From Callas to Melania
Maria Callas indeed was far more than an opera diva, she was a trend setter, a fashion creator and a superb artist.
As the Private Callas exhibition opened in Milan this month the world attention switched from catwalks and the reality show-ready celebrities like the Kardashians to an epoch of elegance and style. Maria Callas indeed was far more than an opera diva, she was a trend setter, a fashion creator and a superb artist. She was a woman who epitomized the talent; lifestyle and solitude of any star any time. She defined an epoch through her artistic creations and shaped fashion through her personal approach to clothing.
Extraordinary cuts, fine but off stream materials and above all spectacular designs stressed femininity without propelling or suppressing sexuality. Her choice of clothes and home décor reminded many of Renaissance Verona. Rich details and accessories over nude walls that carried centuries of history. And while her public life was full of controversy, her private life was lonely and subdued. Her clothes reflected the inner sadness of a woman whose creative talent crashes with the love of her life.
This crash will be visible in Milan as her rich clothing collection is on display at Via Durini. Also, visible will be Elvira Leonardi Bouyeure’s (known as Biki) talent that accounted for Callas transformation from a naïve opera singer into a sophisticated jet-setting star. Biki, a granddaughter of Puccini, was able to turn into a style the formula resulting from mixing inner sadness with the glitter of fame. The result was subdued glitz.
To many visitors, the collection brings memories of Jackie Kennedy, Callas rival in the conquest of Onassis’ heart. But it also reminds viewers of the immortality of simplicity in design and creation. Clean cuts, straight lines, asymmetrical skirts and capes apprehended in soft and body shaping fabrics spoke of refinement and grace. But they also heralded the inner sadness of solitude.
That solitude is also present in the face of Melania Trump whose approach to fashion resembles that of Callas. But in Melania’s case motherhood introduced a ray of tenderness that is clearly reflected in her choice of colors. A pastel palette that highlights her youth and beauty and her lack of psychological convolution. In short, Melania comes through as an angel while Callas came through as a star. But both share a capacity to communicate their inner selves through their outfits that renders them fashion icons of their respective times.