You would think after the eight collections his designs annually for his eponymous men’s and women’s ready-to-wear labels and his contemporary line Cut25, the last thing Yigal Azrouel would want to do is take on yet another fashion project. But when the choreographer Emery LeCrone approached him last September, just after his Spring 2014 show, about designing costumes for two of her works, Azrouel jumped at the chance—with one caveat.
“I said, I will only do it if I can stick with my DNA. I won’t do it if you just want me to do a tutu or something. That is not me,” he explains. “I’m not a costume designer. I make fashion and I can bring fashion to this.”
And that’s exactly what Azrouel has done for LeCrone’s two pieces, which were commissioned as part of the Works & Process series at the Guggenheim museum, where they will premiere on Sunday. Entitled “Bach Interpreted,” they are comprised of one contemporary arrangement and one classical one—featuring dancers from the New York City Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre—both set to Bach’s Partita No. 2 in C Minor, which will be performed live by pianist Vassily Primikov.
Azrouel created ten costumes in all that, true to his aesthetic, incorporate the same materials like leather and silk organza found in his ready-to-wear (but, of course, with the addition of special finishing, threads and stretch to make them movement-friendly). The contemporary section features patchwork looks with embroidered eyelet and compact mesh and are accessorized with custom leather headbands. Meanwhile, the classical portion is more minimalist, with white and metallic grey-hued ensembles with peplum and padded sleeve details.
The process proved liberating.
“It takes you somewhere else. It’s not about what’s going to sell, is it commercial,” explains Azrouel. “It’s purely creativity.”
“Bach Interpreted” will be performed Sunday, March 23 and Monday, March 24. For more information, visit worksandprocess.org. The Sunday evening performance will be livestreamed at 7:30pm EST at guggeheim.org/live