when the national ballet calls…

Sometimes we’re racy and sometimes we’re lacy! So when the National Ballet called and asked us to construct a tutu to help commemorate their 60th anniversary we saw it as the perfect opportunity to showcase technical beauty. We did our best curtsey to accept the honour and then buried ourselves in a sea of luon (technical) and lace (beautiful).

meet antonia, lead yoga designer here at lululemon
Meet Antonia, (you know her as the creative brains behind many of the yoga pieces you love to love). Spending the first half of her life mostly en pointe, Antonia was the perfect candidate to take on the tutu project. We caught up with the dancer turned designer to score all the deats:

how did you get from dance to design?
I danced for 13 years, doing everything from Ballet to Jazz to Modern. I just loved to move! As a long-legged girl (who could never find pants that were long enough) my mom took to sewing me leotards and dance pants as well as all of the costumes for my studio. Without ever really realizing it, I was ‘designing’ from a really young age, making requests and adjustments to the dancewear my mom was constructing for me. When I wasn’t dancing I was sewing up little projects of my own (in third grade I designed scrunchies that I sold to my classmates).

Although I didn’t pursue dance professionally, the 13 years of competitions and costumes seemed like it was the perfect training for what would later become my career in athletic apparel design. It wasn’t something I’d planned but more so something I fell into.

the national ballet and lululemon, long-time besties?
What many people don’t know is that we’ve been in relationship with The National Ballet of Canada since we launched our dance line in 2007. At the time of the initial launch, the relationship involved design meetings with the dancers and having them test the gear for feedback. Even though we don’t design a specific dancewear line any longer, our Toronto stores have maintained a strong relationship with The National Ballet. It was this ongoing partnership that made us a great fit to participate in the tutu project.

tell us about the tutu!
The inspiration for creating this tutu was drawn from the famous ballet, Swan Lake. Swan Lake is the most demanding ballet for the principal dancer to preform technically and athletically. As an athletic apparel brand that focuses on functional gear (that looks great too) it felt so perfect to draw my inspiration from here. The tutu had to be able to deliver technical features to allow the dancer to think of nothing but her performance and, of course, look elegant and classic as well.

can you tell us a bit about the technology in the tutu?
The key technology used in the piece is called Naked Seam. This is a seam that is constructed without the use of thread. Many of the garments we design use this bonded seam in areas to reduce friction and abrasion the wearer may feel (see: chafing). Oh, and of course, we used our signature lightweight fabrics!

from design to sketches to construction, who else was involved in the project?
This project was great to work on as a side project to my regular role. In order to use the best talents of those around me, I enlisted my mom, Shirley Iamartino, to be the seamstress on the project and bring the tutu I envisioned to life. (Side note: in addition to my dance costumes, my mom was also the seamstress behind my wedding gown!). The illustrations and mood board was the work of Lauren Powell, one of our other yoga designers (and also a former dancer).  Without the collaboration and help of these ladies the tutu would still be only a vision in my mind.

Bravo Antonia! We love this tutu (and you!). Wanna see the other 59 tutus? Check them out here.

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Wow, very modern and yet beautifully feminine. Thankful your staff shared this wonderful work of art.

Comment by Jade Munck — July 3, 2012 @ 7:03 am

Dear Lululemon;

Your company is by far my favorite for ALL of my athletic, yoga, dance, running, biking and ‘just be’ clothing and accessories. I would not care if I had anything else in my closet, except for lululemon :) The thought that goes into everything you make is simply genius.

The tutu that you feature here for the National Ballet of Canada, designed by Antonia is exceptionally beautiful and feminine. However, I do notice that you use bird feathers. I know the horrid reality and facts about the fur, feather, and leather industry and was wondering where Lululemon stands on this issue. I do not believe any talented designer or fantastic company such as yours ever needs to revert to such measures as in using anything that comes from an industry that is based on greed and torment.

Warmest Regards,

Comment by Wanda — July 3, 2012 @ 8:44 am

That is gorgeous!!! I hope that Lulu will come out with Tutus for the general public so we can all enjoy them! I’ve been dying for a little pink number for years! (I saw the black one you had, but it was sold out super fast!)

Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Elle — July 3, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

you should sell these in stores absolutly beautiful! :)

Comment by Kennedy — July 3, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

I want the dance line y’all sed to have back!!! As a dancer I’m always lookin for things I can move in that also look pretty. While your traditional line is simply amazing, I would love if y’all would do something more unique to dancing again! PLEAS!!! =D

Comment by Lisa Nunberg — July 3, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

Beautiful! Please bring back dancewear to Lululemon! It is very much needed.

Comment by BD — July 3, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

This is really, REALLY cool. I think it’s so fitting that they came to you guys for this project – there’s something about a Lululemon tutu that just feels perfect :) Beautiful design!

Comment by Sara Hamil @ They Call It Gumption — July 4, 2012 @ 6:09 am

Gorgeous! Consider selling these to the public. Though not a dancer, I would certainly find a use for a design this pretty!

Comment by Valorie Sherman — July 11, 2012 @ 9:45 am

I absolutely love this.

Comment by stephanie koshy — September 28, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

Hopefully someday I will be working with you! It is my dream/goal to one day design for this amazing brand.

Comment by Laura — October 1, 2012 @ 7:04 pm

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