With Paris' Opera Garnier and the ballet I attended STILL on my mind, I was immediately drawn to an article in the May 19, 2010 issue of WWD, "Dance Class", featuring Gilles Mendel's resort collection for J.Mendel. The designer was asked to design costumes for New York City Ballet's newest work "Call Me Ben". The article discussed how he had to learn the difference between "designing for the stage [and designing for] social settings". Marc Happel, costume shop director for NYCB, was quoted discussing how smaller details will get lost on stage, so bolder is better. He said, "many times I take [the costumes] and stand at the end of a hallway and say 'OK, what you're looking at is Row A. Most everyone else is going to be even farther away'."
The one-act ballet takes place in the forties and follows the story of gangster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel. Dressing the women in delicate pleats and flowing mousseline, and the men in classically tailored pinstripe suits, it's clear one of Mendel's first inspirations for the project was formed around Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. The women also sport tweed pencil skirts, cape jackets, and all dance with Forties-styled dance shoes. For Mendel's resort collection, it goes without saying that he brought ballet from the stage to the runway. The collection emphasizes the graceful aspects of ballet with the use of flowing fabrics such as tulle, mousseline, and organza. The movement in the garments is incredible. Looking at the photo with Mendel and the blue dress, it's as if the mannequin is twirling. Each piece is extremely elegant with the glamour and detail seen in Mendel's work.