After a bleak year in lockdown, Broadway stylist Greg Dassonville wanted to visually depict his perspective of the pandemic. He recruited six on-stage stars to participate in personal portraits. Broadway Direct has the exclusive first look at the visionary images of Nick Adams, Hannah Corneau, Eden Espinosa, Jason Gotay, Robert Hartwell, and Jessica Vosk, representing six different emotional phases Dassonville experienced throughout the last year.
“I’m blown away,” Dassonville says of how his looks came together. Everyone involved donated their time and resources, from the photographers to the designers and models. He reached out to many professionals he’d never worked with before and made sure all voices were represented throughout his styling. “It’s very rare that you find yourself among a group of people who also want to create at the same level in which you aspire to create a dream.”
Many of the looks featured below were pulled from Flying Solo in SoHo. The showroom, Dassonville explains, displays clothes from designers all over the world. “It is truly a melting pot of culture and design,” he said. “When you see clothing on racks from various designers who come from different cultural backgrounds, you start to see the story of what you are wanting to create and your POV becomes that much stronger.”
One of the designers Dassonville worked with for Hello, Dolly! Star Robert Hartwell’s shoot was Curtis Cassell, whose label is called Queera. Billy Porter wore one of his looks to a post-Oscars celebration this year that was recently profiled inVogue.
Former Wicked star Jessica Vosk says she felt like a princess when she stepped into a one-of-a-kind $18,000 couture dress after a year in sweatpants. “That was one of the coolest ball-gowns-cupcake-topper moments of my life,” she exclaimed. The dress, by designer Karen Sabag, was about the size of a New York City apartment, Vosk jokes. “I love somebody who’s willing to get in there with an idea and sort of shake things up a bit,” she said.
Penny Chu is the mastermind behind the headwear and neckpieces worn in Wicked star Corneau’s and Hartwell’s looks. “I wanted to really make these images come off the page. Her artistry and attention to detail allowed me to take those visions to the next level,” says Dassonville. “What she is able to construct from paper and plastic is unreal.”
The idea for the high-fashion shoot came to Dassonville at the beginning of 2021, when he realized his entire business, DassonVogue, was dead. With Broadway closed, he had no one to style for a red carpet or high-profile event. “When you can’t create for an extended amount of time and when it’s out of your control, it starts to become this moment of, What is my purpose in this life?” he says. So he came up with a plan to create, just for himself, wanting to prove he could still do the job he spent years tailoring to the needs of the theatrical community.
Now he wants to share his passion with everyone. “I want people to realize that you can create anything that you want. You don’t have to wait for permission. That’s the biggest thing that I’ve learned.”
Delusion Versus Reality
“What I wish I was doing versus COVID destroying my life, essentially,” Dassonville says of the thought behind this image of Bring It On: The Musical star Gotay.
“Leading to armor myself, to be able to live and breathe again, see people, feel light on my skin again, and not have to be in a tiny New York City apartment for hours and hours a day,” Dassonville explains of Corneau’s look.
“You can be anything that you want to be. Just because society shows you one specific way of being portrayed does not mean that you are that. You can have excellence. Greatness is out there for everyone, especially a person of color,” Dassonville says of his vision for Hartwell’s portrait.
“A better tomorrow. If we all collectively come together and work together, anything is possible. We can achieve what is best for all people and not just one,” Dassonville said of Wicked star Espinosa’s look.
“Especially in the age of everything being virtual, it was needing to make sure that every hair was in place, every outfit was thought out, that lighting was right,” Dassonville says of Vosk’s grand ensemble. “I think everybody could resonate with needing to make sure that every single detail was in place, so that way, people watching you on screen weren’t just staring at you in your pajamas on the couch.”
“It’s the light at the end of the tunnel. The opportunity to know that we are getting closer to being able to live our lives again,” Dassonville says of Priscilla Queen of the Desert star Nick Adams’s photoshoot.
For more from Broadway stylist Greg Dassonville, check out his Instagram @dassonvogue.
Last updated and effective as of January 14, 2019
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