume; it’s like it doesn’t exist,” he says. “It’s just some fabric.”
We preferred the parade of naked derrieres in Frederick Wiseman’s latest documentary film, “Crazy Horse.”
Beaucoup plus jolie.
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