Ten costumes from the National Gallery’s ‘Ballets Russes’ that wouldn’t look out of place at Urban Outfitters

The designers, choreographers and artists who collaborated with Sergei Diaghilev of the Ballets Russes --  the company that introduced Modernism to dance -- are among the biggest names in art history. Many of their works, like set pieces, drawings and even two full-sized curtains (the largest objects to ever be exhibited in the gallery) will be seen in the U.S. for the first time upon the Sunday opening of "Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909-1929: When Art Danced with Music."

But the real stars of this show are the costumes. Most of the major ballets in the show -- from "Scheherazade," to "Cleopatra," to the groundbreaking "Rites of Spring," -- are represented by the original costumes worn in each production, designed by artists like Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and fashion designer Coco Chanel. And each of their designs are a wild re-imagining of the potential of what a dancer's costume should be.

They're also oddly prescient of a certain demographic of hipster fashion. The mixed prints, faux-tribal affectations and retro silhouettes are reminiscent of a certain purveyor of chic: Urban Outfitters. Couldn't you see some of these outfits being sold alongside flatforms and "Mullet on the go" wigs?

1. Costume for a Beotian shepherd from the ballet "Narcissus" or funky-patterned sundress? The hat works, too.

File Name: 3413-016.jpg Léon Bakst Costume for a Beotian Shepherd from Narcissus, 1911 painted cotton overall: 185 x 125 x 68 cm (72 13/16 x 49 3/16 x 26 3/4 in.) height includes hat V&A, London


Léon Bakst, Costume for a Beotian Shepherd from "Narcissus," 1911, painted cotton. V&A, London

2. This nymph from "Narcissus" clearly predicted the 2013 comeback of the peplum waist.

File Name: 3413-015.jpg Léon Bakst Costume for a Nymph from Narcissus, 1911 painted cotton overall: 174 x 127 x 44 cm (68 1/2 x 50 x 17 5/16 in.) V&A, London Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Léon Bakst, Costume for a Nymph from "Narcissus," 1911, painted cotton, V&A, London
Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

3. This Coco Chanel-designed shorts set could be styled with UO's Heartbreaker sunglasses and a pair of huarache sandals.

File Name: 3413-100.jpg Coco Chanel Costume for La Perlouse from The Blue Train, 1924 knitted wool 158 x 60 x 45 cm (62 3/16 x 23 5/8 x 17 11/16 in.) V&A, London © Victoria and Albert Museum, London File Name: 3413-147.jpg Coco Chanel Costume for a Gigolo from The Blue Train, 1924 wool 158 x 60 x 45 cm (62 3/16 x 23 5/8 x 17 11/16 in.) V&A, London © Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Coco Chanel, Costume for La Perlouse from "The Blue Train" (right) and Costume for a Gigolo from "The Blue Train" (left), 1924, knitted wool and wool, respectively.
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

4. Printed pants. So hot right now. Thanks, Pablo Picasso.

Cat. No. 71 / File Name: 3413-079.jpg Pablo Picasso Costume for the Chinese Conjuror from Parade, c. 1917 silk satin fabric with silver tissue and black thread, cotton hat with woolen pigtail overall: 176 x 150 x 50 cm (69 5/16 x 59 1/16 x 19 11/16 in.) height includes hat V&A, London Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


Pablo Picasso, Costume for the Chinese Conjuror from "Parade," c. 1917, silk satin fabric with silver tissue and black thread, cotton hat with woolen pigtail. V&A, London
Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

5. Add heels, remove wings, proceed directly to summer cocktail party.

File Name: 3413-110.jpg Giorgio de Chirico Costume for a Sylph from The Ball, 1929 silk and tarlatan, with braid overall: 155 x 85 x 80 cm (61 x 33 7/16 x 31 1/2 in.) V&A, London © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Giorgio de Chirico, Costume for a Sylph from "The Ball," 1929, silk and tarlatan, with braid. © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

6. Romper? Romper!

File Name: 3413-095.jpg Henri Matisse Costume for a Warrior from The Song of the Nightingale, 1920 felt, velvet, satin and silk with paint, gold tinsel, studs and braid, and brass decorations overall: 155 x 75 x 60 cm (61 x 29 1/2 x 23 5/8 in.) V&A, London


Henri Matisse, Costume for a Warrior from "The Song of the Nightingale," 1920, felt, velvet, satin and silk with paint, gold tinsel, studs and braid, and brass decorations. V&A, London

7. No but seriously, I would wear this one to a summer wedding.

Cat. No. 159 / File Name: 3413-171.jpg Léon Bakst Costume for a Nymph from The Afternoon of a Faun, c. 1912 silk chiffon, paint, lamé, metallic ribbon, cotton National Gallery of Australia, Canberra


Léon Bakst, Costume for a Nymph from "The Afternoon of a Faun," c. 1912, silk chiffon, paint, lamé, metallic ribbon, cotton, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

8. This one, too! It's a little more Anthropologie than UO.

Cat. No. 157 / File Name: 3413-169.jpg Léon Bakst Costume for a Nymph from The Afternoon of a Faun, c. 1912 silk chiffon, lamé, metallic ribbon, cotton National Gallery of Australia, Canberra


Léon Bakst, Costume for a Nymph from "The Afternoon of a Faun," c. 1912, silk chiffon, lamé, metallic ribbon, cotton, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

9. Pattern mixing! Someone's been reading their Vogue.

Cat. No. 30 / File Name: 3413-021.jpg Nicholas Roerich Costume for a Polovtsian Warrior from Prince Igor, c. 1909 silk ground, silk ikat fabric, cotton metal disks, skullcap embroidered in polychrome thread overall: 172 x 65 x 40 cm (67 11/16 x 25 9/16 x 15 3/4 in.) hat dimensions: height: 12 cm (4 3/4 in.), diameter: 19 cm (7 1/2 in.) V&A, London


Nicholas Roerich, Costume for a Polovtsian Warrior from "Prince Igor," c. 1909, silk ground, silk ikat fabric, cotton metal disks, skullcap embroidered in polychrome thread. V&A, London

10. Architectural details, ethereal chiffon, and a 1920's style drop-waist? It's a little bit "Arabian Nights" and a little bit Baz Luhrmann-"Great Gatsby."

File Name: 3413-027.jpg Léon Bakst Costume for Tamara Karsavina as Zobeïde from Scheherazade, 1911 chiffon overall: 160 x 55 x 55 cm (63 x 21 5/8 x 21 5/8 in.) V&A, London


Léon Bakst, Costume for Tamara Karsavina as Zobeïde from "Scheherazade," 1911, chiffon, V&A, London

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