ON THEIR TOES: After 30 years, Wendy Whelan officially bid the New York City Ballet good-bye Oct. 18, but the ballerina is not slinking quietly into the night. Looking forward as she is to wearing socks or going barefoot (instead of toe shoes), Whelan already has lined up modern dance projects. During a Thursday morning conversation with Narciso Rodriguez at F.I.T., Whelan said she plans to collaborate again with the designer for costumes in upcoming projects. Wearing a black Narciso Rodriguez tank top and camel pencil skirt, the dancer said one of her Rodriguez-designed costumes “felt like rose petals on the skin. They felt so fragile but they lasted a good long time.”
His intuitiveness won major points with the irrepressible Whelan, who was less complimentary about more traditional costumes with boning. “Bones are always a problem. They have to be really well-tailored. very often we have some removed of they hit a place [on the body.]” she said.
As for her concern level about wardrobe malfunctions, Whelan told Rodriguez and the crowd, “Most of the time it’s never [an issue], thankfully, because we’ve rehearsed. There’s also this adhesive stuff. We call it butt glue. I’m not really sure what it its is. Mar [Happel of the NYCB] knows what it is…I’ll get you some. It kind of secures the material to our skin and it just washes out with soap and water. That helps us be much more confident. Praise the Lord for that invention.”
Rodriguez said he never tries to segregate women by such types as “dancer, uptown, downtown, young or old.” To me, it’s all about the woman’s figure. If you start the design process with that in mind, it kind of all works out.” he said.
Their talk was part of the Museum at FIT’s “Dance & Fashion” symposium, which was held in conjunction with the exhibition of the show by the same name now on view through Jan. 3.