Six years ago, Natalie Portman helped design a Richard Mille timepiece. The RM19-01 featured the Black Swan star’s favourite graphic motif, a spider, and was sold for charity benefiting Free The Children (now WE charity).
Six years later, her husband Benjamin Millepied also worked with Richard Mille but instead of designing a watch, he designed a dance performance for the brand’s new collection. For someone whose named literally means a thousand feet, this cannot be more apt.
Entitled WITHIN, this singular production had Millepied going behind the lens for a change, as he worked with composer Thomas Roussel on a spell-binding modern dance routine set in the raw, wind-swept desert wilderness of Joshua Tree South California.
Meanwhile, the music was performed by 50 musicians of the London Symphony Orchestra and recorded at the time-honoured St. Luke’s Church.
The piece which Millepied calls “impressionistic and mysterious” is set to Roussel’s “dreamy sounds that match the fantastic images,” seeking to fuse technical with pure feeling.
Here, dance fuses with time and space, emulsified by the score which is built upon the steady tick-tock rhythm but with vitality and energy. In just under two minutes, the duo transports us to a land where time stands still and nothing matters except the unstructured and organic pas-de-deux between two human beings.
This isn’t Millepied’s first collaboration with the watch and jewellery space. In 2012 the world-renowned choreographer and former star dancer with the New York City Ballet began a three-part production with French jewellery maison Van Cleef & Arpels.
Millepied is also the artistic director of L.A. Dance Project. And In August 2020 he launched LADP Digital, a mobile app that connects dance enthusiasts through group workout sessions and other web-based content.
Echoing the same power, ingenuity and artistic quality, Richard Mille’s RM72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph weaves tradition with modernity. Yet it is no ordinary chronograph, as it debuts a new movement construction which improves on precision while remaining reasonably thin. As such, the RM72-01 could be worn by women as well as men.
Most impressively, the movement was conceived, designed and produced at the brand’s own workshop in Les Breuleux, Switzerland, signalling a sort of coming-of-age for the ultra-luxe independent watch brand. As this attests to the enriched savoir-faire inside the Richard Mille manufacture, it also makes WITHIN a doubly meaningful milestone.