Ever feel a pang of nostalgia for the good old days when people dressed for the opera? For a quick cure, here’s a link you should keep bookmarked. It’s the “Look Book” section of New York magazine, featuring photos of some of the attendees of the opening night at the Met.

By the looks of these opera buffs, La Cieca concludes that nothing has changed very much since the Edward Johnson era . In fact, La Cieca can think of only one important difference between then and now. Back in 1942, Mrs. George Washington Kavanaugh might quaff a slipper of Champagne in the Met’s foyer, and an enterprising columnist like Lucius Beebe might entice Mrs. K into describing her garniture (“ermine, a diamond tiara, a diamond & emerald necklace & pendant, diamond earrings, eleven diamond bracelets” — Time).

These days, everybody has an freaking Oscar acceptance speech ready to rattle off: “My little bag is vintage from Florence, my jewels are from an Arizona designer called Jean Stetson. The shoes I’m wearing are from Tanino Crisci, one of the most elite Italian designers . . . . I got my hair done by a very lovely lady. She’s quite excellent, I think. The name of the company is Gil Ferrer, and they’re located on East 74th Street. My exceptional hairdresser is called Paige . . . . This fabric would probably cost $500 a yard these days. To me, fashion is an art form, just like opera.”

According to that Time piece, the top price for an Orchestra seat in 1942 was $5.00; Family Circle cost a buck. So that’s something else that’s changed.


3 Responses to “Nostalgia”

  1. meretrice i. d'oscena Says:

    OK, they should have directly asked that Oscar de la Renta gown, “Who is that woman you are wearing tonight?”

    I was so sure that I would see Kathleen Battle popping out of the top that I was adjusting the color settings on my monitor.
    It’s a Battle dress, but then, she would have added a fuschia stole, and the shoes would have been sparkly silver stacked 6-inch platforms from the KISS Love Gun Tour of 1978.

    The beauty of a gown like that is that if madame is indisposed, she can sweep onto the platform wearing it, honk her way through the worst ‘Exsultate’ in memory, and no one notices because they are talking about the dress.

  2. Fashion is an art form, like opera, which should not be attempted by the unschooled. Fashion, Art, the Muses, a bunch of bitches typically at war with each other but similing brilliantly when candidly photographed together for page 6.

  3. Why is it photographers insist on aiming up at the subject? It is never flattering and one wonders if it is done purposely.

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