The Vienna Philharmonic will be wearing Vivienne Westwood

The Vienna Philharmonic will be wearing Vivienne Westwood


norman lebrecht

December 30, 2013

vivienne westwood

Not the orchestra (pace the publicity headline). The ballet segment in the New Year’s Day concert is being kitted out in L0ndon. More pics here.

The collaboration was engineered by Andreas Kronthaler, the designer’s Austrian husband and creative director. He said: ”I feel honoured that we were asked to design the costumes for the New Year’s concert ballet, as it holds such tradition for me. I grew up watching [it] every year, and it’s become part of my Christmas memories.”


  • Why do people assume that fashion designers are qualified to design stage costumes?

  • Tommy says:

    Jeffrey, why do they need to be ‘qualified’? And why SHOULDN’T fashion designers design stage costumes?

  • Because there’s more to designing stage costumes than just making pretty clothing. There’s color symbolism, for one thing, which is not part of fashion design, and in ballet, especially, there’s the way the fabric moves on the body, as well as the technical issue posed by the fact that stage costumes get more physical stress than conventional clothing.

    • Tommy says:

      Yes, Jeffrey, I can’t imagine they have anyone in the ballet company who can collaborate on such things. And I’m sure the designers are really thick and never take anything into account when designing the costumes for ballet. They probably have no idea about colour symbolism, or ever discuss such things with the director; I can’t imagine they ever remotely think about how fabric moves on the body, or the physical stress on the clothing. If only they knew their profession! If only they were as aware of the profession as you!

      Hopefully they read this blog and will learn something. Because, of course, ballet only ever succeeds when the new is ignored.

  • Mara Miller says:

    VW famously incorporate social justice issues in their branding. It’s disappointing that in this case the company are collaborating with this notoriously sexist organisation.

    • Anon says:

      In what way do you think the ballet, who VW has designed for, are “notoriously sexist”?

      (The costumes are designed for the ballet dancers performing at the New Year’s Day concert. The photos above the article suggest there to be five female dancers and fine male dancers, which seems about as equal as you could wish for.)

      • Mara Miller says:

        Anon, the Vienna Philharmonic has always been rigidly reluctant to hire female musicians. A brief perusal of posts on Slipped Disk will offer clues re this. (It’s a shame the dance co. doesn’t also boycott.)

        • Anon says:

          Yes, Mara, but the costumes aren’t being designed for the VPO. It seems a bit far-fetched to expect VW to turn down a commission for the ballet, who are not a “notoriously sexist organisation” as far as I know, on the grounds of a general Vienna-based link.

          Your original assertion that the designs are for the VPO is incorrect.

      • Mara Miller says:

        I mean Disc not Disk, sorry Mr Lebrecht.

    • T G Jolley says:

      A London based designer exploiting tartan designs of Scotland for her own benefit?