With a teaser earlier this week, we had an idea of what the newest costumes for the New York City Ballet might look like — gauzy white dresses and streaks of blood; accordion-like pleats all over the body; harnesses? — but, in all, we were still in the dark. That was until Thursday evening when the curtains went up at the Koch Theatre in Lincoln Center and debuted the three new pieces by choreographers Justin Peck, Benjamin Millepied, and Angelin Preljocaj.
At the very least, the dances were awe-inspiring, but the costumes, designed by Prabal Gurung, Iris Van Herpen, and Olivier Theyskens, truly played a key role in the overall storytelling. In Peck's quintette, Capricious Maneuvers, the dancer's playful, joyful movements were framed by Gurung's light, feathery dresses and sleek harness straps. Millepied's contemporary ballet style was taken futuristic in Neverwhere, with Van Herpen's avant-garde costumes that suited each dancer in scales that shimmered in the stage lights. They would occasionally make noise when they dancers moved, but never distracted from Millepied's storytelling. And, finally, Theyskens brought Preljocaj's Salem witch hunt, Spectral Evidence, to life with hidden scarlet markings on the backs of the women's nightgowns, while the men dressed as the clergy and left them to burn at the stake. Yes, it was terrifying, and we were beyond thankful that the evening wrapped with a spirit-lifting classic Balanchine piece Western Symphony.