Dear Shaded Viewers,
My dear friend Marc Happel, Director of Costumes at the New York City Ballet, was asked to put together an exhibition showcasing many of the New York City Ballet’s Fall Fashion Gala from over the past years. The NYCB Gala started in 2012 with Sarah Jessica Parker producing dozens of new ballet’s complete with original costumes designed by the biggest names in the fashion industry such as Dries VanNoten, Iris Van Herpen, Anna Sui, Zac Posen. Marc Happel spoke with Dance Spirit about the retrospective and the biggest lessons that he learned over the years.
Dance Spirit: What’s one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned over the many years of preparing for this gala?
Marc Happel: As simple as it sounds, just having patience—patience, taking a deep breath, and remembering that everything will get figured out somehow. It always does.
DS: What are your favorite costumes of all time?
MH: This is almost an impossible question, but I’d have to say any of the Giles Deacon costumes for Kyle Abraham’s The Runaway; the breathtaking Alexander McQueen coat from Liam Scarlett’s piece, Funérailles; the Iris Van Herpen plastic disc costumes for Benjamin Millepied’s Neverwhere (people are still talking about that pointe shoe boot); and the square-necked dress by Gareth Pugh for Matthew Neenan’s ballet, The Exchange—there’s something so lovely about the simplicity and way it hangs. They all came alive onstage.
DS: Which designers are you dying to work with in the future?
MH: Alessandro Michele, because he’s got such an amazing imagination and it would be so interesting to see it interpreted as a ballet, Prada, and threeasfour.
DS: What do you wish the audience knew about pulling off an event of this magnitude?
MH: I wish they could see the team of people who work tirelessly to make this gala a reality—literally even right now, back at the shop, putting the finishing touches on this year’s costumes. These costumes aren’t pulled out of a magic closet, and I just can’t emphasize enough how much energy goes into this production.