Ballet News | Style Pointes
If you’ve visited Ballet NEWS before, chances are you’ll be aware that one of my aims is to highlight the versatility of ballet dancers in mainstream channels.
Who remembers Darcey Bussell’s shoot for Caroline Baker at The Sunday Times with leading photographer Anthony Crickmay, or the leather, Avengers-style catsuit she wore in support of the Everyman charity, or the Valentino haute couture black organza ruffle edge cocktail dress from 1971 once owned by Audrey Hepburn which she modelled in 2009 ?
She’s not alone either – fellow Royal Ballet Principal Tamara Rojo models for a range of companies including Hoss Intropia.
Corella Ballet’s Tracy Jones recently collaborated with Moi for their 2011 collection.
A backstage video of Tracy’s shoot has also been published.
Ballet meets haute couture
All of the clothes featured in this shoot were gloriously comfortable, easy to look after and most importantly, exceedingly wearable. The M&S coat is beautifully finished and reminiscent of Celine’s A/W10 version – without the price tag. The Chanel coat is a statement in every sense. Ghost always produces remarkable dresses, and the three featured here fitted so well, it was as though they were made of water, skimming the contours of the dancer, languorously accentuating line and proportion – something you probably look for in the mirror every day, dancer or not.
Ghost’s leather ‘Jewel’ jacket is everyone’s tasse de thé, strokably softer than butter with a heavy lining and a slightly rascally spirit. I can tell you on a fashion shoot the clothes are worked hard and no-one wanted to give this one up ! Barbour have long been known for their luxury waterproof jackets and this Flight jacket was finely crafted despite the fashionably chunky ‘Aviator’ look which is trending skywards as I type this - and our quixotic weather helps too !
Earlier this week I co-ordinated a small team for an exclusive Ballet News fashion shoot with these leading brands, who were enthusiastic about collaborating with me on ‘Project Pointe’, launched at the incredibly photogenic Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, Surrey, owned by Gael & Francesco Boglione.
The Nurseries have a tropical feel about them, with ancient Dicksonia Antarctica and beautifully crafted, distressed furniture. They are set in the centre of an Arcadia which was created in the 18th Century and is the one (and only) view protected by an Act of Parliament. The view, from Richmond Hill, encompasses the water meadows along the Thames and has inspired poets, writers & artists.
And me ! I’ve been a regular visitor to the restaurant for years and I knew that the Nurseries would be the perfect setting for my inaugural A/W10 fashion shoot.
Principal dancer Megan Wood was able to fit in the Ballet News shoot before costume fittings and rehearsals begin for her upcoming UK & Ireland tour. I’ve met Megan before and interviewed her last year.
During the shoot I used a Flip Video Ultra High Definition Camcorder to capture some of the backstage scenes for you. Once I’ve finished editing I will add them to the website.
The Flip is easy to use, produces great quality video and the software makes editing videos into movies a dream.
The Nurseries are also, and justifiably, famous for their restaurant. A glamorous garden centre on the surface, the restaurant and tea rooms rival any London fine dining and are home to short menus of seasonal produce with Chef Skye Gyngell at the helm.
You might begin with Buffalo Mozzarella, Dried Chillies, Figs & Saporoso, followed by Beef filet with Borlotti beans, Leeks & Salsa Verde, finished deliciously with St.Nectaire with Walnuts. A new wine list was introduced in May this year and the menus are subject to daily change as they only source the best, seasonal produce. What could be better than eating among the flowers ?
Prior to the shoot I’d been reading Fashion Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones and I can highly recommend it for the hilarious insights into the world of couture. Cabbage, anyone ? I’m not talking vegetables. Fashion Babylon isn’t new, but if you missed it (or any of the Babylon series – they are all revelatory) it’s available here :
What is fashion? What is fashionable? Who decides what is in? What is out? Why is it green one year, and blue the next? Why is one little black dress worth three thousand pounds and another thirty quid? Is the catwalk that catty? Is everyone high on drugs and full of champagne? What makes a supermodel so super? And a designer too hot to touch? Who is making the money? Who owns who? Who hates who? And who's in each other's pocket? Following in the glamorous footsteps of "Hotel Babylon and Air Babylon", "Fashion Babylon" will get under the well-cut skin of the fashion industry. Using a world renowned source, "Fashion Babylon" will take you through six months in a designer's life. Starting at the end of one catwalk show, it will explain how a collection is put together - from the rail of found objects, to how it gets on to the catwalk, into the shops and onto the covers of a magazine. It will tell you who goes to the shows, where they sit and whose backside one needs to kiss to get there. It will introduce you to a host of places and characters, it will take you into a world where women get paid tens of thousands for getting dressed in the morning and where a wrong shirt length can cost you your career. Witty, naughty and full of gripping detail, "Fashion Babylon" will explain the mark -ups, talk you through fashion's two seasons and discuss the money and commerce behind one of the most international, lucrative and secretive of businesses. With something for the simple follower of fashion as well as the hardcore fashionista, "Fashion Babylon" will change the way you sashay into Top Shop, flick through the pages of "Vogue" and enter the portals of Harvey Nichols forever.
With special thanks to Petersham Nurseries
The restaurant is open for lunch Wednesday – Sunday from 12 – 2.30pm. It’s essential to make a reservation on 0208 605 3627.
The Teahouse serves light lunches and opens Tuesday-Saturday 10-4.30pm and Sunday 11-4.30pm.
For information on where you can see Megan Wood dancing, please contact me.
Photography, except where indicated : Robert Griffin