NEW YORK — Four years after launching their own design collective, Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung are swirling with dance-related projects.
The New York-based pair and their costumes can be found in myriad locations in New York and beyond. The designers offer some wry commentary in “Ballet 422,” the documentary about New York City Ballet dancer and choreographer Justin Peck that is now in theaters. They also have designed what dancers will wear in this month’s premiere for “Heatscape,” Peck’s new piece for the Miami City Ballet that will feature a Shepard Fairey-designed backdrop.
They have also whipped up the costumes for “Despedida/Farewell” by Osnel Delgado for he Malpaso Dance Company’s current run at The Joyce. Last month that assignment called for a five-day trip to Cuba, where the troupe is based. In addition, Bartelme designed the costumes for Trey McIntyre’s new piece “Under Fire,” which is also being performed by the Malpaso Dance Company, which wraps up its New York run at The Joyce on Sunday.
Next month the duo’s creations will be sported by dancers in the Louisville Ballet’s updated performance of Balanchine’s, “Square Dance,” which will feature new decor by Letitia Quesenberry.
While Fairey’s boldly-colored and sometimes brazen work can be attention-grabbing, the costume designers made a point of bringing the Miami City Ballet dancers forward by using light colored costumes that they hope will make the dancers pop off the canvas of the stage. Fairey’s backdrop for “Heatscape” is a Mandala-inspired creation with powerful red tones and parchment colors that is both graphic and ornamental. Bartelme said, “The silhouettes are easy and youthful with graphic nods to the Fairey work in the form of darker piping in some seams.”
Bartelme and Jung — who became friendly in the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Fashion Design program before opening Reid & Harriet Design — will also show visitors to the Museum of Arts and Design how they get things done by participating in its Artist Studio program next month. And two weeks later their creations will be showcased as part of MAD’s performance series “Making a Scene: Objects for Performance.”
With the aforementioned five projects pretty much good-to-go, Bartelme and Jung are hoping to check off another major task on their to-do list — launching their own collection. Adept as they are at designing dancewear, they are considering launching swimwear later this year to put their understanding of perfomanc-oriented design to good use. Before enrolling at FIT, Bartelme spent 10 years working as a dancer and Jung earned a degree in molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley, where she was on the school’s hip-hop dance team. Jung also spent three years working at Jill Stuart. Having designed costumes for Peck, Marcelo Gomes, Andrea Miller, Emery Lecrone, Kyle Abraham and Jodi Melnick, among others, they have also worked on productions at American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, as well as other groups. Beyond the stage, the designers have dressed pop artist JbDubs.
This spring they are hoping to add something else to their dance card, so to speak. “Designing our own line is definitely something we’ve wanted to do for years and now we might have the time to go do it.” Bartelme said.