Although perhaps best known for the topless swimsuit and championing androgynous fashion, Rudi Gernreich spent a decade as a dancer, dance teacher and costume designer with L.A.’s legendary Lester Horton Dance Theater. Horton’s inclusive company welcomed Alvin Ailey (who later left for New York, but that’s another story) and gay men like Gernreich, and where he met Horton’s muse Bella Lewitzky.
Despite sounding a bit like the “begats” part of the book of Genesis, Gernreich’s time as dancer cemented his concept of freedom of movement in fashion and also forged his friendship with Lewitzky that decades later led to multiple collaborations, the most famous of which was the “Duotard”, a stretchy, bright red costume inhabited by two dancers for Lewitzky’s Inscape.
That duotard as well as that iconic swimsuit are part of a current exhibit exploring the Gernreich fashion legacy and in a special performance, Luminario Ballet performs Lewitzky’s Inscape with Gernreich’s costumes and dancers, coached by John Pennington, a respected Lewitzky alum. The 3 p.m. show is a shortened, family friendly version, free with museum admission. The longer evening show is ticketed.
Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Sun., June 23, 3 p.m., free with admission, 6 p.m., $15. skirball.org.