Zandra Rhodes had never heard of Aida, Giuseppe Verdi’s legendary opera, before she was asked to work on the production, but that didn’t stop her from accepting the gig. The designer, famous for her bright, printed caftans and colorful personality, says the ancient Egyptians’ were “so wonderfully designed” anyway, she knew hers would not be a difficult task. A new production by the English National Opera at London’s Young Vic Theater will open Nov. 8.
The flamboyant Rhodes created costumes and fashioned a set in blood red, orange, turquoise and aquamarine, using luminescent fabrics that can reflect light across the stage. She also featured ancient Egyptian geometric patterns. “Because I started off as a textile designer, I was able to make a bold statement using my vast repertoire of prints going back as far as the 1970s. Printing on cloth, I could find and be able to ‘Zandra-fi’ it.”