Dressing the inner warrior

March Forth! is a benefit fashion show and dinner for local ballerina

By Janie Romer
Posted 2/26/20

On Wednesday (March 4), El Gamal restaurant on Guadalupe Plaza will host a fundraiser dinner and fashion show to support Ava de Coudray in auditioning for the Rosella Hightower Dance School (Ecole Supérieure de Danse de Cannes Rosella Hightower), in France.

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Dressing the inner warrior

March Forth! is a benefit fashion show and dinner for local ballerina

Posted

On Wednesday (March 4), El Gamal restaurant on Guadalupe Plaza will host a fundraiser dinner and fashion show to support Ava de Coudray in auditioning for the Rosella Hightower Dance School (Ecole Supérieure de Danse de Cannes Rosella Hightower), in France.

Du Coudray is just 13 but has already discovered her passion in ballet. She will be auditioning on April 17, in Cannes, and if she is accepted to the school, she will be spending the next four years preparing for both a baccalaureate degree and a dance teacher diploma, and is excited about the idea of boarding in her own "Hogwarts."

"Ever since I was little I expressed myself by dancing," she says. "My favorite thing was to make dance stories, as I called them, which I now know is called choreography.

"Among all the great schools I could have chosen to apply to, the Rosella Hightower School of Dance appealed to me the most for their core values of how they focus and nurture the organic development of a dancer by teaching them to deeply know, listen and care for their body."

At 13, and fortunate to have been raised bilingual - she is fluent in both French and English - du Coudray says, "I am thirsty for all the opportunities that an education abroad can offer, and I am ready to fully dive into what makes my heart beat ... dancing."

Her mother, Anne du Coudray, has lived and created her designs in Taos since 2006. "I really consider myself an artisan, a maker much more than a fashion designer per se," she explains.

With a special focus on merino wool, the core of her work has been, and remains, "the meeting point of function and fashion."

At AlignStyle, the name of her clothing line, the motto is "Wear the Talk."

"Feeling good as you move is prime and foremost," she says. "Every piece is mindfully conceived and handcrafted with function and style in mind. The result is a garment that allows your own beauty to radiate."

All pieces presented at the show are for sale Wednesday night with a special local discount of 13 percent, then they will be up at AlignStyle Etsy shop.

Anne du Coudray was raised in Paris in a blue collar district with her grandparents. Her grandmother was a dancer who left home at 16 to be part of a dance company, and both she and her mother are great seamstresses - and the greatest influences on her own sense of style.

She cites the more classic, pure lines of the designs created by Yves-Saint-Laurent and Christian Dior, along with the "lusciously draping fabric over a body without making it disappear of Madeleine Vionnet, who inspired many designers of the 20th century."

Calvin Klein's simple and clean lines make him her favorite American designer.

"At the core my great source of admiration and inspiration is traditional native wear, of all origins, especially Asian design. My friends often say that my lines are French and yet my style is infused with the multicultural flavors of this unique place we live in."

Du Coudray had been working as a fine art consultant in New York when she stumbled upon a book by Morihei Ueshiba who founded aikido, the martial art. This led her to a dojo in Philadelphia, where she trained for four years. There she met Ava's father. When she became pregnant with Ava, they realized that though they loved the hustle and bustle of city life, they wanted a different environment in which to raise their child. Her husband at the time suggested a trip to a remote and unusual place he had once visited: Taos.

"It was love at first sight. There was a reminiscence of the southern region of France, where I spent the favorite days of my childhood."

Meeting with the team of midwives at the birthing center sealed the deal. Ava would be born in Taos. Because of this du Coudray failed to complete her training in aikido, but jokingly says, "Ava is my black belt. No regrets."

Both mother and daughter embody many of their maternal lineage's attributes. "Women have a warrior quality as far as we can remember in this lineage. We have a deep sense of committing to the process, the artisan heart - we know we can 'make' and we do."

Now we can all enjoy the quality and comfort of du Coudray's chic garments to empower our own inner warriors.

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