I thoroughly enjoyed Thursday’s opening night performance of Bottega ZinZanni, the creative collaboration of two of Seattle’s biggest dreamers; local fashion designer Luly Yang and purveyors of one-of-a-kind dinner theater, Teatro Zinzanni. Encouraging our imaginations to soar, the two joined hands to create the cabaret-style show which tells a beautiful story about the transformative nature of fashion.
In over-the-top vaudevillian style, the show puts you in the action as a colorful array of characters start as fashion victims in drab gowns and – gulp - Utilikilts, and end as radiant models in enviable ensembles.
The show stars Liliane Montevecchi as the boisterous and opinionated fashion designer, Madame ZinZanni, and Frank Ferrante as the charismatic and comedic Club owner, Caesar. Kicking off the evening with a riotous number, Montevecchi wears a draping, high-necked gown of pink sequins with a pink hat that erupts into a constellation of feathers and urges the audience to “think pink” anytime they face life’s challenges.
Though campy and indulgent, the show also manages poignancy. In a touching scene Montevecchi promises that “you don’t have to be rich to be chic” before orchestrating the caterpillar to butterfly transformation of a mousey character played by contortionist and hula hoop dancer, Vita Radionova. Throughout the evening most characters undergo personal transformations - finding love or harnessing the power of their inner beauty - that are powerfully expressed in their couture costume changes.
Who better to design custom fashions for the performance than local designer, Luly Yang, who has spent the past decade designing pieces that resonate with life’s unforgettable moments. Yang designed thirteen original pieces for the men and women of Bottega ZinZanni and, specifically, every piece which is worn in the extraordinary fashion show cleverly woven into the evening.
The theatrical nature of the collaboration gave Yang license to pull out all the stops and she certainly did. Ranging from well-tailored men’s suits with standout details to billowing and sensual evening gowns, each of Yang’s outfits are wonderfully imaginative. In a nod to her couture bridal fashions, the final dress of the evening is a voluminous white gown with a feather bodice and rhinestone embellishments which perfectly complements the captivating performance of songstress, Rachel DeShon.
Bottega ZinZanni runs from June 25th to October 11th in Teatro ZinZanni’s spiegeltent in lower Queen Anne. Don’t forget to look your best!