The Secret to Being a Diva – Mohican

(from our London correspondent Antonella Zangaro)

The muted world of the first divas, created by history, was formed from rare public performances and careers built in theaters. In the late 19th century, sepia photographs told stories of talent and escapism. London Fashion Museum, Victoria and Albert South Kensington, over five years of research, he has collected more than 250 items to capture the essence of divas born on stage, becoming queens of silent films and, finally, sparkling stars of the modern entertainment world. Exhibition ‘Diva‘ is like a love letter, it has photos, memories, stage clothes, videos and songs that change tune and intensity. Open until April 7, 2024, the exhibition seeks to return to its original meaning this term, which the English language did not translate from Italian, but which over time has slipped towards the most insatiable whim, into an unpleasant stardom that requires special attention. care. Diva told the V&A and the exhibition curator: Keith Bailey, a man of great talent who was able to create a unique and always recognizable image. Through this power, on many occasions she also fought for the establishment of women in a world where the rules were dictated only by men, and in this and other battles she became an inspiration to many.

It starts with Adeline Patty who in the UK was known as Queen Victoria (she who, along with Prince Consort Albert, created this museum). In 1883, the Oxford Dictionary first mentions her, borrowing the Italian term for a stunning singer and “prima donna”. But there was more to her: an entrepreneur in control of her career and her contracts in an era when such self-determination was unthinkable. In those same years, the star O. shone in the world. Eleonora Dusetormented by D’Annunzio, beloved by Charlie Chaplin and James Joyce. In 1885, in Rome, she founded her own theater troupe, where, as a stubborn diva, she played the roles of a star on the stage and a director behind the scenes. The position of power is emphasized and designer headphones delivered at the entrance mark the notes of “Casta Diva”.

Photograph of Theda Bara as Cleopatra for Cleopatra, 1917, directed by J. Gordon Edwards. ScreenProd / Photononstop/Alamy Stock Photo, Costume designed by Christian Dior worn by Vivien Leigh as Paola in Jean Giraudoux’s Duel of the Angels, Apollo Theatre, 1958 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Log change in progress Maria Callas and a luxurious dress, which was in 1952 at the Scala theater in Milan. There is also the last Tosca at the Royal Opera House in London in 1964 conducted by Franco Zeffirelli. There Divine recognized by the public, she shared the same suffering of women, betrayed and abandoned by great love, struggling with a voice bent by pain and a body with its forms to be contained. Maria Callas was able to reach a place on Olympus, sew a legend on herself, only to later experience the suffering of all the women of the world inside herself.

From theater to cinema, he is admired Lida Borelli, the first diva of the big screen (where she appeared in 1913), fashion and “Borellism”, a style that brought the languorous sensuality of the femme fatale to the stage. The salons of the London Museum to this day open their arms with magnificent special effects. Photography and cinema have multiplied and colored images, the goddesses of the entertainment world, walking along the red carpet, have become the object of constant attention and invasion. Their image is as iconographic as their talent.

Popularity won by fiery wings Tina Turner, an artist with very long legs and a stone body that made every scene vibrate. Among the V&A audience at the opening of the exhibition was also Bob Mackie, the designer, now in his eighties, who in 1977 designed for her this dress with flame-like wings.

Cher, Elton John and Diana Ross at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium Rock Awards, 1975; various locations; Mark Sullivan. Rock archive of the 70s. Photo: Mark Sullivan/Contour by Getty Images

Chervoice and exposure shine, he remembers looking up as he walked up to the wall dedicated to the video of Madonna singing, right next to Elton John. Feathers and sequins for the white dress that the baronet, friend of Lady Diana, wore in 1977 for his 50th birthday, inspired by Louis XIV. Among the divas there are more Freddie Mercury in tight jeans during the Queen tour in 1974. Nearby is a sheath with a little black dress. MarilynSugar – Monroe in Some Like It Hot. “Hollywood,” the actress said, “is a place where people pay thousands of dollars for a kiss and 50 cents for a soul.” Diva and again torment and loneliness.

The silk Valentino dress she wore Lady Gaga at the 2019 Golden Globes with Best Song Swallow, written with Mark Ronson for A Star Is Born, marks a change in era. This is a true diva of the 21st century who knows how to reinvent herself, guided by her great creativity and inspired by activism that rebels against convention.

Screenshot of Andy Warhol depicting Marilyn Monroe, 1967 © 2022 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by DACS, London.

Next to her, in this third section of the exhibition, beyoncéon cover Official wears a headdress in honor of African queens in 2011 and pays homage to Liz Taylor in Cleopatra. There are all those who have reached the top and from there have challenged the scum still below. Any self-representation is an impetus for change in politics, in general feelings, against censorship, racism and fear. Talent, custom, the power of art, and the cult of personality have created myths that are no longer an end in themselves, because today’s divas even infiltrate mobile phones, as they say. social mediachoose who they want to be and where they want to go, spurred on by millions of followers who, thinking they can almost touch them, believe they too can reach Olympus.

Photograph of Ellen Terry (1847–1928) as Beatrice in the Lyceum Theater’s 1882 production of Much Ado About Nothing © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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