Halpern- A Return to Movement Spring 2022 collection is in collaboration with Royal Opera House.
The London-based brand uses documentary-style film to elevate the voices of those from the performance arts industry. As one of the many industries that the pandemic hit the hardest, Royal Ballet dancers shared their stories of longing and hope for the future to come. This film presentation was just in time for their return to the stage in October for Romeo and Juliet. The film, which can be seen on YouTube, features top ballet dancers like Fumi Kaneko, Katharina Nikelski, and Leticia Dias. All of them are adorned with extravagant Halpern designs styled by Patti Wilson.
The collection is a study of movement and restriction. Each dancer takes the floor wearing either a flowy fringe dress that enables maximum mobility or a ball-shaped feather dress that inhibits wide movements. As professionals, of course, this did not stop the Royal Ballet dancers to move freely and elegantly in already elegant dresses. Watching them move as they narrate their stories, makes the show more vibrant. It adds to an already vibrant colour scheme Michael Halpern created for this season.
As a designer who is heavily inspired by Studio 54 and disco days, the sequins did not disappoint– I mean, do they ever? The sequined pantsuits with bow sashes will look great on anyone who wishes to ditch casual dressing post-pandemic. And if that is not your cup of tea, perhaps the layered tulle dresses might do the trick? Don’t worry, it got sequins too!
His use of colour is impressive too. The first look in the show is an orange and pink colour-block silk dress that moved with ease at the dancer’s every move. Later on, we see a different iteration of this dress in a more restricted flow, and yet the colours and movement still pop effortlessly.
The duality between movement and constraint shown in this collection is quite remarkable. Halpern’s expansive mind showed us the types of movements achieved specific to a design. The colour-block fringe dresses were a joy to look at and the way it sways and moves and almost even blends as the dancer pirouettes was a delightful sight. In contrast, we see ball-shaped feather dresses that restrict a dancer’s movement, and yet it still offers the same pleasure we see in the previous dresses.
It is at this point in which we see Michael Halpern’s creative mind. In both dresses, we can see his eye for colour, and hand for craftsmanship.
Published by HOLR Magazine.