In the 18th century, to which Le Parc repeatedly refers, the understanding of fashion changed considerably. Marie-Antoinette in particular, wife of Louis XVI, wore increasingly less restrictive cuts and lighter fabrics over the course of her life, setting an example for the ladies of society. The ideal of naturalness propagated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau - away from the artificiality of the aristocracy - and the new role of the bourgeoisie that came with it also had a significant influence on fashion. 
Costume designer and fashion designer Hervé Pierre  has intensively studied these historical developments in fashion. In particular, he makes the links between the costume design and the other elements of the performance visible to the audience: Angelin Preljocaj's choreography repeatedly quotes dance techniques from the 17th and 18th centuries. Thierry Leproust's stage design is inspired by the accurate, straightforward French garden art of the time and the music includes piano concertos by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Each of the ballet's three acts is characterised by its own unique quality of fabrics and cuts. Just as the emotions become more unadorned over the course of the three acts, the fabrics also become lighter. In the first act, both the men and the women wear velvety knee breeches, ruffled shirts with high collars and puffed sleeves, waistcoats and knee-length coats, so-called justaucorps. This formal, multi-layered clothing nevertheless characterises the posture much more strongly at the beginning than, for example, the costumes in the third act, which consist only of light, loosely cut, single-layered white fabrics, especially for the main couple.

Costume designer Hervé Pierre

Angelin Preljocaj's choreography allows the sensual rapprochement that unfolds between the main couple over the course of the three acts to take centre stage. Hervé Pierre comments on this play with an eye for detail and a great knowledge of fashion history. At the beginning of the second act, for example, the eight dancers wear effective, expansive Watteau dresses, named after the French rococo painter Jean-Antoine Watteau. These are characterised by the special design of the back pleats of the dress. 

During the performance, the dancers only have a few minutes to change costume and slip into these voluminous dresses. For these quick changes, each dancer is assisted by a dresser, who not only helps with putting on and taking off the dress, but also ensures that it fits correctly. 

These impressive dresses have been made in the Bavarian State Opera's in-house tailoring workshop since June 2023. Between 10 and 15 metres of fabric were used for each outer dress. French cotton fabrics were used, some of which are printed with original 18th century patterns. If you look very closely, you will discover not only harmless floral patterns, but also lustful hunting scenes in these patterns; a commentary by Hervé Pierre on the ambivalence of the interplay between seducing and being seduced.

Madison Young and Julian MacKay

About Hervé Pierre:

After graduating in art history and drawing (1984), Hervé Pierre studied fine arts at the Sorbonne University (Paris). In the 1980s, he attended the Écoles de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture and graduated at the top of his class in drawing and creation. In July 1988, he began his professional career at Pierre Balmain in the haute couture studio alongside Erik Mortensen. In July 1991, he signed his first haute couture collection at Pierre Balmain and designed two further collections in January and July 1992. The costumes for Angelin Preljocaj's ballet Parade (1993) marked his first involvement in the world of dance. He also created the costumes for Le Parc at the Paris Opera (1994) and for La Stravaganza for the New York City Ballet (1997). In 1999, he designed the costumes for the ballet Verdiana by Patrice Bart at the Berlin State Opera. Hervé Pierre has lived in the USA since 1997, where he has worked for Oscar de la Renta, Véra Wang, Bill Blass, Lars Nilsson and Carolina Herrera, among others. Hervé Pierre came to the Bayerisches Staatsballett for the first time for the premiere of Le Parc at the Bayerisches Staatsballett.

Wie gefällt Ihnen der Beitrag?

167 Reactions