The Australian Ballet

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The Australian Ballet X Melbourne Fashion Week

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There’s always been a fascinating dynamic between the world of fashion and that of ballet. From ballet flats and leg warmers to bodysuits and structured tulle, the balletcore aesthetic remains a glamorous-yet-cosy option for those wanting to add a little ballet magic into the everyday.

The Australian Ballet has collaborated with Melbourne Fashion Week 2023 to showcase a stunning collection of some of our most cherished tutus. Curated by Artistic Director David Hallberg, visitors can experience these costumes up close for the very first time in the accessible and free exhibition.

Take a sneak peek at some of the costumes on display and discover the history that blends art and culture.

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When Graeme Murphy recreated The Nutcracker in 1992 with Nutcracker- The Story of Clara, Designer, Kristian Fredrikson’s costumes almost stole the show. The classical tutu shape with layers of tulle in gold silver and topaz are embroidered with jewels that sparkle as Clara performs The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

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What a doll! This gorgeous flowing tutu was created by Kristian Frederickson whose costumes helped bring the dancing doll Coppélia to life. Choreographed by the founder of The Australian Ballet, Peggy van Praagh and with a little help from Dr Coppélius himself, Coppélia premiered in Melbourne in 1979.

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Theme & Variations

George Balanchine’s loved the concept of a 'plotless ballet', the 1947 production of Balanchine's Theme & Variations is one of his abstract ballet creations. The Australian Ballet first performed this work on 28 August 1997 at the Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne, with new production design and costumes by Hugh Colman.

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When The Australian Ballet had the opportunity to restage Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote in 2023, we went back to Barry Kay’s original designs, bringing his vivid colours and luxurious materials to the renowned ballet for the first time.

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Proof that anything can be fashion if you really want it to be, Vanessa Leyonhjelm’s unique tutu made of rippled air conditioning mesh for Stanton Welch’s 1995 production Divergence, is a stand-out moment in the fashion/ballet story of The Australian Ballet.