February 3, 2017
Legendary couture ensembles collected by Emphatics boutique will augment the runway with exotic costumes from the wardrobe vault of Pittsburgh Opera in a unique fashion experience at Pittsburgh Opera’s Strip District home on March 2nd.
Hosted by Friends of Pittsburgh Opera, Operatically Emphatic offers a retrospective of the trailblazing designer looks curated by James and Karin Legato for nearly 50 years in their boutique. The fashions are being made available through the generosity of former Emphatics customers who are loaning them for the event.
Operatically Emphatic, on Thursday, March 2, from 6:30 – 8:30 PM, features professional models wearing the Emphatics collection plus Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artists modeling the Opera costumes including some designed by David Hockney. Studio Booth will present a show of hair fashion and make-up inspired by drama and Opera grandeur.
Michele Fabrizi, Chair of Pittsburgh Opera’s Board of Directors and President/CEO of MARC USA, is chairing the event and providing at least one of the couture pieces from her personal collection. She explains the inspiration for the show. “Emphatics boutique was a mecca for high fashion in Pittsburgh for half a century. James and Karin Legato were light-years ahead in hand-picking pieces by cutting edge designers from the Paris runways for their devoted clientele.”
As French haute couture designer Jean Paul Gaultier said in a Post-Gazette article, “Their taste was exceptional, and their loyalty was unwavering.” Emphatics boutique closed in 2013 because of James’s deteriorating health. After his death in 2015, the Emphatics archives were acquired by the Phoenix Art Museum - a collection of over 400 pieces, which were featured in an exhibit this past November.
“We always believed and appreciated Fashion as Art. These stunning pieces span 5 decades and range from Thierry Mugler to Jean Paul Gaultier to Azzedine Alaïa,” said Karin Legato. “This will be a rare opportunity for Emphatics fans and anyone who appreciates the history of avant garde fashion to see this collection.”
“Great fashion transcends being a mere ‘outfit’ and enters the realm of theater and opera,” said Pittsburgh Opera General Director Christopher Hahn. “It’s no surprise so many of the illustrious designers that Emphatics championed drew their inspiration from the theater.”
The evening also features a cocktail reception and a chance to mingle and pose for pictures with the costumed Resident Artists. Studio Booth will provide gifts to all those attending.
Tickets are available online. All proceeds benefit Pittsburgh Opera.