100 years Edgar DEGAS
A LIFE FOR THE TULLE SKIRT
by Kate Fronius
From Art to the Runway
The tutu made by RONDARTE and worn by NATALIE PORTMAN in BLACK SWAN, directed by Darren Aronofsky | Picture by @officialautumndewilde, Repost via Instagram
EDGAR DEGAS’ ballerinas live on, even a hundred years after his death - in fashion. As source of inspiration for designers and collections, they take the art of dance onto the catwalk and create timelessly beautiful elements of fashion.
The French artist’s day of death had its 100th anniversary in September this year. But that’s not the only reason to devote some time to his artistic heritage. Inspired by the current multi-media exhibition From Monet to Kadinski at Alte Münze Berlin, where we can see his work as part of an impressive video installation, we couldn’t help but celebrate EDGAR DEGAS once again.
Although he described himself as a realist, he is considered one of the founders of impressionism. But he not only influenced the sphere of fine arts: the works he created in the 19th century have been influencing fashion – or more precisely tulle skirts – up to today. Yes – it’s all about one specific piece of clothing due to his admiration of ballerinas, who he pictured off stage, in a dark ambience, training at the ballet bar, wearing tutus. His voyeuristic perspective, the glance through the keyhole, represents his way of working, which mostly took place in the Parisian nightlife. Whether paintings, drawings, sculptures or prints - theme of his works were his muses: women. And he preferred them in motion.
Through his art, the realist in him created a record of his time and that’s exactly how he influences the present nowadays. His delicate dancers are inspiring, especially their form-fitting costumes. From fashion shows to individual collections – the dancers became a model for many designers.
And so did his melancholic and fragile colour palette, ranging from yellow blossom to emerald green to rose, through to shades of grey. The dramatic-electric mix formed the base for the creative work of designers like Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliao and Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and many more.
But the in vogue moments of the tulle skirt spread even further. Earlier this year, R&B star Rihanna was spotted in a pink tutu and the collections by Dior, Vetements, Giambattista Valli, Jason Wu and Rodarte picked up the transparent fabric too. Cooperations of designers and opera houses are not unusual.
Even magazines such as the CR Fashion Book by the legendary stylist Carine Roitfeld dedicated their complete second edition to dancing, similar to the impressive editorial by Ken Bruder and Deborah Ory for Harper’s Bazaar: Misty Copeland: The Art of Dance was created on the occasion of the exhibition Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty! at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.
Misty Copeland: The Art of Dance | Video shot by Sandy Chase. Photography by Ken Browar and Deborah Ory of the NYC Dance Project. | Published by HARPER'S BAZAAR in 2016 on youtube.com
Contrary to the general assumption, the creative synergy of both worlds goes back much further than to the success of BLACK SWAN with Natalie Portman in 2010. The tulle skirt celebrates its comeback almost annually - after all, its style palette is nearly as big as EDGAR DEGAS' used to be.