Keeping Fashion On Its Toes
Sarah Jessica Parker chaired the New York City Ballet’s fall gala.
Anyone who thinks ballet is a staid art form, viewed only by those whose age qualifies them for Medicare need only have witnessed the scene Thursday night at the Fall Gala for the New York City Ballet to have their opinions fully reversed. A red carpet whose length rivaled those for major movie premieres stretched across the plaza of Lincoln Center. Those trying to get into the David H. Koch Theatre for the actual performance were met with a mass of iPhone toting pedestrians feverishly snapping photos of Sarah Jessica Parker, one of the evening’s chairs. Inside, Drew Barrymore, the Victoria Secret Angel Doutzen Kroes, Amber Valletta, 50 Cent (Yes, it was his first time at the ballet. And yes, the reasons for that were unclear) and Natalie Portman were just some of the stars lighting up the New York society-heavy crowd.
Much of the reason for the hullabaloo can be attributed to Parker, who since joining the ballet company’s board in 2010, has injected the opening nights with a potent mix of youth, celebrity and most recently, fashion. Last year’s fall gala featured costumes designed by Valentino. And this time around, much was made of three world premieres that paired choreographers with fashion designers: Benjamin Millepied and the Amsterdam-based Iris Van Herpen; Justin Peck and Prabal Gurung, and Angelin Preljocaj with Olivier Theyskens.
“The [fashion week] tents really moved here around the time I joined this board and I just thought, ‘Wait a minute, there’s something happening here that might be interesting to ponder. It might be a curious marriage or partnership to pursue,’” explained Parker of the genesis of such creative duets. “Olivier has been a longtime enthusiast of this particular company and he loves the ballet. And Prabal and I had Nepalese food in Queens about eight months ago and I was kind of sniffing around.”
Just before dinner, under a hot air balloon-covered ceiling (courtesy of Bronson Van Wyck), Gurung confirmed Parker’s recollection of their meeting.
“I’ve lived in New York for 14 years, but never once has someone said to me, ‘What does Nepalese food taste like? Can we go eat it?’ I said to her, ‘It’s in Queens.’ And she said, ‘So? I can go to Queens for dinner,’” recounted Gurung, who listened to her pitch over a four hour meal. “Just the fact that she was chairing it was enough for me.”