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The dress code at La Scala: here’s how you should dress (and how not)

Dream of a night at La Scala in Milan? Saint Ambroeus is upon us, and with the heartfelt Milanese holiday, it is also approaching soiree worldly event par excellence of the city: the Prima della Scala. A hyper-exclusive event, which has always brought together under glass and sweetish curtains there crème de la crème of international stars between entertainment and fashion. And rivers of champagne.

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Among shining examples of refined elegance, long debuts, transparencies, feathers and sequins and even green bow ties (yes, green bow ties), the history of Milanese costume parades in the foyer of the world-famous theatre. Here are the most photographed (and discussed) dresses from the Premieres of the last ones


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If on the one hand to take part in any show in the La Scala calendar, the dress code he is now completely freed from any constraints, except the strict veto on tank tops and shorts. On the other hand, letting yourself be carried away by the thrill of getting dressed up is still part of theexperience. Nothing transcendental, but we still remember that the ghost of Maria Malibran is watching us.

It’s a completely different story to participate in the opening night of the season, which obviously requires a particularly elegant look, or at least one that doesn’t go unnoticed. Never. It is certainly no secret that on this occasion the theater foyer becomes a sort of unscheduled parade in which the highest chiccheria, of which the ’50s and ’60s are the maximum expression. Elsa Sebastiani’s sumptuous red carpet dresses, Erica Invernizzi’s collection of gloves, Pierre Balmain slicked with top hat and cane, Wally Toscanini’s veils, Sofia Loren and her blinding sets, Silvana Pampanini’s mammoth furs. The feathers on his head, on his wrists, everywhere.

Annie Girardot and Valentina Cortese at the Teatro Alla Scala in 1966.

Universal History Archive/Getty Images

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In short, a magnificent snapshot of bourgeoisie-bon vivant from other times, which still drives us crazy today. The magic formula for the opera-style? Sober colours, as long as the materials are precious (velvet, lace, silks galore) and free rein to the imagination for accessories and jewellery. The (fake) fur? Always a sore point, even if it’s vintage.

Maria Callas, her timeless style in 43 beautiful images

On the centenary of the birth of the legendary soprano, many tributes have been paid to her. We remember her innate elegance with a series of looks, characterized by class and refinement. A timeless style, incredibly chic even today


But to be inspired, just look at the Divine Maria Callas, and her indissoluble liaison with the Milanese theater on and off the stage. Premiere After premiere her iconic wardrobe of evening dresses, boleros, fur coats and turbans, created by her trusted Elvira Leonardi Bouyeure, aka Bikimakes her the most vocal chic of the work. «Punto Callas» also in style.

Maria Callas and Antonio Ghiringhelli, 1977.

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Among the so-called “Ladies of the Scala”, a fixed presence was the splendid duchess Emanuela Castelbarco d’Acquaronenephew of the very famous Arturo Toscanini, whose put shown off during the 1957 premiere. A long black dress wrapped in contrasting draping that winks at one of the first creations of the very young Yves Saint Laurent for Dior, known to most for Richard Avedon’s shot «Dovima with elephants» .

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Great fashion moment hosted here is the arrival of Elizabeth Taylor in 1972. And what’s more the occasion of reunion with Franco Zeffirelli, directing A masked ball by Verdi. The Hollywood diva, obviously escorted by Richard Burton, presents herself in a very glamorous way total white outfit who looks like the snow queen: a long dress that blends in with a showy cloak edged with white fox fur, from which emerges the avalanche of pearls around her neck. And a turban to top it all off.

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Who even made the highly rated white dress a real trademark à la Emily Dickinson is the legendary étoile Carla Fracci. Ranging between ivory, cream and cream shades, the soft oversized looks, often in empire style, have become an emblem of her natural look charm, graceful, extremely sophisticated. Always ethereal, floating in a dance step on flounces and delicate embroidery.

Carla Fracci, 2013.

Pietro S. D’Aprano/Getty Images

Between habitue most paparazzi of the event in the early 2000s, to give a lesson in coolness at the Scaliger audience Marta Marzotto is undoubtedly the queen of Milanese salons. A great supporter of the fur and hat combination, she pours out all her energy ethos in swarms of sequins, rhinestones and refined jewels. So radiant that the central chandelier of the theater raises the white flag.

Marta Marzotto.

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Marta Marzotto.

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And of course, for a dress code self-respecting, the shocks of anarchy cannot be missing to make the curtain tremble, like a “scandalous” Luisa Mancinelli in 1967 who opposed the train and showed up in a miniskirt. Or the daring performance «No fur” Of Marina Ripa di Meana bare-chested. Or even Mrs. Valentina Cortese who doesn’t care about stage superstitions and shows off one of her dramatic capes in the forbidden nuance of purple. Up to the cursed poet Patti Smith who does not give up her androgynous uniform total black: combat boots, jeans, jacket and the inseparable fedora. Touche!

Valentina Cortese, 2019.

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Patti Smith, 2019.

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Source: Vanity Fair

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