Can you boogie like Baryshnikov?
Cloud + Victory, the clothing brand that outfits "lovers, dancers, stargazers, and snarkers," wants to know-as broadcasted across one of their tanks that has taken the dance world by storm. Splattered with eccentric quips like "turn up, turn out," "bourrée like a boss," and "may the fouette be with you," it is no wonder that dancers, from students to professionals and everyone inbetween, have fallen head over pointe shoes for the shirts that make even the most timid wallflower itch to stand out.
Min, the preciously-positive innovator responsible for C + V, didn't set out to design a clothing line, which makes Cloud + Victory's delightful alternativeness unconventional from the start. Proving that often from the darkest shadows come the brightest rays of light, C + V was born when Min was an undergraduate Law/Political Science student, pushing herself too hard academically and struggling with clinical depression and an eating disorder. Using weekly adult ballet classes as part of her recovery, Min says she wanted "stylish shirts to express how much ballet meant to me. I also wanted them to be extremely high quality and ethically-made." Noticing there didn't seem to be many options for clothing of this nature, especially in Singapore, where Min is based, she took to selling the shirts online. Min's venture skyrocketed onto stages around the world, transforming from a "positive distraction" to a full-time venture that boasts some of ballet's hottest icons as fans. Allison DeBona of Ballet West and star of Breaking Pointe, Staatsballett Berlin's Patricia Zhou, and international sensation David Hallberg make frequent appearances on C + V's Instagram and Twitter accounts -- often wearing cat ears or holding slices of pizza.
Yes, you read it right -- in addition to fabulous clothing, Cloud + Victory is famous for their clever photoshop jobs and zingers, like captioning a picture of Mariinsky dancers, costumed for Swan Lake, "Prince Siegfrizzle chillin' with his hype-girl, O-Diddy." According to Min: "Ballet is all about portraying an unworldly grace on stage, and I love juxtaposing it with something very random and of-this-world." The relationship between boundless elegance and cheerful whimsy make the brand not just clever and sleek, but lovable as well. The designs are attention grabbing, chicly crafted to walk the line between professional and utterly unique.
Dancers agree. Miko Fogarty, ballet's bona fide superstar of the moment, said: "I love how they use trendy phrases but in ballet terms!" Patricia Zhou echoes the sentiment, saying: "The designs are the right mix of sweet and sassy and wearing a C +V creation always brightens my day, plus I always get tons of compliments when I wear them." Both cite the "incredibly comfortable and light" fabric as a favorite feature, making it easy to slip on before rehearsal or toss on with jeans for breezily fabulous look. Fogarty even modeled the most recent Spring/Summer 2014 collection, following the luminous Joy Womack, who also lent her face and endless lines to the brand. Cloud + Victory has appeared in Pointe Magazine, with Fogarty's famous extensions illustrating the phrasing.
The idea of something spunky and light and charming is in stark contrast to the way classical ballet usually catches the public's eye. You'll find no homicidal "Black Swans" here-instead, Min is desirous for the brand to be inspired by and for people who are "passionate, who are idealistic, who dream big dreams and have the discipline and the daring to chase them. I think many dancers, whether they're pre-professionals, students or adult beginners-have these qualities." As she remarked: "People defy the odds every day."
Perhaps none more so than Min herself: As someone who has experienced tremendous personal struggle, there is no greater success story than someone with the courage to venture into the unknown, and with such a spark. As they say: Where there is a spark, there's always fire, and Cloud + Victory has set fire to ballet, creating a buzz unlike any other. Min has forever changed the way dancers and dance-lovers can express and represent themselves. The whimsy and wit leap off the shirts and into the wearer, giving them the confidence and charisma to take center stage in their own lives.
From world-renown professionals to die-hard ballet lovers, Cloud + Victory offers something special and spunky for everyone...to be worn while you chase that dream in the back of your mind.
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