On The Avenue

Art in Motion at the New York City Ballet Fall Gala

by Kelly Laffey Photographed by Owen Hoffmann/PMC
Friday, September 29, 2017
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Thursday night was a feast for the eyes, as the New York City Ballet hosted its fall gala and annual fashion-meets-dance collaboration.


“I love this night,” said gala co-chair Sarah Jessica Parker as she crossed the ballet’s pink carpet prior to the performance. “I come to the ballet all the time. To sit in the theater and watch these performances is always special.”


Parker conceived of the idea to bring the worlds of fashion and choreography together six years ago, and the celebration has turned into a major benefit for the ballet.


This year’s program featured four world-premiere performances—The Wind Still Brings, choreographed by Troy Schumacher with costumes by Jonathan Saunders; Composer’s Holiday, choreographed by Gianna Reisen with costumes by Virgil Abloh of Off-White; Not Our Fate, choreographed by Lauren Lovette with costumes by Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim; and Pulcinella Variations, choreographed by Justin Peck with costumes by Tsumori Chisato.


“I’m friends with Fernando and Laura from Oscar de la Renta. They were so excited to design tonight,” said Nicky Hilton Rothschild on what she was most looking forward to that evening. She had seen a sketch and teased that it was a corset style.


Hilton, who is pregnant with her second child with husband James Rothschild, attended the event with her cousin from Los Angeles. “It’s a girls date night. She’s never been here before.”


Also green to the ballet scene was Matthew Rhys—“Yes, my eyes have been open to the intricacies of dance through Keri Russell, but I’m still the one who goes, ‘I hope someone falls [during the lifts],’” he joked. Russell commented that the collaboration between fashion and dance is “So New York. As someone who grew up in the mountains of Colorado and rural Arizona, it’s such a big city. People come from all over the world and create.”


The performance was followed by a supper ball inside Lincoln Center, where Jill Kargman, producer and star of Bravo’s Odd Mom Out, noted that her character on the show would be “same as me. She’d be the first one to tear into the bread basket and be like, ‘this is great, but I normally don’t eat Barcelona time. The dancing was beautiful but where’s the f*&#ing food?”


Kargman attended with Coco Kopelman, her mom, who was an SAB dancer; her father Arie Kopelman was on the New York City Ballet board. “I’ve been coming since its inception, “ she said. “I love fashion and I love dance. It’s the perfect collaboration.”


Unfortunately for people who love the marriage of fashion, sex, New York City and the big screen, Parker had confirmed earlier that evening that the rumored third Sex and the City movie would not be produced.


Parker has long been a supporter of The New York City Ballet, which has also announced a few changes. This was New York City Ballet chairman Charlie Scharf‘s first gala in the role. And, this is one of the last performances with principal dancer Rebecca Krohn, who will retire on October 3. “Every dancer in this company brings themselves [to their work]” commented Parker. “This company is filled with singular talent. It’s probably in the best shape of its long and storied career here in New York.”


Also in attendance were Arthur Elgort and Grethe Barrett Holby, Matthew Broderick, Peter Martins, Hilary Geary Ross, Jeff Peek, Bettina Zilkha, Angela Chen, Mary Snow, Michelle Monaghan, Prabal Gurung, Malin Akerman, Jean and Martin Shafiroff and Fe Fendi. In addition to Parker, the event was shared by Claire and Chris Mann, Karen and Tom Murphy and Betsy and Rob Pitts.


Luckily, the celebrity-studded event was well protected. Just above the pink carpet on the balcony of David Geffen Hall, Star Wars stormtroopers kept a watchful eye, waving to their favorite ballet patrons. The New York Philharmonic was gearing up to play John Williams’s score of The Empire Strikes Back that evening.  


But, the force was clearly with the ballet, as the Fall Gala raised $2.6 million.




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