Friday, January 22, 2010
I came into the fashion world through the world of dance. I began in dancing in '84 and when I had knee surgery in '01, I decided if I couldn't be a dancer anymore, I'd at least dress them. My major changed to Costume Design. Martha Graham was always one of my favorite modern dance choreographers with her melodramatic pieces and fabulous mise en scene. Her choreography is hard on the body but is so beautiful and expressive. She has trademarked her style and her company still uses the same choreography, costumes and sets. Even the leads must style their hair the way she did. She collaborated with artist Isamu Noguchi for amazing sets and Oscar de la Renta for costumes when she was not designing them herself. She was into drapey Grecian style pieces that allowed her to create interesting shapes with her body.
The long circle skirt was one of her signature styles, being accented by lots of grande battements and penches.
This picture is from one of my favorite pieces, Lamentation. The entire piece she is seated creating angular mournful movements inside the fabric creating some amazing silhouettes. She was always known for creating amazing shapes with her body and her costume.
Here are some great examples of Noguchi's set design for Martha:
Martha was often the lead in her productions and the male dancers were much younger than her and dressed in scantily-clad costumes. I wouldn't mind dancing opposite her husband who was 15 years younger!
What an amazing creative force.