An Interview with On Aura Tout Vu


Last November the Grand Theater of Geneva debuted a new sold-out version of the perennial Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker, choreographed by Jerome Verbruggen, with costumes and décor by On Aura Tout Vu, the Parisian couture house set up by Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov.  

Verbruggen’s vision far removed from the fairytale version first created by Marius Petipa in 1892, and instead included a baroque grand ball, an androgynous Marie and a tormented, sensitive Nut Prince. This wasn’t the first time On Aura Tout Vu had worked with Verbruggen, as they had previously created costumes for Kill Bambi with the Ballets de Monte-Carlo à Monaco.

Stoianova said the collaborations with Verbruggen work well, because “we have the same spirit.” She explained, “Our shows are not just about fashion, we are very open to the music, the mis-en-scène, and Jerome, he’s not just focused on the dance… so it’s very easy to work with someone who is speaking the same language as us.”


Samouilov said the brief for the Nutcracker was “No Christmas tree; something different, unusual and very poetic,” adding it was important the ballet could be accepted by kids as well as dance aficionados. Special consideration, such as durability and flexibility of fabrics have to be taken into consideration when designing for the stage, notes Samouilov, as the clothes need to be washed after each performance. “It was difficult to choose materials that are very aesthetic and solid and can be stretched and move,” he noted.

The Nutcracker continued to inspire the designers as they produce an haute couture collection for Spring 2015 which reprised the original characters, but this time let free their ability to use luxury fabrics like mink, which they mixed with tulle, and include elaborate embellishment like crystals.

“First we brought haute couture to ballet and now we wanted to bring ballet to haute couture,” explained Samouilov, “so you can see elements inspired by the costumes, but which are worked in the real respect of haute couture craftsmanship.”

For the collection, one of Marie’s costumes has been reworked as a jacket in mink and ruched tulle, with over 100 tiny layers of both material which seem to fuse, along with a long dress in ruched shaded tulle. “This is the couture way,” Stoianova notes.

Drosselmayer’s costume becomes a tail coat in astrakhan and mink, while the Mirror Girl, a new character created by Verbruggen, wears a dress with mirrored tulle, embroidered basque with unstructured mirror shards and crystal.

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