Ballet and Fashion Merge at the Gibney Theater Opening

The Tabula Rasa Dance Theater held its opening performance of “Ex Umbra In Solem” translated as “From The Shadow Into The Light” at the Gibney Theater at 280 Broadway from 8-9:30 PM on August 9th. The program manifested the violence that has forced millions of people out of their homeland by depicting the difficult and dark journey refugees are forced to encounter.

Dancer Sevin Ceviker

Dramatic and dark, the first dance piece entitled “Animula, Vagula, Blandula” set to music by Max Richter and danced exquisitely by Sevin Ceviker explored the dual nature of the human body which is both animalistic and noble. Artistic Director and Choreographer, Felipe Escalante, delved into the physicality of emotion, the reality of death and the self-destruction of civilization.

Choreographer Felipe Escalante

After a brief pause the World Premiere of “Ex Umbra In Solem” further probed the consequences of religious divisiveness and intolerance that has led to devastating desensitization throughout civilization. Moreover, the piece manifested the complete inability of society to even recognize the expressions and gestures in other people’s faces and bodies because of the addiction to technological devices.

Amy Fine Collins and Joanna Fisher

The drama of the dance movements was enhanced by the costumes most of which were by Geoffrey Beene with the addition of designers Adolfo, and Christian Lacroix. The utilization of top designers was no surprise as the fashion icon and Special Correspondent to Vanity Fair, Amy Fine Collins, was the Executive Producer of the show. Amy was dressed impeccably, as usual, in a floor-length white and red Geoffrey Beene gown. Amy was a muse of Geoffrey Beene until his death in 2004 possessing the perfect lean silhouette for his simple, comfortable designs. Amy brought along a host of her illustrious friends for the evening including stylist extraordinaire Freddie Leiba, legendary publicist Jonathan Marder, renowned costume designer William Ivey Long and philanthropist and patron of the arts, Joanna Fisher.

Herve Pierre and Joanna Fisher

Also in attendance in a suit with a flower attached and a thick French accent was legendary designer Herve Pierre. Herve has skyrocketed to fame as the stylist for Melania Trump who designed her breathtaking inaugural gown. Pierre does all the styling and shopping for the First Lady painstakingly researching the appropriate dress for each occasion. When Melania was traveling to London, she saw a green J. Mendel princess dress that she loved, so Herve asked Mendel to make it in pale yellow because that was the Queen’s favorite color.

Dino Korca, Joanna Fisher, Freddie Leiba and Jon Marder

Herve had dressed former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush when he worked at Oscar de la Renta and Michelle Obama when he was Creative Director at Carolina Herrera for 15 years. He described Melania as extremely private and said he valued her input and fashion sense. Pierre was mostly unfamiliar with Melania until two weeks before the inauguration when she called him at 7:30 AM to design a dress for the big event. Pierre has been to the White House so many times he has lost count. Pierre slept at the White House for three days to design the famous white hat Melania wore with the Macron’s with Melania initially ambivalent to don the hat until she decided “to go for it.” This was one of Pierre’s favorite looks along with the blue Ralph Lauren inaugural outfit and the yellow Ralph Lauren sweater and jacket coupled with a brown leather skirt Pierre designed.

Some guests

He noted that an item sells out within two hours after Melania wears it. When I asked if he was ambivalent about dressing the First Lady due to the controversy surrounding her Pierre replied: “hey this is not brain surgery it’s fashion.” Pierre has started an eponymous label of 24 dresses, 12 which will be available in December and the other 12 which will go on sale in June. Moreover, the dress he designed for Melania when meeting Queen Rania of Jordan will be available at Bergdorf’s in November. When I asked Pierre what made a woman a great dresser, he replied “confidence”- something the First Lady unequivocally possesses.

After a brief cocktail party where champagne and desserts were served guests were told the performance space would be imminently closing. Many headed home to prepare for their summer weekend as I headed to restaurant Il Mulino with Joanna Fisher and Jon Marder to recount the exciting evening we had just experienced.

– Lieba Nesis

Lieba Nesis

My love of fashion, writing and photography were something that always dominated my lifestyle however it wasn't until I was approached by the editor of Lookonline that I realized I could utilize these three skills in combination.

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