Fashion moment for NZ ballet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet is heading to the United States on tour this week, taking a special piece of Kiwi fashion with them.

The company will perform in New York, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Minneapolis in their first tour to the US in over 20 years. 

Dunedin-based designer Tamsin Cooper sent the dancers off with their own little piece of New Zealand - a specially designed evening bag for each of the ballerinas to take to the big opening night after party in New York City.

The company's principal guest artist, Gillian Murphy, was given the choice of three limited-edition coats to wear to the party - designed specially for her by Cooper.

Murphy modelled the three around the dressing room in the St James Theatre in Wellington where the company is based, before selecting a signature navy blue velvet design.

The accessories incorporated the design Cooper created for the Royal New Zealand Ballet's 60th anniversary last year, which debuted in Dunedin at iD Fashion Week 2013 with ballet dancers proceeding down the catwalk en pointe before the models.

Cooper already had strong ties with the ballet which has commissioned three collections from the designer.

The ballet will perform Giselle in the United States. It will be the first time Murphy will have performed the production in her homeland.

Christchurch choreographer Andrew Simmons' Through to You will also be performed in Minneapolis and New York - Simmons' international debut.

The company is taking its full contingent of 36 dancers, including Murphy, and a small support crew, giving it a total of about 45 for the tour.