A designer that draws applause featured at NAC Gala

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Isabel Bayrakdarian © Bo Huang
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Measha Brugergosman © Abigail Godfrey
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Peter Oundjian © John Loper
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Pinchas Zukerman

Designing clothes that draw applause from the audience, even before a top-ranked musician plays a single note drives Rosemarie Umetsu. The Toronto fashion designer now ranks amongst the world’s “best-dresser” list with clients that include the NAC’s Pinchas Zukerman, pianist Lang Lang, Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Peter Oundjian and nearly every young Canadian diva from Isabel Bayrakdarian to Measha Brueggergosman. International opera stars like Joyce Di Donato, Frederica von Stade and Nicole Cabell count among Umetsu’s loyal fans.

“I love classical music, I studied for many years and I understand the type of clothing they need. It has to be dramatic but flexible, allowing them to breathe and move with ease. Each dress or suit I create fits the character and artistry of the performer,” said Umetsu from her Toronto studio.

Described as “a designer extraordinaire” by Canadian fashion writer Jeanne Beker, Umetsu has made her mark internationally by designing dramatic clothes for both men and women that are often one-of-a-kind. Her couture is built upon her knowledge of music. She designs performance functional clothing, which is reflective of the needs and individual style of each artist.

For example, she understands that while some singers like to be tightly corseted others need “breathing room” sewn in, likewise pianists and conductors have extra room under their arms and across the back for reaching the keyboard or waving a baton in the air. With travel sensibility and flexibility also factored in.

“When Lang Lang asked me to create six suits and shirts for the 2012/13 Season I was particularly thrilled. He’s one of the superstars of classical music and I am thrilled to have him debut the first of a selection of suits we have designed for him at the NAC’s fundraising Gala in September.

Both Lang Lang and Pinchas Zukerman believe in giving back to young artists, a cause I believe in and support too,” she said from her store, Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu in Toronto.

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