Ballet & Fashion


Ralph Rucci (designer)
Barbara Matera Studio, New York (costumier)
Jo Duck photographing Vivienne Wong in Costume 2007
C. to C. (Close to Chuck), American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre Collection, New York
Photo: Narelle Wilson

There’s nothing more delightful to me than sitting in a theatre waiting for a show. I get a little rush through my whole body when the lights go down, the chatter winds up, a curtain opens or an orchestra starts. Then out of nowhere appear these little people who dance their way into your view creating a story told through music, movement, light, colour, sets & costume.

Often in my photography I am using the same elements to inspire and create a story of my own. I was thrilled to be asked to photograph these iconic costumes created by the best of the best in local and international fashion design while being worn by some of The Australian Ballet’s most accomplished dancers.

Robyn Hendricks brought great energy and fun to Christian Lacroix’s costume from Gaite Parisienne 1988 (AmericanBallet Theatre). We turned the music up loud and let Robyn can-can her way around the studio. The silhouette, colour, detail and excitement of this garment was incredible as Artistic Director David McAllister helped get the most out of this glorious costume.

Vivienne Wong managed to be all at once soft, strong and beautiful in a garment incorporating barbed wire and a full heavy skirt housing a Chuck Close painting.The costume was from Ralph Rucci: Costume from C. to C. Close to Chuck 2007 (American Ballet Theatre).

This was probably the most challenging garment to shoot as there were so many details to capture. We would have loved to shoot Vivienne in chaotic movement however all these costumes were works of art and needed to be treated with incredible love and care. (If you look quite closely into the portrait underneath the skirt, you can see an eye starring out at you behind Vivienne’s back.)

Amy Harris wore the Akira Isogawa Lady Capulet costume from Romeo & Juliet 2011. We wanted to create a hard edged high contrast image to showcase the sharp edges and incredible silhouette of this costume.  I adore the shoulder detailing which looks like a creature from the deep has attached itself to Amy!

To have provided imagery to promote such a fantastic exhibition has been a delight. Go and see the pieces up close in Ballet and Fashion, they’re beautiful!

Jo Duck

www.joduck.com

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