Dance and Fashion


Edited by Valerie Steele, with contributions by Mary Davis, Colleen Hill, Melissa Marra, Emma McClendon, Patricia Mears, Masafumi Monden, Adelheid Rasche, Elizabeth Way, and Anna Winestein

Dress and adornment have long played an important role in the visual allure of dance, and fashion designers have often been inspired by the way dancers look. The tutus and pointe shoes of the Romantic ballerina, for example, have influenced designers from Christian Dior to Christian Louboutin. Cristóbal Balenciaga was inspired by the drama of flamenco, Yves Saint Laurent by the Orientalism of the Ballet Russes, and Rick Owens by the dynamism of African-American steppers. Fashion designers  are also increasingly collaborating with choreographers to create stylish new dance costumes—from the “bump” dresses by Comme des Garçons for Merce Cunningham  to Valentino’s “Bal de Couture” designs for New York City Ballet.

Lavishly illustrated with both contemporary and historical images, the book features essays by ten  fashion experts, who explore various aspects of the reciprocal relationship between dance and fashion, from the liberating effects of the tango to the influence of ballet on Japanese girl culture. Designers featured include Leon Bakst, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Comme des Garçons, Christian Dior, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Halston, Barbara Karinka, Isaac Mizrahi, Rodarte, Yves Saint Laurent, Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy, Valentino, and Iris Van Herpen.

This beautiful book explores for the first time the synergy between dance and fashion, and is an original and inspired contribution to the study of both art forms.

Valerie Steele is director and chief curator of the Museum at FIT.

Exhibition Schedule

Dance and Fashion
Special Exhibitions Gallery
Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
September 13, 2014–January 3, 2015