Last night, Guess, in partnership with Harper’s Bazaar, hosted a cocktail reception to benefit the Joffrey Ballet School. It wasn’t necessarily your typical benefit for the arts--it took place in a crowded Guess store on Broadway and felt more like a shopping party with girls dashing in and out of fitting rooms in leopard print dresses in between sips of their pink cocktails. But since the purpose of the event was to raise money for the Joffrey Ballet School (guests received 20% off their purchase with a minimum donation of $5), this worked out perfectly. Cashiers were busy the entire night.
The best part was that actual dancers from the Joffrey Ballet school in full-on tutus were walking around the store talking to people, posing for pictures and even doing ballet poses in the windows. “So many of the patrons tonight have come up to the dancers and said, ‘are you really a dancer or are you a model?’" said Davis Robertson, longtime Joffrey Ballet principal and current Board President and Dance Director of Live Arts Collaboration at the Joffrey Ballet School. "I think the grace and stature it takes to be a model, especially if you’re on a runway, is the same type of grace and stature it takes to be a dancer.”
This event certainly wasn’t the first instance of fashion and ballet coming together, so I asked what he thought of ballet as a fashion trend. He was all for it: “It’s about time. Fashion and ballet go hand in hand. I think we should have been married together for ages.”
I also spoke with Mary Jimenez, Guess by Marciano’s vice president and GMM since 2007, who has been credited with working to re-brand the collection as a leading contemporary lifestyle brand. On how Guess has been influenced by ballet, she explained that some of the dresses in the store were ballet-inspired. “Nadine, our store manager, is wearing a great ballet-inspired dress and this was designed and done even before we had any knowledge of doing this. I think every woman or girl at one point has thought about, well, I could be a ballerina. It’s feminine but also strong...I think Black Swan did have a big play on that.”
From Rodarte's foray into costume design to Rachel Bilson's Magnum commercial, to countless ballet-inspired fashion spreads, ballet's influence on and relationship with fashion seems to be rising steadily.