Boston Ballet’s March repertoire, “Kaleidoscope,” comes to a close this weekend, but its grand finale is likely to dance in the heads of fashionistas all spring and summer. The elaborately dressed belle époque party goers in Léonide Massine’s vibrant, one-act comedy, “Gaîté Parisienne,” are decidedly on trend. Their primary colors shout as loudly as Moschino’s. Their accessories catch the eye like Dolce & Gabbana's. Their pleats go as deep as Prada’s. Their ruffles rival Gucci’s. 

No wonder these costumes have a haute couture history. French designer Christian Lacroix — a maximalist of his time — had only recently launched his label when he redesigned the costumes for American Ballet Theater’s 1988 revival of the ballet.

"In the 1980s, he was at the top of the list, so it was a big deal to have him design the production," said Charles Heightchew, Boston Ballet’s manager of costumes and wardrobe. 

Lacroix's characteristic color clashing, pattern mixing and piling on of fabric made a splash back then, and — with the renewed appreciation for everything big and bold —  that style is right on point now. 

Earlier this week, Heightchew took a break from fittings to talk fashion history, 80’s revival styles and the workings of the company’s costume and wardrobe shop:

What threads do you see between what's happening on the runways and what's on stage at Boston Ballet?

I was just looking at a bunch of shows in winter 2016/2017, and there were a lot of mixed patterns and really tiny florals, so it was interesting to see that happening again because it’s kind of grungy, but also it does reflect what Christian Lacroix was doing in the ‘80s and ‘90s with mixed patterns from rural France.

What’s the sartorial story that “Kaleidoscope” tells, starting with Balanchine's “Kammermusik No. 2”?

“Kammermusik No. 2” is a restricted palette: two shades of gray and a blue – and not typical of the plain Balanchine’s pieces – usually those Stravinskies are just black and white. But this one, the color palette is still austere but in a brighter way.

Then we go through [“Pas de Quarte”], pure romantic white on white. And then suddenly there’s this huge leap of color into [“The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude]. We obviously didn’t work with Christian Lacroix, but [“Gaîté Parisienne”] was a big change in the design of the piece. Originally it was subdued and pastel colors. He was reacting to Toulouse-Lautrec paintings and the dynamic nature of that music and really made a different color palette for ABT. The colors really vibrate because of the patterns: the black ribbons on the skirts in the can-can make the colors brighter because they’re vibrating against the black.  

Boston Ballet wore the original “Gaîté Parisienne” costumes. What sort of repairs did they need?  

We did a lot of touchups. Boston Ballet is really lucky. I have 12 people who work in the shop, so we do a lot of refurbishment to our costumes. And when we rent a production, we go through and make sure that hooks and bars are in place, that there are no tears. And depending on the age of the production, we might not have a lot of work to do. “Gaîté Parisienne” was one of those cases where we had a lot of repair work because of the nature of the fabrics, and they’ve been used quite a bit with ABT. So we did a lot of patching and repairing and fixing. The original labels are still in there, in addition to names of dancers from ABT who have worn them subsequently.

Let’s break down the can-can costumes that come in during the grand finale. 

The girls wear a large, black, velvet bow in their hair, and that black velvet is also in the little stand collar of their blouse. And their blouses are bright, primary satins with white polka-dot insets. They’re not applique dots but actually sewn into the base fabric. They have a corselette and skirts contrasting with black, velvet stripes sewn onto it. Underneath, there’s another layer of satin married to the underside with contrasting ruche ruffles sewn into them. Then they wear pink ballet tights with thigh-high black Lycra stockings with smaller white polka dots. And then black can-can shoes with white polka dots. It’s a lot. And it’s even more when they’re all together.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.