In 2019 Comme des Garcons designer Rei Kawakubo has created the costumes for the Vienna State Opera production of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. The complete list of outfits included 72 for the main chorus; yet more for three completely different choruses; and 62 principal costumes, taking the Orlando story even further than its original sweep from the Elizabethan age to the early 20th century.
In her interviews, Kawakubo likes to tell that Comme des Garcons is “nothing about the clothes”: “I have always started from zero, trying to make something that didn’t exist before,” she told Dezeen at the time. “The process of creation is done mostly by words and imagination.” The effect on stage was exceptional, from the rich colors and fabrics to the sense of theatricality melded with reality. It was a visual Mad Hatter’s tea party, but every garment, hair-do, and hat was imbued with historic references, often illusive but always striking.
“I was intrigued to find out that the very conservative, traditional and primarily repertory opera house had commissioned an avant-garde de woman composer to write an opera to celebrate their 150 year anniversary,” explained Kawakubo.
“Hair Creation” was provided by Rei’s long-term collaborator, Julien d’Ys, who produced wondrous hair-dos in all their curly craziness. Stephen Jones, milliner extraordinaire, was another element.
Julien d’Ys Hair Creations
Look also: Готьє для театру (Gaultier for the theater)