I'm a big believer that we should always look to the past and understand the history of a place, an art, a style... because the reality is that there is no modernity without the past, right? So today's story begins in the 1920's, years after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed the city's first opera house. On November 4th, 1929, today's "set" was built - The Civic Opera House, in art deco style architecture. In 1941, legendary producer Orson Welles used our Civic for his Academy award-winning film Citizen Kane. In 1954, Lyric Opera formed... and began it's first season with Norma, starring one of the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century and a figure very dear to my heart, Maria Callas. My father passed away a few months ago, and his passion for the arts was deeply instilled in me. He and I shared moments listening to Maria with tears in our eyes. So you can imagine just how special Lyric Opera is to me, with a history of the world's finest artists and legendary performances.
Stepping into Civic's grand lobby, for Opening Night of The Merry Widow, felt as though it could have been Lyric's first exciting season of 1954. They continue to carry on the traditions of old, and allow us to live the beauty of the opera as it once was. The Merry Widow boasts Broadway director Susan Stroman leading a star-studded cast and 6-time Tony award winning costume designer William Ivey Long, who I had the pleasure of meeting. He shared his inspirations for this production, and we were able to see his elaborate 19th century inspired gowns in all their intricate detail. The show did not disappoint... it was a visually stunning production with a lighthearted feel and joyful melodies.
Last but not least, the outfit... Of course I always take the classic route, and the glamour of a night at the opera is half the fun! I received comments throughout the evening that I looked like a combination of Marilyn Monroe, Dita, Diana Dors, and even that I matched the opulence of The Merry Widow gowns. Diana Dors was actually my hair inspiration, as I wanted to create the perfect 50's high glamour version of the pageboy. I wore a gown courtesy of Belle Vie Couture, Oak Street's elite bridal boutique, which boasts only the finest selection of elegant frocks. From Vivienne Westwood to Valentino, stylish ladies and brides alike will find an exquisite selection for any black tie soiree. I couldn't resist the high glamour of this classic floorswept halter, with a slight mermaid/trumpet design and in the most beautiful shade of glacier blue.
Matching my timeless aesthetic, is an intensely striking set by iconic Italian jeweler, Buccellati. Mario Buccellati opened his first jewelry boutique in Milan in 1919, and his first US store in New York in 1951. Buccellati's history and extravagant designs couldn't match my own vision more perfectly, and I had the amazing pleasure of visiting their Chicago Oak Street location. The walls of their showroom are actually extremely rare 17th century Venetian antiques, originally from an Italian apothecary! For my night at the opera, I went with a handmade white Rete Pearl Choker Necklace, strewn with yellow gold and hand engraved in Milan. The set is accompanied by large Rete Pearl Pendant Earrings designed with 24 cultured pearls suspended from a hand-carved 18k yellow and white gold lattice. Topping it off, is the matching Rete 18k Gold & Pearl woven link bracelet.
The Merry Widow is playing now through December 13, and it is the perfect holiday show with all of it's glamour and sparkle! All show and outfit details are here:
The Merry Widow with Lyric Opera, playing through December 13th
Calendar and Ticket Information HERE
Lyric Opera on Facebook
Gown :: Belle Vie Couture
34 E Oak Street, Chicago
Jewelry :: Buccellati
62 E Oak St, Chicago