BLACK SWAN: Guests at The Houston Ballet Ball were encouraged to don black, white or a mix of both as an ode to Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Swan Lake,” but Houston Ballet Ball chair Hallie Vanderhider took the concept further — much further, enlisting the design prowess of Naeem Khan to create her feather-laden gown.
Vanderhider and Tootsies creative director Fady Armanious flew to New York and met with Khan to discuss a gown that would capture the elegance and dark beauty that Vanderhider had envisioned for the ball. Within a few sketches, the trio had landed upon an all-black gown covered in 3,500 natural black coque feathers, weighing in at 7.25 pounds.
“It was a magical moment. Naeem totally captured the essence of Swan Lake,” Vanderhider said. “He is such an amazing talent and has a great sense of humor.”
Khan encouraged Vanderhider to embrace the mysterious elements of the dress, reminding her, “This isn’t a mother-of-the-bride gown.” The gown’s sheer long sleeves and bodice were finished with intricate beading.