Anyone could be forgiven for thinking that Vivienne Westwood’s decadent fashion designs, steeped in history and opulence are so wonderfully theatrical they are fit for the stage. Well, this March the Tygyeong International Music Festival presents the Semele Walk Opera, the cast of which are dressed in full Vivienne Westwood Couture!
Directed by Ludger Engels and conducted by Sweden’s Olof Boman, the Semele Walk Opera (written by Georg Friedrich Handel in 1744) is a story of self destruction and excess. Based on Greek mythology, Semele is obsessed with the desire for the unlimited experience and immortality, and is tricked into believing that the God Jupiter is able to grant everlasting life. On begging Jupiter to appear in his true form, Semele burns in his powerful flames. This narrative represents today’s society and the destruction of climate change that we are facing, which Westwood reflects in each couture costume – all taken from the 2011 Gold Label collection ‘Get A Life’.
Conducted on a white catwalk, the audience sit in traverse to represent rows at any normal fashion show. Emblazoned in full Westwood couture, models strut between the performers as they stalk the entire length of the runway, creating a show stopping spectacle of pure fashion fascination. Inspired by the styling of the late Marie Antoinette, with dramatic hair and make up imitations, the costumes are frenzied, punk inspired and extravagantly executed. Jupiter (sung by Armin Gramer) in dressed in a sequin kilt and diamond studded socks to dazzle in his role as the King of the Gods.
Each extreme look and billowing gown represents the eccentricity of the Opera. Featuring baroque music clashing with a contemporary designer-led aesthetic, the Semele Walk Opera showcases how a modern and artistic take on a classic play can create instant powerful appeal.
Find out more over at Vivienne Westwood’s youtube channel: