This past weekend my mom was in town and as a result, I got to bask in the beauty that was the de Young Museum at Golden Gate Park. The last time I was there, I had intended to view the Balenciaga exhibit--- but it wasn't to be- and I had never really gotten a chance to explore their exhibits. This time around, I went with the purpose of learning about the ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev-- which I'm sure Chelsea from Normally Original knows all about!
It was an absolutely STUNNING exhibit and for someone as interested in sewing as I, it was a luscious and inspiring experience! The show had a little bit of information about Nureyev's history, inspirations, and upbringing--- but the majority of the show was the fabulous collection of costumes!
You can probably imagine my eyes bulging from my head at all the beautiful garments--- they were over the top and absolutely amazing. Heck, even showed wear and tear from so many performances-- I saw a few with sweat marks on them.
I really wish photographs had been allowed, but here are a few images of what I saw pulled from Google:
I definitely want to buy the exhibition book to really get a chance to soak in the beauty just a little bit more-- and to draw! Lots of drawings. If you head on over to the Royal Opera House Covet Garden's flickr stream, you can view more detailed shots of the outfits.
My main observations from the amazing costumes were that they incorporated a ridiculous amount of couture techniques. I could see from a foot away that the catch stitch was used everywhere to secure all the pipping onto the bodice. Slip stitch on the neckline--- and boning every which way. I was really shocked by how many inspirational designs were women into the details of each outfit.
The only thing I wanted to do the entire exhibit was get my hands on one of those costumes, turn it inside out, and see how it was made. And yes, everything looked to be high quality materials-- absolutely no skimping. (If only there was no limit when sewing my own things!)
While reading up on Nureyev I watched a few great performances of him on YouTube.
And then for smiles and giggles, he also appeared on Episode 37 of The Muppets, which aired January 23, 1978. I particularly loved this part of the episode where he sang "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with Miss Piggy, in a steam room! His most well known moment of the show is in this clip where he dances a parody of "Swan Lake"--- "Swine Lake".
He lived from 1938- 1993, defecting from the USSR in 1961. He died of AIDS at the age of 54, after struggling with the disease for 8 years. What I found really inspirational is that even though he was suffering from advanced AIDS for so long, he used the opportunity of directing Romeo and Juliet at the Metropolitan Opera House as a beacon to keep him going when things were at their worst.
On a personal note, I found out he was also really into vintage textiles-- which made me smile. His grave is covered in a mosaic mimicking an oriental rug.
Nureyev: A Life in Dance is at the de Young until February 17, 2013. For seamstresses or performance artists, this is definitely a go-to! (And if you're a student, you get a discount so don't forget your school ID!)