Dion Lee will design the new uniforms for the staff of the Sydney Opera House


OPERA ACT: Dion Lee will create a new staff wardrobe for Australia’s most celebrated building, the Sydney Opera House.

The collaboration, which will see Lee design uniforms for the World Heritage-listed building’s more than 600 employees, was unveiled in Sydney on Sunday, a few hours ahead of the Australian designer’s opening show for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia’s Resort 2018 collections showcase, which runs until May 19.

Lee’s show will be staged on the Sydney Opera House’s granite Monumental Steps, under its iconic white sails, which are covered in a geometric lattice of 1,056,006 white and cream glazed ceramic tiles.

It will be Lee’s fourth show at the building, which was designed by the late Danish architect Jørn Utzon and opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973.

In 2012, Utzon was also the inspiration for Lee’s International Woolmark Prize collection, which won the competition’s 2012-13 regional semifinals.

“The Opera House is a place that I’ve consistently looked to for creative inspiration,” said the now New York-based designer, who is known for his sculpted tailoring and intricate finishes. “I’m truly honored 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.”

Australia’s number-one tourist attraction and busiest performing arts center, the Sydney Opera House welcomes more than 8.2 million visitors a year on-site and hosts more than 2,000 performances attended by more than 1.5 million people.

Estimated by Deloitte in October 2013 to represent a total cultural and iconic value to Australia of 4.6 billion Australian dollars or $4.4 billion at October 2013 exchange, the building is about to embark on a 273 million Australian dollar, or $201 million, renovation.

Said Sydney Opera House chief executive officer Louise Herron, “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.”

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