From Costume Balls to the Stage

Baron Alexis de Redé, a vital fixture in high society at the time, was looking for an artist to design the set and costumes for the Bal des Têtes he was holding at the Hôtel Lambert on the Île Saint-Louis in 1956. Lilia Ralli, an influential figure in the fashion world, recommended Christian Dior’s new assistant Yves Saint Laurent. In the process, Saint Laurent met the choreographer Roland Petit and the dancer Zizi Jeanmaire, who became his friends and for whom he would go on to design many costumes.

Saint Laurent let his imagination run wild, creating extravagant outfits for the Bal des Têtes and later for the Bal oriental in 1969 and the Bal Proust in 1971.