By Eva Medoff, March 25th, 2010
Tell the average style-minded person that Verdi’s “Attila” premiered at the Metropolitan Opera last month, and they’d probably respond with a blank stare. But mention that Miuccia Prada happened to design the costumes—and that the relatively unknown opera stunned the likes of the New York Times with its powerful performances and imagery—and you might get a slightly different response.
The opera (which closes on March 27th, so don’t miss your chance) tells the story of Attila, king of the Huns, who invaded Italy in the fifth century with a mind for destruction and, what do you know, ended up falling in love with a warrior princess. The set for this post-Roman time period was designed by Herzog and de Meuron, the acclaimed architects of the Beijing Olympic stadium.
By tapping Prada for the costume design, director Pierre Audi noted, he was going for a less literal, higher-minded style rather than a pure period spectacle. Prada avoided the pageantry with her simple design aesthetic, allowing viewers to focus more on the drama of the performances rather than the drama of the clothes. The result, we hear, is plenty of distressed denim, leather and fur—all in all, not much of a departure from the designer’s repertoire. Besides, after “300,” Showtime’s “Spartacus” and the upcoming “Clash of the Titans,” we’d say Prada’s just keeping up with the times.