Runway to Reality to Imaginary…and back again!
The costumes of MTC’s Everybody Drinks The Same Water
Bee-keeper hat on Alexander McQueen runway
Tara Solomon in Alexander McQueen Bee-Keeper's Hat
Miami Theater Center’s artistic director, Stephanie Ansin, called me immediately following the publication of my column’s “most stylish” picks of the Vizcayan Museum & Gardens annual Hat Luncheon to tell me she had seen the photo of style diva Tara Solomon’s Hat - not just any hat, but the “Bee-Keeper’s Chapeau” from the Alexander McQueen Runway Collection a few years back.
That’s it! The Bee-keepers’ Hat is the exact shape we were thinking of for the queen's formal headdress in our upcoming production EVERYBODY DRINKS THE SAME WATER!
I was fortunate to drop in on the final costume fitting for Miami Theater Center’s fantastic period production set in a time when Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived and collaborated together. Ansin, who co-wrote and directed the show, and co-writer/costume and set designer Fernando Calzadilla garnered a great deal of research into the era and site/backdrop, which is Cordoba Spain following 500 years of Muslim rule. The duo, being exacting, set the date as June 1236.
The designers in any period piece must bring to their work a perceptive understanding of the history and business of fashion (past and present), and Calzadilla certainly shone in this respect.
He shared with us his creative process. “Emphasis on the design in this production is the costumes," he said. "I attempted to be historically accurate in terms of silhouette and not necessarily in terms of the color."
He credits the late great iconic designer Alexander McQueen and the last season of Dolce & Gabbana (referred in fashion circles as their “Italian Widow” collection) as his leading inspiration for the queen’s wardrobe.
In bringing the character of the queen to realization onstage, Calzadilla did not simply design the wardrobe, but in clothing her character (a noble combination of Diana Rigg in this season’s Games of Thrones and Hillary Clinton) he brought Queen Berenguela richly and fully to life.
The Miami Theater Center outline of Everybody Drinks the Same Water promises “you get an engaging look at the past that teaches powerful lessons about the present." After having seen the final production firsthand, I would presume an understanding of the concept of inspiration is among the powerful lessons grasped.