Monique Lhuillier has long been a fan of the ballet, having danced as a child, and the designer is now playing the role of contributing creative director for Los Angeles Ballet’s Season 10 Gala on Saturday at the Skirball Cultural Center. Lhuillier designed the dinner gala’s decor with a “Don Quixote” theme, the ballet which will have its LAB world premiere after dinner, and also put together a cocktail-hour fashion installation using 10 archival dresses to represent ballets performed by the company over the last decade. From “Swan Lake” to “The Nutcracker,” Lhuillier found pieces that matched the costumes and themes, and put them on 10 dancers, who will perform a choreographed routine.
The evening will honor Robert Day, chairman and chief executive officer of the W.M. Keck Foundation, and entertainer Ben Vereen, with tributes by Ghada Irani and Paula Abdul. Other notable guests include choreographer Debbie Allen and “Flesh and Bone” star Sarah Hay.
“I’ve known some people on [the LAB] board for three years now and my daughter just enrolled in their ballet school, so it was a good time to get involved,” said Lhuillier. “The idea was to infuse fashion and ballet and show the relevance of the two. I was surprised how seamless the process was when I went through my archives and found pieces that tied into past ballets like ‘The Moor’s Pavane.’ All those reds and velvets were in my 2008 collection. It was also nice to see how some dresses that are 10 years old still look relevant today.”
Lhuillier also designed headpieces to tie all the looks together, and said she will also remake archival designs for customers who want to place orders. She added, “You never see the dresses move the way they do on dancers wearing point shoes. It’s very much a beautiful art piece.” So far, she hasn’t tried her hand at designing real dance costumes, but she says, “Someday.”