Karl Lagerfeld’s Georgian muse
18 September, 2014
Karl Lagerfeld’s Georgian muse
We at Georgian Journal have the pleasure of introducing our readers to a senior principal ballerina of the English National Ballet and the Georgian muse of Karl Lagerfeld: Elene Glurdjidze.

– Where does the story of your success begin?

– I made easy friends with success from early on, it seems: when I was 12, I got transferred to Vaganova Ballet Academy from Tbilisi Choreographic School without much difficulty. I studied well, but it wasn’t anything overly inspiring and no
one prophesized me having a great future, especially not my teacher… But despite not having big perspectives at school, when I finished it and got accepted to the ballet company, I was instantly tasked with main roles. And they were difficult ballets, too, such as “Swan Lake” and “Sleeping Beauty.” Due to a successful career in St. Petersburg I basically became a “free” ballerina and toured numerous countries, although I never even thought about settling down somewhere in the West.
However, my father had a very strong desire for me to live in a “normal” country. This was his motive when he sent my professional data to numerous famous theaters all over the world. And funnily enough, he initially tried to hide it from me. When I found out about this, I laughed – there are so many splendid ballerinas around, why would anyone choose specifically me? But then I received responses from a multitude of theaters (even those located on different continents), which invited me for trial sessions. The English National Ballet wished to immediately meet with me. No one except my father supported me moving to England. I didn’t want it either because I was quite comfortable in St. Petersburg. I put forward many conditions in hope that the English National Ballet would decline them. But it was all in vain. ENB even agreed to instantly give me a senior principal ballerina’s spot, which didn’t go in accordance with standards of this ballet company. What could I do? I went.
Initially I was faced with difficulties – a feeling of loneliness left me restless, and the language barrier tormented me. However, I proved successful in my dancing from the very start and my first performance in “Swan Lake” (again) earned a lot of praise from critics. In two to three months I told my father that his support paid off. I got used to life in London and learned to like it.

– It can be said that you are one of Karl Lagerfeld’s muses. Can you tell us how he chose you and about the dress of 2,500 feathers that he made for you?

– A hundredth anniversary of Dyagilev’s European Tour was approaching. These tours are connected to Coco Chanel’s name who had an involvement in them and provided various kinds of support throughout the years. Chanel House decided to involve itself in celebrating the anniversary as well by providing a special ballet dress designed by Lagerfeld. The first stage was, of course, the selection of a ballerina. For a whole year, representatives of Chanel secretly attended performances in various countries and judged the dancers’ viability. In the end, they opted for me and invited me to the headquarters of Chanel in Paris. This was completely unexpected and I initially failed to comprehend the scale of such a choice. Lagerfeld put the dress he designed on me himself, remarking that it suited me well. I danced “The Dying Swan” in this dress right there, in front of Chanel’s employees. Lagerfeld praised my performance, especially paying attention to my arms. Now the right to wear this ballet skirt belongs only to me and it is considered my property while I am an active ballet dancer. After I finish my career, it will be given over to a museum. I was also deeply honored by Karl Lagerfeld who sent his sketch, according to which the dress was modeled, to me in London complete with a frame. This is the first time an original sketch has not remained at the Chanel House and has been given to an individual instead.

– Karl Lagerfeld made another dress for you after this, did he not?

– No, that dress wasn’t for me. I just wore it for a photo session for a well-known publication, Harper’s Bazaar, and the dress was brought to London (with its own guards!) and the session took place at ENB studio. The dress turned out to be amazingly beautiful and results of the photo session were successful as well.

– What’s your daily life in London like?

– I am tasked to capacity and my schedule is very busy. It is hard to dance, look after one’s physical shape and take care of a family. My child reprimands me sometimes saying – you’re completely consumed by ballet.

Other Stories
Zurab Tsereteli exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London
The artworks of the Georgian painter Zurab Tsereteli will be exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London between the 23rd of January and the 17th of February.
Jvari Monastery reopened
Jvari Monastery in Mtskheta has been reopened.
Jvari Monastery closed for tourists
Jvari Monastery is temporarily closed for tourists.
Anita Rachvelishvili recognized as the best Verdi mezzo-soprano by Riccardo Muti
The New York Times has recently published an article about Georgian opera singer Anita Rachvelishvili.
Georgia to be a guest of honor in Paris in 2021
According to the director of the National Book center in Georgia Dea Metreveli, Georgia was offered to be a guest of honor at the annual book event in Paris in 2021.
Unknown painting of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani uncovered in Georgia
Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani is among the most famous Georgian public figures.
Georgian opera singer Anita Rachvelishvili crowned as best classical music artist by the New York Times
In its end-of-year review about the best classical music of 2018, the newspaper frenetically celebrates Anita Rachvelishvili from Tbilisi.
Niko Pirosmani’s Georgian woman with Lechaki sold for 2 230 000 GBP
Niko pirosmani’s painting Georgian woman with Lechaki was sold at Sotheby’s for 2 230 000 GBP.
Nikortsminda Cathedral renovation works to finish successfully
Nikortsminda Cathedral is a Georgian Orthodox Church, located in Nikortsminda, Racha region of Georgia.
Georgian film “8 Minutes” wins 10 nominations on FICOCC
Georgian film “8 Minutes” became the winner for the 10 nominations on the Five Continents International Film Festival.
Ajika granted the status of an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgia
The traditional Megrelian and Abkhazian technology of Ajika, Georgian spicy sauce was inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgia list.
Mountains, cheese and the colors of the national flag – these are the most obvious things that the two small countries share. But there is more to it.
Claudio Margottini about Vardzia
Vardzia is a cave monastery in Samtskhe-Javakheti. Queen Tamar ordered the construction of Vardzia in the twelfth century.
International Model United Nations to be held in Tbilisi
For the first time In Georgia, International Model United Nations, organized by Kant’s Academy, will be held in Tbilisi.
Charity project COATS to help 369 vulnerable children
The 9th Community Outreach Project COATS 2018 will be hosted by Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel on Sunday, November 18th, 2018
“We try to make Georgia and its culture better known to the Swiss people”
The Swiss based society “Friends of Georgia” celebrates this year its 30 anniversary.
London hosted Qvevri Wine Festival
London hosted Qvevri Wine Festival on the 8th of November.
Shota Rustaveli among the world's top 30 writers
Shota Rustaveli is among the top 30 writers on www.ranker.com
Rituals related to wine-making in old Georgia
In old times, wine cellars used to be considered as a sacred place where certain rituals took place.
Niko Pirosmani paintings in Vienna, in the Albertina Museum
The Albertina Museum in Vienna, Austria has organized a solo exhibition of the works of Niko Pirosmani.
The Fourth Official Ceremony of the Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards
On December 17, 2018 Rustaveli Theatre will host the most remarkable event of the Tourism and Hospitality industry of Georgia
Mtatsminda Panthenon – a necropolis of great Georgians
Mtatsminda Pantheon is a necropolis in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The portrait of the Georgian King Teimuraz II returns to Homeland
The portrait of the King Teimuraz II belongs to the collection of Bagrationi Dynasty
Georgian song Suliko performed at the Frankfurt Buchmesse 2018
Georgia was granted an incredible title this year.
GEL Exchange Rate