Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Gown of your Choice?

Like most of you, I await tonight's fashion parade down the red carpet with much anticipation. It must be a heady day for the Academy Award nominees as they get ready to look their best, especially for the lucky ones wearing custom designed gowns.

David McCaffrey and Wallis Guinta
 Photo by MIV Photography, 2011.

Being a huge fan of formal wear myself (was I born in the wrong century?), I have to say that I think that having a gown designed for me would be the ultimate fantasy.  But for Wallis Giunta, a mezzo-soprano from the Canadian Opera Company, custom designed gowns are just another part of her job. This artist, who has charmed critics with her "creamy voice and charismatic stage presence" was invited to join the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and will make her NYC recital debut in March in a program titled Spanish Gold: Songs of the Iberian Peninsula. She will be wearing a gown  of "flame coloured raw silk with black ruffles in the back, and an off-the-shoulder bustier top" designed by noted Canadian designer McCaffrey Haute Couture.

This collaboration between artist and designer was forged last October when McCaffrey offered to loan Giunta dresses for her upcoming recitals. Soon thereafter, Giunta sang with indie rock celebrities Broken Social Scene at the Canadian Opera Company's fundraising gala Operanation VII while wearing a voluminous white wedding gown for the event's Cinderella theme. Their next collaboration came in December when Guinta wore a 1940s silhouette gown in green for her recital for the Governor General in Ottawa. In between recitals and the upcoming premiere of the Robert Lepage-directed production of The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, Wallis Giunta will be featured modelling David McCaffrey's gowns in print and online ads.

Who would you wear if you could chose any designer to create a gown for you?