More: To Tux or Not? Concert Attire Redesign Focuses on Musicians’ Comfort - WQXR
“New” concert fashion, or same old same old?
Sleek leather and decorative lace for women. Breathable mesh and stretchy wool for men. These were the calling cards of new orchestral garments unveiled Sunday evening in a concert and runway show at Parsons The New School for Design.
The outfits are the product of a year-long project between Parsons, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Mannes College the New School for Music, intended to create new concepts for fashionable orchestra attire.
The project, which involved students in the Parsons’ fashion and design technology programs, started with a challenge from Marin Alsop, the music director of the Baltimore Symphony: to envision how symphony orchestras can project a fresher, more contemporary image, and to make garments better suited to the physicality of performance. The eventual goal: to outfit the musicians of the Baltimore Symphony.
Sunday’s concert also underscored some of the challenges when it comes to rethinking traditional attire, not just because it is so familiar to audiences, but also because it raises questions of what follows next.
The evening featured three chamber music performances, ending with a Mannes string quintet wearing the students’ prototypes. On the surface, the men’s tuxes were nearly indistinguishable from the standard white tie and tails now seen on most orchestra stages. One had a fitted, tailored look; another was slightly more modern and boxy. Two women quartet members wore variations on traditional full-length evening gowns, albeit with more modern fabric and tailoring.
In an interview after the concert, Alsop said the designs ranged from the “pretty far out” to the “almost too traditional.” But she said the project has helped to generate discussion. “This is a long-range idea to re-conceptualize and rethink what’s been tradition for two or three hundred years,” Alsop said.
Read more at WQXR.
Here is my take on symphony orchestra attire: TUXES FOR EVERYONE!!
I know I know, who goes to a symphony concert to look at the musicians? But I was watching a performance of the Israel Philharmonic on YouTube and while all the male musicians were identical in their tuxes, the females were all “something black” which included different styles of necklines, sheer sleeves, not sheer sleeves, and it just kind of messed up the look of the orchestra.
There really should be a “tuxedo for women musicians” for these events. It’s not a prom or a cocktail party where every girl has to wear something different.
In fact I would not mind if they made “women’s tuxedos” for mother-of-the-bride/groom.