Sunday, January 23, 2011

LaCroix Sweetie, LaCroix! Fashion Designers in Opera

Fleming wears LaCroix (Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)
Since declaring chapter 11, Christian Lacroix has kept himself busy in the opera world designing costumes around the globe. In 2008 he, along with John Galliano and Karl Lagerfeld, designed soprano Renée Fleming's gowns for opening night scenes of La Traviata, Manon and Capriccio at the Metropolitan Opera. As an encore, he returned to the MET in January 2009 to design the costumes for Massenet's Thaïs featuring Fleming and Thomas Hampson with Jesús López-Cobos conducting. [Source, Source]

Pendatchanska in Berlin
This March, Lacroix is creating the costumes for Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Bayerische Staatsoper. Conductor Yves Abel leads a cast that will include Vesselina Kasarova, Eri Nakamura and Dimitri Pittas. [SourceIn February 2010 he designed the costumes for Händel's Agrippina at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin. The occasion marked his debut at the German opera house. He flew back and forth between Paris and Berlin to personally oversee the fittings. Alexandra Pendatchanska sang the title role and René Jacobs led the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. [Source]

After the jump is a 30-year retrospective of designers (Capucci, LaCroix, Armani, Versace) creating costumes for opera and evening gowns for divas (Kabaivanska, Antonacci, Fleming, Dernesch, Ricciarelli).

Chanel for Cocteau
"Western fashion's theatrical debut can be traced back to the 19th century with designs by Worth and Poiret, while in 1924 Sergei Diaghilev invited Coco Chanel to create the costumes for Jean Cocteau's Le Train Bleu, curators said. But modern theater's age of glamour truly began in the 1980s, when dance, theater and opera stars like Montserrat Caballé, Joaquin Cortés, Carla Fracci, Cecilia Gasdia, Raina Kabaivanska, Luciano Pavarotti, Katia Ricciarelli and Luciana Savignano first stepped onto the stage clad in Italian haute couture. The designers were such an attraction that certain productions came to be known by their names rather than the artists', as in Armani's Cosí Fan Tutte, Romeo Gigli's Magic Flute, Missoni's Lucia di Lammermoor and Gianni Versace's Salomé. Among the show's highlights are a black satin gown entirely embroidered with brightly coloured crystals in patterns inspired by painter Sonia Delaunay's geometries and worn by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in Strauss' Capriccio by Gianni Versace in 1990; and the Queen of the Night costume for Mozart's Magic Flute, made of a net of blue sequins with jewel-encrusted tassels. Also noteworthy are a concert gown designed by Romeo Gigli in 1995 exclusively for Anna Caterina Antonacci and swathing the body in waves of rose and almond-green taffeta; a sculpted, draping spiral of green and purple taffeta, referencing Marlene Dietrich and worn in Maurice Béjart's Malraux ou la Metamorphose des Dieux, designed by Versace in 1986. There is also a dazzling tribute to opera legend Maria Callas in the shape of over 500 yards of white, silver and ice-colored taffeta for the vestals' costumes on stage during the 'Casta diva' aria in Bellini's Norma which were designed by Roberto Capucci in 1986."[Source]
Roberto Capucci diva gowns: (top row) Raina Kabaivanska, Helga Dernesch*, Anna Caterina Antonacci; (bottom row) Stefania Bonfadelli, Katia Ricciarelli, Anna Caterina Antonacci
[*costume originally for Salome/Teatro alla Scala/1987 as Herodias]

In 2004 designers Viktor & Rolf created the fantastical costumes for Weber's opera Der Freischutz that played at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden with a cast included Juliane Banse, Julia Kleiter and Dmitry Ivanshenko with Thomas Hengelbrock leading the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Armani dominates the fifth section of the exhibition: the designer created his first costumes in 1980 for Schoenberg’s Erwartung at Milan’s la Scala. Armani’s love affair with theatre and opera continued through the years with Richard Strauss’s Elektra (1994), Offenbach’s Les Contes D'Hoffmann (1995), Mozart’s Così fan tutte (1995) and Verdi’s Rigoletto (2000), though he is more famous for his contributions to ballet shows and musicals such as Neumeier’s Bernstein Dances. The seventh section is dedicated to a different group of designers and costumes and includes Romeo Gigli’s 1995 colourful and surreal designs for Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte; Alberta Ferretti’s white, red and black costumes for Carmen (2001); Coveri’s dresses for The Great Gatsby (2000) inspired by Art Deco, jazz and Charleston, and Valentino’s works for the modern opera based on the life of Rodolfo Valentino, entitled The Dream of Valentino (1994). Versace collaborated with some of the best dancers, choreographers and directors, among them Maurice Béjart, Bob Wilson, Roland Petit, John Cox, William Forsythe and Twyla Tharp, creating masterpieces for Richard Strauss’ Josephlegende (1982), Gaetano Donizetti’s Don Pasquale (1984) and Strauss’ Salomé (actually the Salomè connection deserves a separate post...). [Source, Source]
Designer Costumes: (top row) first two pieces by Antonio Marras/A Midsummer Night's Dream/Piccolo Teatro/2008,  Roberto Capucci/Norma/Arena di Verona/1986, Karl Lagerfeld/La Traviata/Macerata/1984; (bottom row) Karl Lagerfeld/Carmen/Arena di Verona/1986, Romeo Gigli/Die Zauberflöte/Teatro Comunale di Ferrara/1995, Giorgio Armani/Malraux ou la metamorphose des Dieux/Cirque Royal/1986, Gianni Versace/Capriccio/Royal Opera/1990 

The dress designed by Versace for Kiri Te Kanava in Strauss's Capriccio (1990), all embroidered with motifs inspired by the geometry of Sonia Delaunay, the fur coat in powder pink, created by Fendi in 1984 and worn by Raina Kabaivanska in La Traviata; The colorful costumes by Missoni for Lucia di Lammermoor at the Teatro alla Scala (1983), the costumes of priestesses in the Arena di Verona Casta Diva (1986), a tribute to Maria Callas Capucci, and those of Bizet's Carmen for Alberta Ferretti the Baths of Caracalla (2001), are some extraordinary examples. [Source]

Ferré & Renée
The late Italian designer Gian-Franco Ferré began designing evening gowns for Renée Fleming in 1998. She did not confine her love for the couture to concert platforms, she often wears his day-wear as part of her wardrobe. Many of these outfits are what landed her on the Blackwell list of the world's best-dressed women. [Source]

More about Il Teatro all Moda can be found here.


  1. useful information on LaCroix Sweetie, LaCroix! Fashion Designers in Opera

    nice article

    Fashion designing courses in mumbai, India

  2. Very happy to say your post is very interesting to read.I never stop myself to say something about it.You’re doing a great job.Keep it up

    Fashion Design courses in Chandigarh