"I believe the world of high fashion and grand opera go together." -- Florida Grand Opera Board President, Jane Robinson.
If there's one thing I know about those words above, it's that I like the way it sounds. At the impetus of the FGO Board President, this upcoming Saturday evening, November 17 (which opens with Mozart's Cosi fan tutte), will bring about a new, fashionable paradigm for the annual Opening Night Gala. For this year's 67th anniversary of the FGO, in addition to the requisite champagne/dinner/dancing post-opera gala, high fashion will reign as the evening's concurrent success. The FGO has their Eres panties in a twist because this season's sets and costumes of Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles have been designed by British fashion icon Zandra Rhodes
For the event's theme, "Celebrating the Fusion of High Fashion and Opera", five prominent fashion designers local to the Miami area had been invited to create original evening gowns inspired by one of the five 2007-08 season productions, which will be clipped to models and paraded around the gala @ the Carnival Center's Ziff Ballet Opera House. The Gala closes with a fundraiser, and the gowns will be auctioned-off to benefit the opera organization.
OC hopes that the Gala is a winner, as we experienced the FGO last February with Renata Scotto-directed, Richard Bonynge-conducted Bellini's La Sonnambula, and can attest that the beach mentality influenced the frock-less masses that streamed into the opera house.
Here below are the divaish offerings from the five local women designers, and we're happy to report that all five would have no problem sheathing our leading ladies of opera. All images were taken from the Miami Herald multimedia slideshow (credits to John VanBeekum & Suzanne K. Mast Lee) found here [with music], but OC condensed it for you below because i <3s u all.
BELOW -- Julian Chang's Les pêcheurs de perles gown: A $3,400 halter gown with ruffles, made of 2-ply silk. Artist's statement: "I love romantic stories. This dress has a little bit of ethnicity. There's a lot of gold. It's something that's a little more structured but has flow.''
BELOW -- Mayda Cisneros's Cosi fan tutte gown: A $3,800 purple silk taffeta with ruffles. Artist's statement: "This opera has to do with two brothers who are out to prove that women forget who is whom. I really wanted to use ruffles to show flirtiness and flightiness because ruffles to me are the ultimate expression of that. I made them big and bold. Women can be flirty and flighty and strong at the same time."
BELOW -- Victoria Lopez Castro's Tosca gown: A $4,000 ivory silk chiffon, hand-beaded, with ostrich feathers and overcoat in silk velour. Artist's statement: "Tosca was a very vivacious opera singer, and this was the era of Josephine and Napoleon. So I designed something that was wearable -- a scene-stealer effect but very clean."
BELOW -- Ivonne de la Vega's La Bohème gown: A taffeta dress for $5,000 and an asymmetrical silk velvet cape for $2,500. Artist's statement: "It was quite challenging because when I started the research I realized [the lead character] is very poor and dies. It's very dark and gloomy. So I used a dark fabric from the Netherlands and since there are a lot of capes in the opera, I said, 'OK, we have to glam this up a bit.'"
BELOW - Silvia Tcherassi's Julius Caesar gown: A sequin and silk gown for $4,000. Artist's statement: "The dress is a stylish and contemporary version of a roman gown, the blue color represents the color of the Mediterranean ocean at night. It is a dress that without a doubt Cleopatra would have used to seduce Caesar.''
So Opera Chic readers, which one is your favorite? Victoria Lopez Castro's Tosca gown is our preferred...for its clean lines and simplicity. We roundly applaud all the local designers for their hard work and lovely gowns...although in all honesty we'd swap them in an instant for Balenciaga's or M. Bardelli's.