Vivienne Westwood has designed new evening jackets to be worn in performances by members of the Monteverdi Choir & Orchestra in what a press release calls the bringing together of “two iconic British artistic institutions with truly international influence.”
Westwood, working with designer husband Andrea Kronthaler, have named their design “The Wrap,” with each couture jacket tailor made for a singer of the acclaimed choir. Made in grey silk-cotton mix, each jacket “was developed for comfort,” but without sacrificing unique Westwood features; in this case, an asymmetrical silhouette created with a wraparound that gives the jackets their name. In the uniform of the choir each jacket is complemented by floorlength black skirts. The full array of designs, plus Westwood’s sketches for the jackets, can be seen in our accompanying slideshow here.
In a statement, Westwood said of the choir, “I went to a church school so we did a lot of singing when we were little – and I loved it. The Monteverdi Choir is just incredible.” The designer first saw the choir perform at an event at Buckingham Palace in 2014, and since then accoridng to Westwood her and Kronthaler “have made a point of going to [their] concerts.” Discussing her process in designing these uniforms, Westwood continues, “Clothing draws attention to you all the time – it can act like a sublimation of your soul. You can constantly draw people in as you work with your clothes. And what’s more these Monteverdi singers are acting as they sing, so the clothes are part of their whole performance.”
This commission is the latest in a series of collaborations between Westwood and British institutions. In 2008 she designed the academic dress for university King’s College London, looking back into early academic dress and eschewing mortar boards for wide, monastic hood-lie drapes. In 2013, she was responsible for a rebrand campaign for the English National Ballet which featured its ballerinas in the designer’s striking looks.