Rudi Gernreich stunner: ‘The Swan’ for Lewitzky Dance in 1976

Dance · Fashion

We’re just starting to dig into the rich content of “Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich,” the exhibition now up and running at the Skirball Cultural Center, with its stimulating mix of design, gender, fine art, and social issues. All those elements came crashing together, in a sixties kind of way, in the work of the adventurous and fanciful Los Angeles-based fashion designer who died in 1985. As an appetizer, let’s seize upon Gernreich’s incredible ‘Swan’ costume created for for Bella Lewitsky Dance’s “Inscape” in 1976. It’s a playful and extraordinary update on Swan Lake’s “Odette.”

(Selections from ‘Inscape” will be restaged and performed at the Skirball by Luminario Ballet, clad in replicated Gernreich costumes, on June 23. Mark that calendar!)

In an exhibit filled with stretchy, body-hugging garments, nothing reveals a designer’s eager reach into three-dimensionality like this costume — anticipating equally wild spacial explorations by, among others, Alexander McQueen.

photo credit: dan esgro

Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich | Skirball Cultural Center | thru Sept 1

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