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Fashion and Costume Design (Vol. 1)

A couple of intriguing questions arise when we contemplate fashion and costume design. Is fashion an art form unto itself? What is the role of costume design within collaborative art forms where it plays such an important role — in drama, film, ballet and opera? In this issue of TMD we will take a look at the influential role of the costume designer and the ever-contentious question of fashion as art.

Fashion in the Arts: A Powerful Collaboration of Creative Minds

At curtain call for opening night of The Pearl Fishers at Pittsburgh Opera on Saturday, November 12, 2011, a striking figure with bright magenta hair was welcomed onto the stage by a roaring applause. The figure was Zandra Rhodes, costume designer. The curtain call reflected an aspect of a number of collaborative arts that we may overlook, and unfortunately so. Opera — like ballet, drama, and film — is a venture of both sound and sight, one involving a rich collaboration of composer, singer, musician, set designer, and yes, costume designer. It is interesting to note that in the case of The Pearl Fishers, the most widely know star was Rhodes. She brought much needed appeal to this more traditional art form, one always yearning for audiences, and this fact suggests a potentially lucrative partnership between fashion and art that is perhaps not capitalized upon enough by arts managers.

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