NEW YORK — Given the importance of the stock markets, it was inevitable for traders’ jackets to make a fashion statement of sorts.
This story first appeared in the July 27, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Eight female dancers will wear chicer versions of the jackets worn by futures and commodities traders at the New York Mercantile Stock Exchange when they perform next month on the steps of Federal Hall in the heart of the Financial District. The Heather Harrington Dance Co. will debut its modern performance, “Griscade Games,” as part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s “Sight Lines” campaign to make dance intersect with downtown’s daily life.
The dancers’ knockoffs are not just for show. Troupe founder Harrington said the 15-minute performance “reflects on the nature of games in the stock market and the risk, competition, greed, fear and exhilaration involved in the climbing up the ladder of our capitalistic society.”
Back-to-back performances will be staged at 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 2, 9 and 18, and at 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 4, 11 and 16. During the past two months of rehearsals on the Federal Hall steps, dancers have already eased into the local landscape, befriending police officers, office workers and tourists, Harrington said.
Heightened security in and around Wall Street has intensified the experience. “The other night there were five fire trucks and a bunch of police cars, and we weren’t sure what was going on,” Harrington said. “I said, ‘Well, I’m not sure if this is the best thing to do, but we’re going to keep practicing.’”
Patti Gilstrap, private label designer and co-owner of the Brooklyn boutique Flirt, created the costumes after filming futures and commodities traders on the New York Mercantile Stock Exchange’s floor. Each jacket has a mesh back, patches, an embroidered nickname and pockets like the ones worn by traders. Gilstrap, also a dancer with Chris Ferris and Dancers, added some mesh insets on the sleeves for added ventilation in the August heat.
Gilstrap said she took direct inspiration from the traders’ outfits. However, having all the dancers in the same color should be more “eye-catching” than having them in the variety of bright colors the traders wear, she said. That’s a far cry from one of Gilstrap’s other businesses — designing customized bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses.