The new work that L.A. Dance Project founder and Paris Opera Ballet director Benjamin Millepied will show in Los Angeles on Saturday night also marks the first collaboration between Millepied and Berluti creative director Alessandro Sartori.
Sartori designed Millepied’s costume, which looks like one of the relaxed, modern suits in his ready-to-wear collection, yet stretches to accommodate Millepied’s movements.
“It’s my first time designing for the stage,” said Sartori, who was introduced to Millepied through friends in Paris and asked the chroreographer to appear in a short brand film. “It has the masculine look of a handmade outfit but at the same time the construction, design and technical material are very modern.”
Special Lycra fabric and thread were created and all the traditional construction elements like shoulder pads and linings were eliminated. Sartori designed the suit in black, burgundy and navy, the latter of which Millepied will wear on Saturday. “It’s easy in a way to do something strange and crazy, but we wanted chic and masculine but at the same time good to dance in,” he said.
“It’s sort of a modern-day Fred Astaire,” said Millepied, who also commissioned Sartori to design costumes for his next Paris Opera ballet in February – a dance for three couples set to Beethoven’s “Appassionata” sonata. “There are several costume changes so it’s a big one,” noted Millepied, who said the creative duo are also collaborating on a ready-to-wear collection.
“Alessandro is a very nice man and a very talented designer. The work he does is really modern and in this case, the suit really looks so beautiful and yet it’s completely stretch. You wouldn’t know from looking at it, but the work is really technical, like haute couture,” he said.
For the ballet on Saturday, a one-night-only performance for L.A. Dance Project’s annual gala, Millepied returns to the stage after four years, accompanied by his former New York City Ballet partner, Janie Taylor. “I don’t miss the stage, but it’s been nice to dance with her because she and I always had a wonderful partnership. She’s someone I’ve enjoyed choreographing on, watching and dancing with. The idea was to take some of Rufus Wainwright’s songs from his album ‘Day and Night,’ which are quite dark piano and voice pieces, and create a duet for the songs which is a journey of a couple. It has very much a social dancing aspect to it but it’s also modern in the way that we interact and what the story tells,” Millepied said.