Chanel's longstanding connection with ballet was forged over a century ago by its founder Gabrielle Chanel. Fascinated by the innovative experiments of the Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, Igor Stravinksy, Pablo Picasso and other leading creative forces of her time, the couturiere was a key patron of contemporary culture.
In 1913, the legendary designer revived The Rite of Spring at Ballets Russes’, the landmark ballet composed by Stravinsky and choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky—her first act of patronage towards the arts.
Over the course of her career, Chanel also designed the costumes for several ballets, most notably Le Train Bleu, a lighthearted tribute to fashion created in 1924 by Bronislava Nijinska that featured utterly contemporary costumes that drew on sport and leisurewear.
Main Image: Photo courtesy of The Australian Ballet. Artists of The Australian Ballet in Stephen Baynes’ Swan Lake, 2012. Photography Jeff Busby.