Remember the item about Miuccia Prada’s distaste for the “curvy” extras cast for the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Verdi’s Attila? “I cannot clothe them! I need models!” she allegedly proclaimed. Well it’s unclear how that was resolved, but a live report from today’s dress rehearsal, via Parterre Box, gives us a hint of what to expect:
The costumes are runway-ready, all industrial leather and fur and boots and crumpled textures. Sometimes it looks rather silly. “Like my fur? It’s Prada, baby!” The Roman soldiers carry shields that look to me like enormous iPods. Coincidence? I think not! (Unsure what the connection would be, however!) The chorus dressed in jeans and rumpled designer t shirts and reminds me of Mark Morris' "Orfeo" just a bit. Are they a religious cult?
Prada, who lately has been mining motifs of past collections, has smartly done so for her Attila costumes. The leather strip fringe of her women’s dresses for fall 2009 now stream down a leather cape. The ubiquitous metal studs from the men’s collection pepper shoulders, a shirt front, and the tops of Attila’s boots. And the crumpled effect Prada used in her spring 2009 women’s collection now has a darker edge on long leather trenches, sometimes worn about the shoulders. The look is strong, simple, and clear. “I tried to express my vision of the characters from a psychological and historical point of view, and what they mean to me today[...] You have to do it in a way that is contemporary and understandable,” said Prada in a Met playbill feature.
Mockups for the set by Herzog & de Meuron look like they’d be right at home on the walls of Prada’s Tokyo epicenter store, which they also designed. The production, whose premiere I’ll be attending on Tuesday, is previewed and explained by Jacques Herzog in this short video.