Léon Bakst’s first theatrical commission was the sets and costumes for a production of Clément Léo Délibes’s ballet Sylvia, designed in collaboration with Yevgeny Lanceray, Konstantin Korovin and Valentin Serov in 1901. The stage director, Alexander Benois, wanted the ballet to echo “the Hellenic beauty of Délibes’s music.” Inspired by the perfection of the classical world, the designers rejected traditional ballet costumes in favour of the real attire of the ancient Greeks. Although intended to be mounted at the Mariinsky Theatre, this production was never actually staged.

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