As 10 dancers and one apprentice practiced modern dance choreography for two world-premiere performances, local fashion designers Victoria Wright and Annina King rifled through their recent collections for pieces suitable for a silver anniversary.
Koresh Dance Company performed “Koresh Kouture Silver” on Saturday in the Suzanne Roberts Theatre at 480 S. Broad St., celebrating and supporting the company and the art and fashion landscape in Philadelphia. Promotional materials labeled the event as a “high-fashion performance” to be followed by a silent auction and gala.
Wright and King were two of the designers chosen to dress dancers for the post-performance gala.
Kate Aid, Koresh’s director of marketing and communications, said Wright dressed dancer Casey McIntyre and company apprentice Andrea Romesser, while King dressed dancer Fang-Ju Chou Gant, an 18-year veteran of the company.
Aid said the company’s relationship with local designers largely stems from the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator and Philadelphia Fashion Alliance, both of which provide networking and business opportunities for up-and-coming designers.
“I think the concept of working with local designers and showcasing the strong ties between fashion and dance is great,” King said. “I think it’s really great that Koresh is doing that and really combining the local fashion scene with the local dance scene.”
“Kouture Silver” was King’s first Koresh Kouture gala as a featured designer. She said the gala was high on her list of priorities since she was unable to participate last year, when the director of the Fashion Incubator told her about the opportunity.
“To me, that’s really exciting because [Chou Gant] is so dedicated to her art and craft and I hope to be that dedicated to my field after 18 years too,” King said.
Both King and Wright said they believe in the strong connections between dance and fashion.
Wright developed a passion for design while drawing as a child. She said her designs are a good fit for Koresh members because they share a similar desire to express emotions.
“Kouture Silver” was her second gala with the company. When Koresh reached out to her last year through the Fashion Incubator, she said participating was a “no brainer” because she had a friend in the company at the time.
This year, she said she was inspired by the dancers.
“I think all art forms kind of connect,” Wright said. “The way that [Koresh dancers] express themselves through dance and the way that they tell stories through choreography and express these feelings, it’s very powerful. I try to do the same thing in my fashion, in a way. I take emotions and I take dreams and fantasies and try to express them.”
King said she found it easy to relate to the Koresh dancers due to like-mindedness regarding body movement.
“When I think about my clothing, I think about it from all different angles,” King said. “I think a lot of people work from the front, but I try to really think in 360 degrees. Every part of the garment has to speak to another part and really move your eye around and I think that’s something dancers think about a lot. ‘How does this look from every angle?’”
“The [garment Chou Gant] ultimately chose has a lot of drapey, flowy pieces that is perfect for someone with her instinctive, beautiful body motions,” she said. “All these angles that I spent so much time thinking about are really emphasized by someone who thinks that way too.”
Dancers also wore designs from King’s current collection. Wright said her dancers wore dresses from her upcoming spring collection, which will be available for purchase in April. Wright said her spring collection was inspired by her recent trip to the France, and includes feminine details like lace and floral prints.
“It’s about the fantasy and romance of the French countryside, rolling fields of lavender, the beautiful, relaxing scenery,” she said. “[I want to] make women feel beautiful like those rolling fields of lavender.”
Gala attendees had the opportunity to pre-order Wright and King’s designs and, unlike a traditional runway show, mingle with them and the dancers modeling their designs.
“I love supporting any kind of art form, whether it’s painting, dancing, music, because we all share this desire to express ourselves,” she added.
Erin Moran can be reached at email@example.com.
Video by Linh Than.