Rei Kawakubo costumes Orlando in Vienna Opera
Add 'operatic costume designer' to Rei Kawakubo’s already considerable list of achievements.
The Comme des Garçons designer has created the clothes for the production of the opera Orlando by Olga Neuwirth being presented in the Vienna State Opera.
Kawakubo joins an all-star backstage team of fashion insiders that includes Stephen Jones for masks; and Julien d’Ys for hair creation. Based on the original novel by Virginia Woolf, Orlando, in which a poet changes sex throughout the centuries while meeting various English literary heroes.
The opera will be broadcast live in HD worldwide via Wiener Staatsoper on December 18; one of five performances. It will be seen on www.staatsoper.com. The opera had its world premiere on Sunday night in Vienna, with Kate Lindsey in the starring role, and Anna Clementi as the narrator.
In effect, the opera marks the third act of the project “transformation and liberation” by Kawakubo that is inspired by the novel Orlando. The first act was the presentation of her first ideas in this spirit this past June during the Paris menswear runway season. The second act was the unveiling of the Orlando collection by Comme des Garçons in September during the French women’s ready-to-wear season in September of this year.
Both collections capturing the novel’s competing themes of gender identity, love and the pursuit of artistic independence which have made the original novel into a feminist classic.
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