The Ballets Russes Impact On Fashion

Anna Pavolva 1911 as inspiration for Christian Lacroix couture 2009

I love fashion and makeup that are inspired by the arts, by significant people in art, history and society. Think Frida, Jackie O, Marie Antoinette – anyone or anything that is iconic or that speaks to an iconic moment in time.
With my passion for art, history and art history, doing research for shoots is one of my favorite pastimes. 

costuming for the Ballet Russes took a look at how Sergei Diaghilev’s costuming for the pre-soviet Ballets Russes has served as inspiration for designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and Paul Poiret.

The Ballets Russes introduced a new and avant guard freedom into the arts, not just in ballet and theater, but also into fashion. They precipitated an explosion of creativity at the beginning of the last century that still holds incredible relevance and is an ongoing source of inspiration for designers today.

Anna Pavlova, Ballets Russes

Not familiar with the Ballets Russes? – here is a little background:

The Ballets Russes was an itinerant ballet company, conceived by Serghei Diaghilev, and widely regarded as the most influential ballet company of the 20th century.
It thrived on the artistic collaboration amongst young choreographers, composers, dancers and designers, all at the forefront of their respective metiers. 
Interestingly the company never performed in Russia, where the revolution  was disrupting society and running counter-culture to modern thought. It began in Paris in 1909 and then toured Europe and the Americas.
Most of the dancers were classically trained in the great Imperial Ballet schools of  Moscow and St Petersburg, and their spectacular technical prowess breathed a new life into the Parisian ballet scene, where technique had declined drastically since the 1830’s.

The costuming for the Ballets Russes was extraordinary. Cutting edge, luxe, provocative and incredibly influential, even now.

Some fabulous books about the Ballets Russes, that make gorgeous gift ideas include:

Ballet Russes And The Art Of Design
Diaghilev And The Golden Age Of The Ballets Russes
both available at

Check out these gorgeous images, then scroll to the bottom of this post for a link to the article.

From Yves Saint Laurent Ballets Russes inspired 1976 couture collection

Roberto Cavalli Spring 2016 RTW and a costume designed by Leon Bakst
Christian Dior Fall 2015 RTW and Leon Bakst costuming for  1912’s L’après-midi d’une Faune

Le Sacre du Printemps costumes, Ballets Russes 1913 and designs by  Vita Kin

Read the Vogue article written by Laird Borrelli-Persson and see more images on HERE