Wes Gordon Goes Barbie at New York City Fall Ballet Gala

“Who Cares” Ballet with Wes Gordon Costumes – Photo by Lieba Nesis

New York City Ballet celebrated its 75th Fall Season on Thursday, October 5th, 2023, at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, with cocktails beginning at 6 PM in the outdoor courtyard. The gala season started September 26th with the Metropolitan Opera and will continue at full steam until the Christmas season starts in December.

Jean Shafiroff & Wes Gordon – Photo by Lieba Nesis

This evening is one of the year’s fashion highlights as it merges couture and dance for one night only. Featuring excerpts from Balanchine’s “Who Cares” and Jerome Robbins’s “Glass Pieces,” the evening was a vintage gem. Wes Gordon for Carolina Herrera provided the costume designs for “Who Cares.”

He went full-core Barbie with pinks, purples, and blues adorned with sequins and light tulle, enabling the dancers to move freely while providing sufficient eye candy. While Gordon didn’t astound like Valentino in 2012, his adept craftsmanship and delightful demeanor had the adoring crowd fawning over this 36-year-old wunderkind.

Nicky Hilton – Photo by Lieba Nesis

The 2023 party season has been replete with celebrities, and tonight was no different, with luminaries Andy Cohen, Diane Kruger, Naomi Watts, Dianna Agron, Molly Ringwald, Justin Theroux, Christy Turlington and Ariana DeBose accompanied by socialites Liz Peek, Fe Fendi, Jean Shafiroff and Emily Blavatnik.

Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick – Photo by Lieba Nesis

Chair Sarah Jessica Parker was the star of the evening as she spearheaded this event more than ten years ago. She noted this is one of her favorites since it merges “the art of fashion, the metropolis of New York, and the New York City Ballet.” Sarah, appearing more Carrie Bradshaw than ever, was accompanied by their husband, Matthew Broderick, as their brief red carpet left photographers hungry for more.

The Fendis & Wes Gordon – Photo by Lieba Nesis

The outdoor cocktail party had a lengthy line of those waiting to be photographed while others were fraternizing enthusiastically about expectations for the evening. There were no standout moments of the night, no dancers who stole the show, no unforgettable jumps or turns.

Jeff Peek & Diana Taylor – Photo by Lieba Nesis

However, Balanchine’s “Who Cares” was so classically delightful with the magical singing of Patti Lupone, Vanessa Williams, and Joshua Henry accompanied by the graceful dancers that for a brief moment, one forgot about all the outer turmoil and entered the world of genius George Gershwin.

Jordan Roth & Ariana DeBose – Photo by Lieba Nesis

Gershwin’s remarkably prolific career was cut short by a brain tumor in 1937 at the tender age of 39-while his musical legacy lives on for eternity. The delightful piece concluded with plaudits and a brief pause-part of the trend of eliminating intermissions during the gala season so the $3,000 per person dinner doesn’t begin too late. Raising $3.75 million is challenging, and pleasing the top donors is the first priority.

Roman Mejia & Tiler Peck – Photo by Lieba Nesis

After associate directors Wendy Whelan and Jonathan Stafford thanked the co-chairs and dancers, a ten-minute video commemorating the illustrious history of New York City Ballet was shown, conveying its momentous impact on the dance world with testimonials by current and former dancers whose names failed to appear underneath an epic mistake by the film’s producers.

Norman Reedus – Photo by Lieba Nesis

Jerome Robbins’s last act, “Glass Pieces,” was my least favorite. While it undoubtedly incorporated modern dance into traditional ballet, infusing it with urban electricity, the costumes were dreary, and the dancing was unremarkable and tedious. This was not the one-two punch expected from a gala opening night.

The evening concluded with muted applause as the fabulously dressed guests headed to the second floor for dinner, dancing on one of the year’s most sensational New York evenings.

Latest Comments:

  1. Beautiful selection Marilyn. It was a great escape!

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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