The beauty of the ballet has been re-kindled this year with the release of the film The Black Swan. Starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, as prima ballerinas, The Black Swan is a dark and dangerously sensual look into the world and art of ballet.
To prepare for her role in the film Natalie Portman trained as a ballerina with Mary Helen Bowers for six months 5/8 hours a day about 6 days a week to create, shape, and tone her body into that of a ballerina. This was not a role that could be faked, although she did have a body double for some of the most difficult dance scenes, Natalie Portman needed to not only act but look like an actual ballet dancer throughout the film.
Being a fashion designer myself, I tend to be attracted or intrigued when a film utilizes the aesthetic of a specific fashion designer for all of or part of the costumes of a film. To dramatize the performance of Swan Lake, in The Black Swan, the costume designer, Amy Wescott, played on Rodarte’s dark sided aesthetic and haute couture techniques. Portman (and her body double) actually wear a Rodarte designed costume made of feathers, tulle, and 247,000 crystals donated by Swarovski. Not only was this film physically taxing for the actors but the delicate costumes themselves went through many different repairs as a result of filming.
Here are some of Kate Mulleavy’s dark and funky sketches for the costumes made for Swan Lake.
Below is finished version of the ravishing black feather Rodarte dress (above right sketch) on Portman during the film.
So, are you going to go see the movie?