The Dance Collective (LA)HORDE Discusses Their New Collaboration with Isabel Marant

Photos courtesy of Isabel Marant.

Remember going out dancing? (LA)HORDE and Isabel Marant are bringing back the bygone feeling. The French dance collective teamed up with the fashion brand to create a choreographed show for the Spring-Summer 2021 collection. While models walked down the runway, dancers surrounded them, bringing movement to the looks. The show, and its accompanying film, intend to capture the lively energy from concerts and festivals that we’ve all been missing. Below, the three founders of (LA)HORDE—Marine Brutti, Jonathan Debrouwer, and Arthur Harel—discuss the inspiration for the collaboration and what we can all learn from moving our bodies.


JULIANA UKIOMOGBE: How is dance incorporated into the show?

(LA)HORDE: Isabel Marant’s invitation was very moving and we were touched by the deep support she was willing to offer to the living arts community, a community that has been deeply impacted by the sanitary crisis and social distancing. Every day, we are working at the ballet with dancers who prefer to sacrifice their social life to be able to practice their art safely in the studio. They want to be able to perform their art whenever possible. This whole atmosphere makes us feel that dancing in today’s context is, more than ever, an act of resistance. Isabel offered us this platform and it was a great opportunity to hire independent dancers, some of whom hadn’t performed for months because of the wave of cancellations of cultural events.

We respected the four chapters that Isabel initially intended for her show. We had four moments of four main colors that created a contrast between the runway walk of the models and the organic crowd of the dancers. Our goal was to choreograph four variations around iconic movements to create a clear feeling of four different tableaux in time. The first chapter is about the arrival, the walks, and the presentations of all protagonists. The second chapter shows how a group of dancers would hack the runway by walking as a crowd around each model. The third chapter is a release of energy; the group of dancers who used to walk in the same direction as the models are now operating as a mosh pit tornado around the silhouettes and the models are now in the eye of an energy storm. For the fourth chapter, we developed a choreography about “the kiss,” and how we can hug each other and bring back memories of shared love in an intense partnering. And for the final, we worked on the lift, where dancers are gathering as a festival crowd to create a see of arms and hands ready to carry whoever is brave enough to dive in the crowd.

UKIOMOGBE: Where did you get the inspiration for the choreography?

(LA)HORDE: When Isabel reached out to us, she was super clear on her intentions. We remember her saying something like, “Right now, we cannot access the territories where we usually express dance, fun, celebration, and communion. I would like (LA)HORDE to create a moment of solace, where we can see bodies moving, dancing, and enjoying themselves so the audience can vibrate through their bodies by proxy.” Our common desire was to create a wave of love and energy to cheer people up. To make good vibes circulate again and provide a feeling of freedom and joy and hope; a glimpse of what is essential. The inspiration was about what we were missing the most: partnering, partying, communication through our bodies, and celebrating. We took inspiration from festival or concert crowds, but also clubbing and birthday parties.

UKIOMOGBE: What is the overall theme that you wanted to capture with the short film?

(LA)HORDE: We designed this film for Isabel Marant in order to remain faithful to the live experience and the energy shared with the audience during the show. This moment of jubilation and liberation of the body makes sense today more than ever in a world that has not yet reopened, and where dance especially has still not found its place.

UKIOMOGBE: What do you hope viewers take away from the film and collection?

HORDE: It is important to be able to redefine new imaginaries and to maintain our relationship to our souls, our bodies, and the beauty of the group. We hope that this short film is a reminder that we can always support each other and that we can always make room for art. Art is essential. And we hope the viewers take away joy, strong spirits, resistance, bliss, and pleasure.