One of the most frequently asked questions of a designer is: where do you get your ideas? Most of the people asking are not artistes, but appreciate and marvel at the things designers do.
Part of "The Met Opera Collection: The Divas", that we did for The Met Opera Shop came from the intense performances on that huge, vast, and impressive stage. The voices that we are privileged to hear interpret roles after role each season, as Mr. Gelb forges a new world of opera lend themselves to dramatic inspiration. The new production of "Carmen", with Roberto Alagna, quintessential Don Jose , and the best Carmen in the opera world, Elina Garanca, influenced the design of the Ellen Christine fascinator in blood red, and black. The headpieces drip in the way the gown in the death scene falls from Carmen's body as she lay dying.
Armida, all pinks and poppy red, gave us the idea for the bandeaux we made for the collection: petals, floating with sprigs of ostrich, sit lightly on the head, as lightly as the spells of the sorceress, as sung by the fabulous Renee Fleming.
The crown of the collection, made just for the launch party, is the "Armida". It's a huge picture hat, covered in more than 300 silk blossoms. The flowers are made by Schmalberg here in NYC, who also did the flowers for the set of Armida. We used the same petal formation, and the same shades of pink and red from the costume and set design, for this hat. The surprise is that it was inspired by a photo that Solange Van de Vyvre, from Belgium, shared with us . The Floralies, a world famous event in her home town of Ghent, takes place every 5 years or so. The installations at this show are made completely with plant materials and flowers. Our Armida hat was inspired by a gorgeous shot that Solange sent us.
Inspiration is all around us: see the magic, and art.
Photograph : Sandy Ramirez