Opera and fashion are intrinsically linked. From the glamorous costumes that divas wearing on stage to the gowns and slick clothing they showcase on days off or at gala, there is a lot to see. Moreover, every reigning diva has her own style that makes for a never-ending treasure trove for fans.
In 2013 Lady Maxwell founded Operafashion, a blog dedicated to following the reigning divas and their fashion sense. Over the years, the blog has offered opera lovers a behind the scenes look at what singers wear and in some instances has shared pictures provided by the divas.
OperaWire had a chance to speak to Lady Maxwell about her love for opera and the reasons behind creating this beloved blog.
OperaWire: Where did you get the inspiration to create a blog dedicated to opera and fashion?
Lady Maxwell: The Internet is filled with websites and blogs focusing on what celebs wear, but I realized there was nothing about the style of opera divas. I thought it was a shame, because our divas are as loved and appreciated as other celebs; their audience is only smaller.
OW: What is your connection to opera and what was your first passion, fashion or opera?
LM: I got the love for opera from my father, a (now retired) Math professor who is a great fan of Wagner and Verdi. I remember he always listened to opera in his free time. Music was always there, in the background. The love for fashion came from some family friends who owned an atelier near our house. When I was a little girl, I used to look at their collections and read Vogue and other glossy magazines. I guess the love for opera and fashion came at the same time.
OW: How do you think fashion enhances the experience of opera goers?
LM: Costumes have always been a key element in opera productions, so much that great costume designers have really become famous. On the other hand, as a tradition, ladies who attend opera performances dress at their best; going to the opera is a glamorous experience! Fashion is an art which has always had a key role in the opera tradition throughout the centuries.
OW: How do you find out what these singers are wearing?
LM: Opera singers have really supported “Operafashion” since day 1. When I ask them for information, they are always glad to help me. Help can come from the PR’s of fashion designers, too. In any case, my personal knowledge of the latest collections is the starting point.
OW: Who are some of your favorite fashion designers and what divas do you most like to follow?
LM: Among the fashion designers of the past, I have loved Valentino Garavani since when I was a child because his creations were amazingly elegant, pure perfections. It is impossible to choose among contemporary designers. I guess it depends on the collections. Opera divas… I love them all: they are my heroines.
OW: What is the most important thing when maintaining a blog about opera and how do you maintain an interaction with your followers?
LM: The most important thing is following opera singers closely, and publishing posts as quickly as possible, especially on Facebook and Twitter: fans really want to feel part of the event I am writing about. I am happy when followers comment on Facebook posts or send emails, thus giving feedback on one particular outfit or on how I wrote a post. I rarely answer comments but I think they are very important to stay in tune with the needs and demands of my readers.
OW: What is your favorite part of being an opera fashion blogger?
LM: From a strictly technical point of view, the most interesting part is identifying what singers wear and describing their outfits. From a personal point of view, I am very happy when I receive compliments and when singers thank me: this fully repays me for the efforts I put in this blog.