Exclusive – Chantal Thomass tells all about her “Crazy” challenge
On the 5th of October, the famous lingerie designer Chantal Thomass will be taking over the Crazy Horse Paris for three months in a show called « Dessous Dessus » of which she is the artistic director.
She has been asked to create four brand new acts, conceive the costumes and direct the show. She will also be adding her personal touch to the “classic” acts of the show’s repertoire.
The designer with the unmistakable bobbed hair, tells us in an exclusive interview how she’s about to pick up this challenge and put the Crazy Horse Paris « Dessus Dessous » (upside down)!
THE EXCLUSIVE CHANTAL THOMASS INTERVIEW
What exactly will that special « Chantal Thomass » touch be in the new show?
I’ve always loved the Crazy Horse Paris shows and I really wanted to add my own personal touch and stylistic codes to it. In other words, a bit of impertinence, very much a part of my personality and perhaps a bit different than that which the Crazy Horse Paris already possesses. I also had ideas about different and surprising (laughs) acts.
I will also be asking the dancers to wear a bit more clothes than they usually do, but rest assured… they will be taking them off!
Discover the making of the show :
A NEW ROLE FULL OF CHALLENGES FOR THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF CLASSY LINGERIE
In this new role as Artistic Director for the Crazy Horse Paris, what are your greatest challenges?
What’s completely new to me is… that I don’t control everything!
For example, the stage is tiny! … In the beginning, I had planned on making the dancers wear 50cm high hats, but I quickly became to realize that that would be impossible.
There was also a real adjustment to be made with the costumes. We tried several things where the dancers told me right away “I won’t be able to dance with that on.” It should be noted that they really do move a lot, so it’s a real challenge dressing them.
You have to think of all the little details, just as a director would, it’s very different from a fashion show.
BEHIND THE SCENES
How are the different acts created?
The creative process begins with drawings and sketches that reflect our imagination, our ideas and what we would like to see on stage. Then there’s a very real adaptation as far as choreography is concerned. I work with a wonderful choreographer, Stéphane Jarny, and I don’t have a whole lot to say there for he knows his subject way better than I do !
There is also the influence of the different songs and music that will be a part of the show. I want the words of the songs, mostly in French, to fit to the story I want to tell and to the costumes.
– [ ] What really surprised me in the beginning was that we tried many different pieces of lingerie and some of them are spectacular and you’d think they’d be the most beautiful, yet they aren’t extraordinary on stage. Inversely, pieces that we thought were less interesting turned out to be those that really stood out and even blew us away on stage! You really have to try everything to know, do fittings with the dancers, have them move and dance with the costumes on, in order to be able to imagine what it’ll look like in the end.
We’ve still got a lot of work left to do !
GLAMOUR AND ROCK’N’ROLL
How did you get your inspiration and what is it you want for your Crazy Girl costumes?
I’ve tried to tell stories, particularly in the new acts we created. But it’s up to the choreographer to adapt the story I’m trying to tell. In one of the new acts I really like, there is a swing, makes you think of Marie-Antoinette. And little by little Marie-Antoinette became a rock star !
I wanted to add some glamour and rock ‘n’ roll. I wanted to add more fantasy and more impertinence. It’s a word that’s used frequently in the world of lingerie. But I know that there’s already a lot of it at the Crazy!
A BIT OF « TEASING » …
Can you tell us what your favorite Crazy Horse Paris act is?
I really like « Leçon d’érotisme », which will be, by the way, revamped for the occasion (you’ll see!). I love the fact that the dancers get undressed. That’s incidentally what I tried to add to the show. I find it very erotic and sexy. When a dancer arrives already nude on stag, even if, of course, she’s drop-dead gorgeous, you don’t get this little extra measure of mystery. I also like the « Teasing » act, which I hadn’t seen for some time on the Crazy Horse Paris stage… and which you’ll therefore rediscover in « Dessous Dessus »!
In your opinion, what is “Crazy “and what isn’t?
Crazy to me are the lights and the arched backs, absolute Crazy Horse hallmarks. What isn’t Crazy is vulgarity, inappropriate behavior and whatever lacks elegance and style. That’s the opposite of Crazy.
ANDRÉE DEISSENBERG : «EXPECT SURPRISES !»
Andrée Deissenberg, Crazy Horse Paris General Director Creation and Development, got the idea of entrusting artistic direction of the show to Chantal Thomass and invited her to follow in the illustrious footsteps of great names of fashion and showbiz, such as Christian Louboutin, Philippe Decouflé or more recently Dita Von Teese.
Chantal Thomass at the Crazy Horse Paris… what should we expect?
Expect new acts, of course, but also a show “dressed” differently, fun and impertinent, expect a different way of presenting the Crazy woman, new visuals and surprises…
Can you give us a sneak-peek into « Dessous Dessus »?
We reworked for the first time since 1989 our famous opening act « God Save Our Bareskin » and realized afterwards that that was perfectly inline with European current affairs… just think of Brexit (or should I say « Br’excite Me» !) … but I shan’t say any more, you’ll have to discover the rest for yourself at the Crazy Horse Paris starting October 5th!
Photo: Ellen von Unwerth – Video and photos « making of »: Jessy Nottola.