Cyrano de Bergerac and the Beginning of a Collaboration

While buying a book for his daughter Valentine in 1958, the choreographer Roland Petit happened upon a comic book version of Cyrano de Bergerac at the bookstore. He soon imagined a dance version and spent two months working on it. He cast his wife Zizi Jeanmaire as Roxane and asked Yves Saint Laurent to design the costumes. It would be the first in a long series of collaborations between the choreographer and the couturier.

If I wasn’t a couturier, I would have probably devoted myself to the theater. I’ll never forget the emotions I felt at 13 watching the curtain rise on Christian Bérard’s admirable set for [Molière’s] School for Wives. Since then, thanks to Roland Petit, the gates to this mysterious and wonderful world have been opened to me. My childhood dreams have become a reality in the shapes of Zizi Jeanmaire, Maya Plisetskaya, Madeleine Renaud, Edwige Feuillère, Arletty, and, more recently, Delphine Seyrig and Jeanne Moreau.
I have been able to become the illusionist who transforms canvas into brocade, a mirror into a lake, glass into jewels, ribbons into a forest, and tulle into mist. The theater’s spell has appeared as a livelier, more radiant refuge than reality. As soon as I had a taste of it, I felt like I belonged to this great family of magicians and entertainers who, I hope, have acknowledged and adopted me.

Yves Saint Laurent