Backstage at the Ballet

Behind The Scenes at Valentino’s Ballet

The designer unveiled handmade costumes for the New York City Ballet’s Gala on Thursday. See photos from behind the scenes.

Valentino may have retired from his fashion label in 2008, but on Thursday night, he was again the designer of the moment. The New York City Ballet Gala at Lincoln Center featured costumes by Valentino for works including Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and George Balanchine’s Rubies—a tribute to the designer’s signature color of red.

The opening night of the ballet was hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker, who is a member of its board. As she told The New York Times of the collaboration: “I had this idea for an annual fall gala, to have an extraordinarily special designer, or two or three, who would build new costumes for new ballets. When we first spoke to Mr. Valentino about it, he wasn’t familiar with the atelier at our company, and they have a wonderful history of maintaining the Karinska costumes and a lot of others, but he has a history of working with the finest people in all of Europe. His first instinct was that they would be made in Italy. But we said, Come to the costume shop at the ballet and see what we have to offer.”

But Valentino made it work. Through working closely with the ballet costume shop, he created several one-of-a-kind pieces for the dancers. As he told the Times: “What you will see on Thursday is not a ballet, it is a haute couture show.”