Yes, I love fashion. Yes, I love opera, but when the New York Times decided to do an introspective feature on what Danielle de Niese wore for an entire week, my heart sank a bit. I would have loved to read a journal about her experience performing in Enchanted Island at the Met, what went on at Domingo’s birthday party, and who she’s studying with in New York rather than some dull nonsense about tucking her jeans into her boots and wearing – le shock! – gym clothes to the gym. This article really missed the mark and failed to include photos of her sartorial journal, which would have at least made the article worthwhile. Of course, I still read it and have posted it here for your viewing pleasure.
January 27, 2012
Opera Ready, Even Offstage
By BEE-SHYUAN CHANG
The soprano Danielle de Niese, 32, is featured in “The Enchanted Island,” with Plácido Domingo, at the Metropolitan Opera. Born in Melbourne, Australia, and raised in Los Angeles, the singer now lives in East Sussex, England. BEE-SHYUAN CHANG
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 18
I rolled out of bed at 11 a.m., which is far too early. Once my performances begin (I had one at the Met the night before), my body clock switches to “show time,” which means I fall asleep at 4 or 5 a.m. and wake up around 2 p.m. I’m staying at my parents’ house in New Jersey during the Met engagement and I padded around in a vintage forest-green La Perla baby-doll nightdress and my favorite Ugg boots. I went through a big vintage phase when I was still in L.A. I was always on La Brea and Melrose browsing the vintage stores. It got a little chilly from letting the dogs in and out, so I grabbed my classic Mannes College sweater, which I took scissors to years ago. I cut into the sleeves and neckline à la “Fame.” For a trip to the dentist and the gym, I changed into Icebreaker gym wear and disguised it with my black leather and suede knee-high boots, shearling coat with hood and Marc Jacobs tote bag.
THURSDAY, JAN. 19
Drove into the city today for a two-hour voice lesson. I selected a simple outfit of black vintage jeans, black Ted Baker camisole and a handmade sage-green goat-suede jacket from Loden-Plankl. It’s an old Vienna specialty shop for loden and traditional Austrian clothing. It’s very cold in New York, but luckily there is no snow yet, so I was able to tuck my jeans into my sage-green suede Cole Haan boots.
FRIDAY, JAN. 20
I spent the morning in this Chinese robe I usually take to the theater. It’s black with swirls of delicate multicolored embroidery. My parents found it in Shanghai when they visited me there while I was on tour. It’s very glamorous. My mother actually does most of my shopping for me. I love fashion but I don’t really love shopping. Luckily, my mom has incredible taste. I took two very short phone interviews, as I didn’t want to waste my voice before an important performance the next day, then I headed to the gym. I wore my Nike gym tights and tank top. Over that, I layered a short black Burberry leather jacket, charcoal Burberry giant check scarf and Ralph Lauren earmuffs. I spent the evening reviewing my own personal performance notes and made it to bed early at midnight.
SATURDAY, JAN. 21
A big day at the Met. I was onstage, but also the opera was broadcast live to cinemas around the world. I usually give myself plenty of time for hair and makeup, and then warm up. What I wasn’t prepared for were the eight inches of snow piling up outside. I didn’t want to crush my evening dress in the car, so I wore a Donna Karan black silk jersey knee-length dress. I wrapped up in a custom-made black leather coat with a gorgeous sable collar and cuffs, and a pair of black leather and suede knee-high boots by Nine West. I was hugely happy with the performance and really relieved. There’s no margin of error with a live simulcast. After, I greeted friends and fans in a black one-shouldered tiered dress, also from Donna Karan. I paired it with black Sergio Rossi peep-toe pumps and a Marc Jacobs purse. Then it was off to Plácido Domingo’s reopened restaurant, Pampano, to celebrate the tenor’s birthday: 71.
SUNDAY, JAN. 22
I woke up feeling as if I had run a marathon. The performance really sapped all my energy and I needed to rest. My mom whipped up a beautiful homemade lunch and I stayed casual in a pair of black J Brand pencil-leg pants and a black Michael Kors top with a cowl neck that I have had forever. I also had on my black Burberry ballet slippers with toes squared off like pointe shoes. My mom got them for me.
MONDAY, JAN. 23
I headed into the city wearing a Donna Karan silk T-shirt, Emilio Pucci blue print skirt with leather front and back panels, and navy suede Italian pumps with a ruffle around the ankle. I also threw on my mom’s Adrienne Vittadini loose blazer in gray tweed. I’ve always been a bit dressed up, even on casual days. I suppose that’s the performer in me. After a business lunch and two-hour rehearsal with the orchestra, I sat for hair and makeup. I had a release concert for my album “Beauty of the Baroque” in the West Village in the evening. For that, I wore a teal Vivienne Westwood corseted gown. I thought it was the perfect mix of rock ’n’ roll and diva glam.
TUESDAY, JAN. 24
On TV for an interview about trends, beauty breakthroughs and other hot topics. I wore a vintage ’70s print minidress that I had found in my mom’s closet with a pair of Charles David electric blue suede pumps. After several tries, I discovered it’s tough to pair ’70s prints with the right jewelry. Most pieces tend to pull focus from the print itself. A pair of drop earrings by Van Cleef in black onyx and mother of pearl did the trick.
Photo credit: Danielle de Niese in a teal Vivienne Westwood corseted gown at Le Poisson Rouge in the West Village. c/o NYTimes