Credit: Pavel Hejný

NdB: New Coco Chanel Ballet Premieres Tonight

One need not know much about international fashion to recognize the name Coco Chanel. It comes up so often: the casual chic; the “little black dress”, which has become a staple in every woman’s closet; the Chanel bag, with the famous interlocking double-C logo. And, of course, the world-famous perfume: Chanel No. 5.

Tonight the international fashion icon will be feted with dance: the Ballet company of the Brno National Theatre (NdB) will premiere ‘Coco Chanel’ at 7pm at the Mahen Theater. This performance is sold out, but many further performances are planned, stretching into next year. Click here for the full schedule and more details.

Credit: Martin Divišek

Choreographer Mário Radačovský has prepared a ballet about the woman who turned the world of fashion upside down by changing the modern woman’s wardrobe. The show will present some important aspects of the her life, and emphasise the elegant Chanel-style costumes, designed by artist Ľudmila Várossová for NdB.

Gabrielle, or Coco Chanel, was a visionary designer, a predatory businesswoman, and a woman who was both loved and very lonely. She carved her thorny path to the top from the most destitute circumstances. She was willing to sacrifice almost everything for her success, and in doing so, she succeeded in achieving world-wide name recognition.

Coco Chanel’s personal life was as storied and complex as her career; she had affairs with the most prominent men of her time, friendships with artists and intellectuals, and even collaborated with the Nazi authorities in France during World War II. She never married, and both embodied and promoted the image of a strong, independent woman, which was revolutionary in her time.

This production does not aim to retell the entire life of Coco Chanel. It builds upon certain moments from her life through the concept of a fashion show.

Credit: Martin Divišek

“I was looking for the key to not drowning in the life of Coco Chanel,” said Mário Radačovský, artistic director of Ballet NdB and choreographer of the production. “I intentionally left out many situations and life twists. In my opinion, the essence of her life, and indeed the life of every fashion designer, is the show: the fashion show, the life show. In the background of the fashion show preparations, flashbacks from the heroine’s life appear, retrospectively, which always evoke a specific memory.”

The ballet costumes focus on the typical features of Coco Chanel’s signature – the courage with which she worked to eliminate unnecessary decorativeness and the use of masculine elements in feminine fashion. Said Slovak costume designer Várossová: “To be the author of a costume design for Coco Chanel requires a mix of courage and humility at the same time, especially if we are not primarily concerned with a historical rewriting of her life. I hope that the costumes in the performance glorify the signs of her timeless handwriting.”

Sehyun An and Chanell Cabrera Sansón, the group’s first soloists, and Gloria Benaglia and guest Kristýna Kmentová, who previously worked as a group demi-soloist, will make appearances in lead roles during this and the next season.

Credit: Martin Divišek

Theatre World Brno 2024

From 17-28 May, Brno will play host to an international festival that will highlight the artistic passion of theatres around the world. The festival includes a full spectrum of events, including dance, music, performances for children, and more.

For more information, in English, go to

The Brno National Theatre presents opera, ballet, and theatrical performances. Click here for the full schedule and more details.

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