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.