Raffaella Curiel, The Queen of Fashion protagonist at La Scala Theatre Exhibition : “In the stages of the Scala-Milanese stories” by Maria Zota & Nick Zonna

Raffaella Curiel, The Queen of Fashion protagonist at La Scala Theatre Exhibition : ”In the stages of the Scala-Milanese stories”

Recently I had the opportunity to be invited in one incredible show : «Nei palchi della Scala-storie milanese».

The translation of the title, in italian is : “Inside, step by step, in Scala Theatre milanese stories”.

The exhibition tells more than a century of Milanese life and music through the stories of visitors to the historic theatre.

It also exposed the clothes made by Italian designers .

First of all I have to tell you something about this amazing theatre.

The “Teatro alla Scala” was founded, under the auspices of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, to replace the Royal Ducal Theatre, which was destroyed by fire on 26 February 1776 and had until then been the home of opera in Milan. The cost of building the new theatre was borne by the owners of the boxes at the Ducal, in exchange for possession of the land on which stood the church of Santa Maria alla Scala (hence the name) and for renewed ownership of their boxes. Designed by the great neoclassical architect Giuseppe Piermarini, La Scala opened on 3 August 1778 with Antonio Salieri’s opera “L’Europa riconosciuta”, to a libretto by Mattia Verazi.

But when you talk about “Teatro alla Scala” you have to know also what Tosca is.

Do not worry, everything you need to know about Puccini’s Tosca is here.

What is the story?

Tosca is a political thriller, set in Rome in June 1800 (during the Napoleonic wars and a time of great political unrest). The action takes place over less than 24 hours, making it an intense experience!

The plot centres around three main characters – Rome’s diva Floria Tosca, her lover Mario Cavaradossi(a painter and republican) and the corrupt Chief of Police, Baron Scarpia. Scarpia has long lusted after Tosca, and when he suspects Cavaradossi of assisting an escaped political prisoner, seizes the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. He will manipulate Tosca into revealing the prisoner’s hiding place and Cavaradossi’s involvement, and have her for himself.

When Cavaradossi is captured, Scarpia offers Tosca a horrific bargain – she must give herself to Scarpia, or her lover is killed… what will she choose, and who will survive?

I was very happy when I discovered that the exhibitionIn the stages of the Scala-Milanese stories”, curated by Pier Luigi Pizzi, opened its doors to the public .

 The exhibition tells, more than a century of Milanese theater history, celebrating the stories of the regulars of the Teatro alla Scala.

The history of the great Milanese families is then retraced, from the Trivulzio to the Litta, from the Belgiojoso to the Visconti.

On the first floor, in fact, the exhibition opens with the double photographic representation of the evening gown dedicated by Raffaella Curiel ,of which her family has worn most of the guests since the 1950s.

Born in 1943 near Trieste, Raffaella Curiel had fashion in her blood.

 Following her mother’s footsteps, Raffaella Curiel trained in the family atelier as well as in the Pierre Balmain French school, and in 1965 presented her first pret-à-porter collection in New York for Bergdorf Goodman.

The exhibition also involves the visitor with the faces of Eugenio Montale, Carla Fracci and Valentina Cortese, Wally and Arturo Toscanini, Anna Crespi, Vittoria Crespi Morbio, Nandi Ostali and Liliana Segre. (All rights reserved)

Now I wrote some personal thought.

I am going to start saying that I love my job and that it brings me great honor to be around artists like Raffaella Curiel.

We decided to do a shooting and to set an interview in one of the most elegant and historical places , Teatro La Scala , where I was lucky enough to be wearing one of the most beautiful and special dresses Curiel ever made.

The central piece was  a sculpture made for Raffaella Curiel by Mario Rosello in the 80’s , the main reason being that the Curiel , which is a true artist and genius of Alta Moda in Italy and not only, was the first designer ever to be combining art and fashion.

I also had the pleasure to see the wall representing the most iconic ladies in the history wearing the greatest designers, ladies like: Giovanna Lomazzi, Anna Majani , Eletta Polvani , Nandi Ostali , Anna Casati Stampa di Soncino , Coco Sepe Invernizzi , Raffaela Curiel , Adriana Besozzi , Gioia Marchi , Elizabeth Taylor , Valentina Cortese , Claire De Dierieux , Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan, Anna Cicogna, Ina Sotis , Valeria Moriconi , Enrica Invernizzi , Gigliola Curiel , Silvana Pampanini , Evelina Levi Broglio Shapira, Giovanna Bergonzoni Borletti Dell’Acqua , Marika Carniti Bollea, and my personal favorite one: Princess Grace of Monaco .

The elegant ladies who crowd the walls of this room , all in evening dresses for the season opening of December 7th , wore gown designed by great names of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s , names such as Curiel , Valentino and Ungaro.

Pier Luigi Pizzi , the curator of the exhibition , called this wall a “fourth estate of the ladies”.

In this magical place, Teatro La Scala, there is also an exhibition of some of the most iconic dresses created and worn by names like:

GIGLIOLA CURIEL ,worn by Evelina Levi Broglio Shapira in 1965 , the dress being made with velvet , pearls , canes and rhinestones.

SARTORIA DRAGONI-VENEZIA, had 3 dresses exposed , all 3 worn by Nandi Ostali in 1957. The dress was made of silk satin and chiffon, embroided with beads and canes. The second dress was worn in 1958 and it was made of macramé lace and cape in taffeta silk. The 3rd one worn also in 1958 , made of silk tulle with rhinestones.

YVES SAINT LAURENT , worn by Lina Sotis in the 70’s. The dress was made of velours and silk crèpe.

Finally,I must say that I asked the designer Gigliola Curiel an opinion about the way of dressing is evolving when you go to the theatre .

She said : ” You have to preserve traditions and going to a social event dressed like going shopping, as many people do today, it is not the best of Bon Ton … I find that elegance is an essential point , it is not a value to lose; the goal is to be elegant wearing a dress with attention to details, which becomes an important sign of respect for the work that will be seen. This is the message to give to the new generations.”

Such an inspiring woman.

Author: Maria Zota 



Ph. © Nick Zonna 


Photographer Press Editor-Media Relation 

Mail: [email protected]

Twitter: @nickzonnaphoto

Raffaella Curiel, The Queen of Fashion protagonist at La Scala Theatre Exhibition : “In the stages of the Scala-Milanese stories” by Maria Zota & Nick Zonna


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