The Costume Shop
The New York City Ballet is very fortunate to be the only ballet company in America to have its own, permanent Costume Shop. The Costume Shop overlooks the Hudson River and is filled with light from huge westward-looking windows. It has the feel of a fine couture house, textile museum, the dressing rooms at your favorite department store, a fantasy workshop, and your grandmother’s attic all rolled into one incredible space. It is always humming with activity as designers, dancers, seamstresses, dressers and choreographers are constantly on the go through its doors.
It is impossible to think about a ballet in your mind’s eye without seeing the costumes. Even when a ballet is clad in the simplest of clothes — black tights and white tops or simple white and black tunics — they are known most familiarly not by their title or composer or choreographer; but simply as “black & white ballets” — a tribute to the importance of costumes.
The NYCB Costume Shop is responsible for creating and maintaining a wealth of imagination that has been translated into fabric, thread, buttons, ribbons and, of course, feathers. Each year, the Costume Shop works in collaboration with renowned fashion designers to create the costumes for new ballets premiering at the Fall Gala, an annual celebration of dance and couture.
Originated by Barbara Karinska, George Balanchine's costumer, the shop has been headed by several famous ballet designers/costumers, including Ben Benson and Barbara Matera. The shop was originally housed in an 11th-floor loft at 60 West 63rd Street.
Today, the New York City Ballet Costume Shop is located in the Rose Building at Lincoln Center Plaza, housed in a small but efficient eighth-floor facility. The shop builds exquisite dance costumes from October through June.
Please note that all the costume designs shown on this website are the property of the individual costume designers. The designers retain any and all rights with regard to reproduction or recreation of these designs.