Riccardo Tisci’s relationship with Marina Abramović has reached operatic heights. The chief creative officer of Burberry unveiled the costume designs for 7 Deaths of Maria Callas, the celebrated performance artist’s latest showcase, which will premiere at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Germany—a project that took decades to come to life.
“I have wanted to make 7 Deaths for 30 years,” Abramović said in a statement. “To die from a broken heart is the thread [that] draws together each opera in a project, which is centered around love and its forms, as much as my relationship with Riccardo. When the opportunity for this project started to become real, there was no other team I wanted to work with: Riccardo had to make all the costumes because we are love, he is fashion and I am art, two worlds that cross over in a creative dialogue of love, respect and freedom.”
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The show reinterprets the most famous characters that Maria Callas—the American-born Greek soprano—performed throughout her illustrious career. It includes scenes from Tosca, Norma, La Traviata, Carmen, Otello, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Madama Butterfly, and will feature a number of extravagant looks designed by Tisci that reflect each tragic heroine, but through a modern lens.
For example, the costume for Carmen consists of a floor-length red gown that is paired with a crepe Toledo jacket and leather brogues—a look that blends both the wanton ways of the titular character and the traditional garb of one of her paramours, toreador Escamillo.
Indeed, mixing masculine and feminine styles seamlessly is one of Tisci’s calling cards. The Italian designer has attracted legions of fans for his ability to construct garments that blur gender tropes and tell stories with their details. From his combination of prints to the way he plays with silhouettes to the placement of appliqués, he has brought a dramatic, theatrical flair to Burberry. It is an aesthetic, to be sure, that is perfectly suited for the opera stage.
“I am a romantic dreamer at my core, so this was a very easy project to get involved with,” said Tisci in a statement. “The subject is one of love in all its forms, from the light to the dark. Marina is one of my great personal loves, and I feel privileged to call her my friend and my family.”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.
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