Saturday 10 December 2016

Dame Vivienne Westwood gives makeover to Monteverdi Choir women

Published 27/07/2016 | 00:06

Women of the Monteverdi Choir wear new jackets designed by Dame Vivienne Westwood and Andreas Kronthaler at Henry Wood Hall in London
Women of the Monteverdi Choir wear new jackets designed by Dame Vivienne Westwood and Andreas Kronthaler at Henry Wood Hall in London

Dame Vivienne Westwood is famous for her daring fashions but has now turned her attention to designing evening jackets for the women of the Monteverdi Choir.

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The Wrap jacket, designed by the British fashionista and her husband Andreas Kronthaler, is made of grey silk-cotton mix with Dame Vivienne's famous asymmetric detail.

Each jacket has been tailored specifically for every performer to wear at future concerts.

The couple were first introduced to the choir by the Prince of Wales, the group's royal patron, at an event at Buckingham Palace.

Dame Vivienne' s fashion label has a history of collaborating with the arts, having launched a campaign with the English National Ballet in 2013 and interpreting Handel at a Baroque-Punk fashion show in 2012.

Dame Vivienne and Kronthaler said: "Since we first heard them perform, we have made a point of going to concerts by the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras.

"For us their music-making is different, the sound is brighter and clearer, the music lifts you. It's bliss to hear them, a tremendous experience.

They added: "We have been talking for a while about making outfits for the choir, so we're really happy it's finally worked out."

The choir's next major project will be a tour in 2017 to celebrate the 450th Anniversary of their namesake composer, Claudio Monteverdi.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner, artistic director and conductor of the Monteverdi Choir, said: "There is an element of ritual to each concert performance, and dress and presentation have always been very important to us. It is important that the choir's uniform is not only striking, but practical: it needs to be able to withstand long journeys in crammed suitcases and to look smart in venues which at times can be either freezing cold or uncomfortably hot.

"Having attended quite a few of our concerts recently, Vivienne and Andreas came up with a beautiful design which is not only incredibly stylish and distinctive, but also eminently sensitive to the singers' practical needs.

"I am particularly proud of this new association and extremely grateful to Vivienne and Andreas for this gift. The Monteverdi Choir and Vivienne Westwood practically 'grew up' together: they belong in that group of British institutions which continually challenge expectations and conventions. I can't wait to see the new jackets on stage at our concerts this summer."

Dame Vivienne added: "I went to a church school so we did a lot of singing when we were little - and I loved it. The Monteverdi Choir is just incredible. They have a sensual purity and each voice has its own essence. The rhythms of Baroque music, with the melodies swimming on top, just take you up into the clouds.

"A design is made of hundreds of decisions - how you stitch something, which button to use, everything. What I'm really delighted about is that these costumes work for every individual lady in the choir but they also all work together as a whole.

"Clothing draws attention to you all the time - it can act like a sublimation of your soul. You can constantly draw people in as you work with your clothes. And what's more these Monteverdi singers are acting as they sing, so the clothes are part of their whole performance."

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