The House of CHANEL’s intimate links with dance follow in the footsteps of Gabrielle Chanel: fascinated by movement and a keen adherent of comfort, right from the start she drew inspiration from dancing to invent a new freedom for the silhouette. The designer loved being surrounded by the artists of her era and was a friend and patron of Serge Diaghilev, the founder of the Ballets Russes. She made the costumes for several ballets, most notably Le Train bleu in 1924, which marked the era with its utterly contemporary vision of dance costumes.
The first performance of the 2019/2020 dance season started with the traditional Défilé du Ballet, a tradition dear to the Opéra national de Paris, that was established by Serge Lifar, a friend of Gabrielle Chanel. From the Foyer de la danse, located behind the stage, the Prima Ballerinas, the Principal dancers, the Ballet corps and the pupils at the Opéra national de Paris dance school paraded on stage to the sound of La Marche des Troyens by Hector Berlioz.
Several extracts from major ballets in the choreographic repertoire were then performed exclusively for the Gala’s audience by the Prima Ballerinas and the Principal dancers in the company: Variations by Serge Lifar – to the music of Franz Schubert, in costumes revisited by the House of CHANEL, under the direction of Virginie Viard, Artistic Director of the Fashion collections, Trois Préludes by Ben Stevenson, Tchaikovsky – Pas de deux by George Balanchine, Ab [intra] by Rafael Bonachela and finally Blake Works I by William Forsythe.
At the end of the show, nearly 750 guests gathered in the Foyers of the Palais Garnier for a supper, followed by an after-party at the legendary Rotonde des Abonnés, transformed into a dance floor for the event. Among the guests were the CHANEL ambassadors Anna Mouglalis, Alma Jodorowsky, Caroline de Maigret and Laura Bailey, the director of Dance at the Opéra national de Paris Aurélie Dupont, the dancer, choreographer, director and actress Blanca Li, the Prima Ballerina of the Royal Opera House in London Francesca Haywards, the young actress Rebecca Marder from the Comédie-Française, the singer Cécile Cassel (Hollysiz), the musician Sébastien Tellier as well as the actor Nicolas Maury.