Opera Chic won't deny her slightly horrified reaction whenever she sees some tragically underdressed person in the audience at La Scala: the occasional denim jacket + denim pants ensemble, the senseless T-shirt, even -- Opera Chic swears -- the lady in a track suit make her fashion conscious skin crawl (il loggione has different rules, unless it's la prima of Dec 7: those who go there are too busy analyzing every single detail of the performance in order to savage The Damned and -- much less often -- wildly cheer The Saved to care about what they wear... really, the Loggione always has different rules, even when fashion is concerned, and a certain shabbiness is kind of de rigueur).
But Opera Chic is also very wary of the flashy hordes of VIPs and various TV personalities who often show up only to show off: plunging decolletages that would make Jenna Jameson blush, ripped jeans, gentlemen in a white tuxedo (why?) for the sixth replica of a minor opera that make them look like the barman at Ridotto dei Palchi, but not nearly as cool.
Milanese style is all about understatement: elegance here is about not being flashy, mixing a healthy dose of older, well-worn clothes with that new beautiful thing that comes straight from the 10 Corso Como sale. And gentlemen in a nice dark suit with a nice tie and black shoes cannot go wrong: their stylish, unassuming presence at the theatre makes Opera Chic very happy.
But La Scala GM Stéphane Lissner, an elegant, even fastidious dresser who always sports nicely tailored suits, probably even more appalled than Opera Chic by untucked loud shirts and the hoodies that we see more and more often in the audience, has decided to enforce a dress code: even the tickets now carry the warning "Formal dress is required at premiere performances. Gentlemen are requested to wear a jacket and tie at all other performances."
Apparently, those who don't follow the new code will be admitted in the theatre but they will be asked to remember the dress code next time they attend (even if Opera Chic happily dreamt of people forcibly removed from the premises for crimes against fashion). Then Last Sunday Corriere della Sera ran an entire page about this new decision: and the following day opera fan Giorgio Armani has written a small op-ed in the paper, supporting Lissner's decision.
Giorgio confesses that in the 1970s, to follow the fashion, he ditched his tuxedo and dark suits and went to la Scala wearing white turtlenecks and velvet jackets: "I felt very much out of place". But, Armani advises, "style is not anymore about stiff, old fashioned English suits that once were considered the pinnacle of elegance. Nowadays elegance means soft, streamlined designs that make a man feel confortable even where wearing a suit. Because an excess of sprezzatura, at la Scala, is definitely a missed note".