The Sydney Opera House has announced that award-winning Australian designer Dion Lee will create a new wardrobe for Opera House staff, bringing his celebrated architectural and sculptural aesthetic to the World Heritage-listed masterpiece that has long inspired his work.
The collaboration was announced ahead of Lee’s opening show for 2017’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia on Sunday afternoon (14 May 2017), staged on the Opera House’s Monumental Steps.
The headlining show is Lee’s fourth at the Opera House, which has been a key influence throughout the 32-year old’s stellar career.
In 2010 he became the first designer to show in the Concert Hall Northern Foyer.
In 2013 he designed the acclaimed 2013 ‘Utzon’ collection as the first Australian representative at the prestigious International Woolmark Prize, which launched Lee internationally.
Over the next 12 months, Lee – who since 2010 has won the Woolmark Designer Award at Melbourne Fashion Week, Qantas Spirit of Youth Award and Best Designer awards for GQ and Marie Claire magazines – will design a range of uniforms for more than 600 employees, including front-of-house, box office and tour guide staff.
The announcement comes as the Opera House prepares to begin its first major Renewal project in the Joan Sutherland Theatre, part of a larger $273 million program of upgrades to prepare the Opera House for the next generation.
Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM said: “Renewal is transforming the Opera House for future generations of artists, audiences, visitors and, most immediately, for the hundreds of staff who make the magic happen on-and-off stage, 363 days a year.
“Dion is one of Australia’s brightest fashion stars whose work draws so beautifully on the sculptural elegance of Utzon’s masterpiece. It will be wonderful to work with him to create a new uniform collection for the people who bring the place to life.”
Dion Lee said: “I first visited the Opera House as a child to see theatre and contemporary dance and I have been a regular ever since. The Opera House is a place that I’ve consistently looked to for creative inspiration. I’m truly honoured to be working with the Opera House and its staff to design their new uniforms.
“Meeting the needs of the Opera House’s very diverse workforce and making sure the clothes combine elegance and utility, inspiration and practicality is critical. It is important that a cultural icon such as the Opera House projects an image that parallels the architecture of the building.”
Design and manufacturing of the collection is expected to take approximately 12 months, with Opera House staff closely involved throughout the process.