Dannijo Bringing Performance Art to NYFW

For the brand’s fall collection, designers Jodie and Danielle Snyder were inspired by the seemingly contradictive nature of boxing and ballet.

A sketch from Dannijo's Boxerina collection.

NEW YORK — Float like a butterfly, bling like a bee.

This story first appeared in the February 3, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Dannijo is bringing boxing — and ballet — to New York Fashion Week with a performance art presentation for the brand’s fall collection, aptly titled “Boxerina.” Designers Jodie and Danielle Snyder were inspired by the seemingly contradictive nature of the two art forms.

“Ballerinas and boxers aren’t necessarily thought of together, but our jewelry is really the juxtaposition of hard and soft, and beautiful and rough,” said Jodie Snyder. “We thought combined, the two worlds are the perfect balance.” The theme also played into the designers’ desire to elevate their New York Fashion Week presence. “We really wanted it to be a multisensory experience, versus a one-dimensional presentation,” Snyder said.

With the help of a friend on the American Ballet Theatre board, they teamed up with choreographer Nicola Curry to create a special performance based on the concept. “She’s never really done anything during fashion week, and it’s so different from what they normally do, especially the whole boxing element,” said Snyder.

The performance will feature seven ballerinas performing the original piece, all draped in Dannijo jewelry. “The jewelry is not what you’d normally see in a ballet performance,” Snyder said. “But it incorporates this concept and embodies the spirit of what we wanted with the performance. It’s very true to the statement of Dannijo. It has the feeling that all of our collections do, except it does have hard edges with soft touches. We used a lot of pearls, which we haven’t used that much in the past.”

The presentation, scheduled for Thursday at Eyebeam studios, will include two performances of the ballet, held at 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. “It’s supposed to look like a snapshot into the world,” said Snyder. “Even when you aren’t there for the actual performance, they are stretching, they are practicing — it’s kind of like behind the scenes of rehearsal.”

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The designers also collaborated on clothing, teaming with American Ballet Theatre’s costume designers to create custom looks for the dancers. “It’s really about making this multidimensional show,” said Snyder. “The bottom line is the collection is hinging on the relationship between ballet and boxing and the ability to connect us to the bare essence of humanity. We really want people to walk in and be taken away by the performance.”

Continuing the trend of the past few seasons, social media will play an important part in the presentation. For fall, the brand has partnered with Olapic, a visual commerce platform. Any photo taken during the presentation using #boxerina will immediately be posted to dannijo.com. After fashion week, a video will be released documenting the performance concept. The sisters tapped sports photographer Neil Leifer, known for his portraits of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, to record the film’s narrative. “He’s doing this voice-over about boxing and why he loves the sport and how it relates to ballet,” said Snyder. “[The video] tells the story.…It will live on so much longer than fashion week.”