Jeremy Irons attends Cleopatra: Northern Ballet

Jeremy Irons attends the press night of Cleopatra: Northern Ballet at Sadlers Wells on May 17, 2011 in London, England.

Jeremy Irons attends English National Ballet’s centenery celebration

Chanel’s Lagerfeld puts the fashion back in ballet

By Katy Taylor and Terry Kirby Last updated at 11:06am on 17.06.09

It was a case of high fashion both on and off stage at Sadler’s Wells last night.

A glamorous first-night audience turned out for English National Ballet‘s centenery celebration of the legendary Ballet Russes, with some of the costumes designed by Karl Lagerfeld.

Among those in attendance were Lagerfeld’s muse Amanda Harlech, milliner Philip Treacy and Jasmine Guinness.

Also present were actors Damian Lewis and his wife Helen McCrory, Richard E Grant and Jeremy Irons.

“It was fabulous,” Lewis enthused, while the new Dr Who, actor Matt Smith, described it as ”wonderful”.

“They’re absolutely fabulous,” said Jo Wood, estranged wife of Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood. “If I had my time again I’d definitely be a ballet dancer.”

The performance was made up of four dances, including the Dying Swan. It also included the world premiere of Faun(e), a re-imagining of Nijinsky’s L’apres-midi d’un Faune, by internationally acclaimed choreographer David Dawson.

Lagerfeld’s designs for the principal dancers in The Dying Swan and another dance, Apollo, continue a tradition begun by Coco Chanel, whose Parisian fashion house he now heads.

Last night The Dying Swan was danced by Elena Glurdjidze, the senior principal dancer with the ENB, wearing a tutu designed by Lagerfeld using ostrich and a variety of other bird feathers. The four-minute dance was originally created for the legendary Anna Pavlova.

In Apollo, the principal dancers, real-life husband and wife Thomas Edur and Agnes Oaks, wore costumes based by Lagerfeld on classical Greek designs. Chanel herself was a close friend and benefactor of Sergei Diaghilev, who founded the Ballet Russes in 1909.

She created the original costumes for Apollo in 1929 and had an affair with its composer, Igor Stravinsky.

As well as Chanel and Nijinsky, Diaghilev collaborated with other major choreographers, composers, artists and dancers including Pavlova, Picasso, Debussy and Matisse.

Two of the original Ballet Russes dancers, Dame Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin, went on to become founders of the ENB.

The Ballet Russes season continues until Saturday.