“From the Runway to the Ballet”

The New York City Ballet held its annual fall gala sponsored by Cartier at the David H. Koch Theater in Lincoln Center. The event began at 5:30 pm with cocktails on the outdoor terrace followed by the performance at 7:00. This is one of the premier social events of the year and is unique for its synthesis of dance and fashion-a feature that was the brainchild of Sarah Jessica Parker.

Jennifer Hudson (in Prabal Gurung) & Prabal Gurung

This night gathered an immense crowd with such notables as: Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Hudson, Carolyn Murphy, Prabal Gurung, and Ivanka Trump. Additionally, socialites and ballet enthusiasts attended including: Jean Shafiroff, Fe Fendi, Indre Rockefeller, Donna DiMenna, Michele Herbert, Julia Koch, Peggy Siegal, and Mary Elizabeth Snow. This night was special as the costumes were to be designed by Peter Copping, who recently became the creative director at Oscar de la Renta, and Zuhair Murad who is a well known Lebanese born designer who caters to an uber wealthy clientele.

Peter Martins Artistic Director of City Ballet

The performance began with a short film which was barely intelligible, due to the poor sound and muffled words, which was intended to document the collaborations between choreographers and designers. The only thing I understood was that Murad was the “king of bling” and that the collaboration between Peter Copping and Peter Martins, creative directors of Oscar de la Renta and New York City Ballet, respectively, was convivial with Martins offering to change the “steps for the costumes” and Copping dismissing the idea. However, it was now time to view the ballet and I was anxiously awaiting to see if the designers would live up to the hype.

Ivanka Trump wearing Pamella Roland, Indre Rockefeller,
Mark Guiducci & Leandra Medine

The first ballet “Polaris” was choreographed by Myles Thatcher with costumes by Zuhair Murad.  The men and women had matching light blue costumes with the women in beautifully sequined light blue and grey skirts and tops, with the men in accompanying blue vests and bottoms. Bravo to Murad who produced colorful, delicate and pragmatic clothing that allowed the dancers to soar without restricting their movement. These costumes enhanced the beauty of the dancers without taking away from the primacy of the steps.

Martin Harvey principal dancer with the NYCB Maria Kowroski

Likewise, the next ballet “The Blue of Distance” choreographed by Robert Binet contained costumes by Adeam designer Hanako Maeda which were executed to perfection. The white tulle skirts, with nude mesh tops covered in midnight blue sequins were divine, a great match to the men in blue tights. Adeam designer Maeda, who is 27, looks like she is 17 and said she frequently gets carded. Maeda was honored when she was approached to produce costumes for the ballet and she received enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Donna DiMenna (in Etro) and Mary Elizabeth Snow
in Badgley Mischka

The next ballet “Common Ground” choreographed by Troy Schumacher contained color blocked costumes designed by Marques Almeida which were fluid and exciting. The strong colors enhanced the movements of the dancers and made for a more exhilarating performance. Similarly, the following act “New Blood” choreographed by Justin Peck contained costumes designed by Opening Ceremony and Kenzo with dancers appearing in multicolored unitards with various body parts cut out including legs and stomachs, exposing the strong musculature of the dancers to dramatic effect.

Michele Herbert in Cavalli with a Dior jacket

After a brief intermission, the finale entitled “Thou Swell,” was presented pairing masters Peter Martins and Peter Copping. This act was multifaceted with guest performers Norm Lewis and Rebecca Luker singing to an accompanying piano, bass and drum player, with mirrors in the back and side illuminating the dancers footwork and costumes. Copping’s costumes were magnificent with women in dramatic capes in hot pink fur and sequined black appearing on stage and then slowly removing these garments. The underlying gowns were otherworldly with a beautiful green fringe silk dress, a light blue tulle gown, a hot pink cut-out gown and a dazzling gold sequined gown.

Sneh & Anuroop Duggal & Nicole Dicocco

Copping admitted to me that the gold gown was a bit heavy to dance in-but we all know you must suffer for beauty and this dress was worth the slight discomfort of the dancer. The dancers pointe shoes were dyed to match their attire with shoes in hot pink, light blue and bright green – an added touch Copping said he was very fond of. Copping, has proven to be an excellent replacement for Oscar de la Renta and his recent 2016 Spring collection was lauded by the fashion press and public. Last year, Copping told me he would love to design costumes for the ballet in the near future and this evening his wish came to fruition. Copping said he likes to stay true to the de la Renta look while adding his own modern touches and this evening he outdid himself with his bold evening ballet wear.

Peggy Siegal, David & Julia Koch wearing Chanel

When the ballet was over the guests headed to dinner on the second floor which has a spectacular view of Lincoln Center. & David and Julia Koch, who just arrived from Paris a week ago after going to the opening of the Paris Opera Ballet spoke about their love for dance. Koch said he was not sure who he would support in this presidential election because his first choice, Scott Walker, left the race, but he would definitely not back Trump. As he said that Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, sashayed by in a floor length Pamella Roland dress with Ivanka Trump earrings.

Fe Fendi in a Fendi dress & Olivia Flatto

Thankfully, Ivanka was oblivious to our conversation about her father and she looked stunning and very not pregnant in her midnight blue gown. Koch and his wife further recounted how he recently pulled his back out while fishing in Alaska so this was one of his first public appearances. His wife, Julia, was a knockout in a couture Chanel which she purchased in Paris and told me she missed last year’s ballet gala because of a hip replacement she needed. Elegant and statuesque are the only words to describe Julia, but her low key demeanor sets her apart from the other wives of super billionaires.

Sarah Jessica Parker wearing Zuhair Murad
& dancer David Hallberg

At the dinner they announced that they raised $2.67 million and thanked Sarah Jessica for the incredible success of the evening. As I exited the building I left to go meet my friend at the Nomad Hotel where I spotted Matthew McConaughey in a hat that said “alright’ eating dinner with his lovely wife Camila – a thrilling conclusion to an electrifying evening that could only occur in the city of New York.

– 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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