Gabriela Hearst doesn’t want to fill your feed with more of the same-same lo-fi quarantine content. Instead, she’s sharing breathtaking images of American Ballet Theatre’s Christine Shevchenko and Fangqi Li, and New York City Ballet’s Unity Phelan, India Bradley, and Olivia Boisson performing arabesques and penchés in breezy aloe linen dresses, crisp windowpane wool suiting, and hand-knit cashmere sweaters from her pre-fall collection, which arrives in her New York and London stores today.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been trying to think of the best way to illustrate these beautiful garments,” Hearst says. “Bailey Moon from our communications team is a former ballet dancer and came up with the idea of celebrating some of our favourite New York ballerinas. He movement-directed the shoot, and Pascal Perich, who is a friend of ours, was the photographer. It quickly became a very close-knit and big-hearted endeavour.”
Hearst, who frequently draws inspiration for her collections from strong creative women, has looked to the dance world previously. One of her favourite quotes is by modern dance choreographer Bella Lewitzky: “To move freely you must be deeply rooted.” Her fall 2019 collection muse was the great Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya.
So when Moon suggested highlighting some of New York’s top professional dancers who have been unable to perform onstage since the beginning of the shutdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, she was immediately sold. “I wanted to highlight these incredible, humble, disciplined artists and athletes, and shine a spotlight on what they’re doing every day at home to practice their craft despite the uncertain future of the performing arts,” Moon says.
In keeping with social distancing protocols, the dancers were shot at the loft-like Please Space in Brooklyn with staggered call times and a very lean team—in addition to Perich and Moon, Ron Hartleben styled, Ingeborg did makeup, Timothy Aylward did hair, and there were no assistants. Ingeborg even brought a special UV device to sterilise tools between each woman.
The results are transformative and transporting: Looking at the images is for a moment to feel like you’re back watching the curtain rise at Lincoln Center. “I feel that dance is one those beautiful art forms that you can see the force of creation being communicated by the human body,” Hearst says.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s Bazaar US.