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Versace, Missoni And Others Take On Opera In 'Il Teatro Alla Moda' Exhibit

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The front row only accommodates so many spectators, and so a lucky handful are fortunate enough to see theater up-close-and-personal. Cue the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and Curatorial Assistance, which recently extended its Il Teatro Alla Moda exhibit of over 50 couture opera costumes created by Italian fashion designers. For the 99% of us without a 90210 zip code, the exhibit offers a rare, intimate glimpse reserved for regulars of orchestra seating.

Whether you're a fan of fashion, opera or great craftmanship, it's breathtaking to see every thread, hemline and ruffle on the runway-ready couture costumes. Among the Italian designers featured are Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Alberta Ferretti, Missoni, Emanuel Ungaro, Valentino, Gianni Versace and more.

Roberto Capucci's luxurious crimson costumes are among the first to greet visitors. Around the corner are denim dresses with colorful lapin- and mink-fur pompoms; they were created for "Carmen" in 1986 by Fendi, then headed by Karl Lagerfeld (of today's Chanel). Ferretti's signature of flowy, delicate layers in chiffon can be seen in her work for the 2003 version of "Carmen," for which she created 490 costumes.

The fashion house of Missoni put their stamp on La Scala, Milan's opera house, in 1983 when they designed costumes for "Lucia di Lammermoor." Their iconic knitwear patterns can be seen at the exhibit alongside Valentino Garavani's work for "The Dream of Valentino," a 1994 opera about the life of screen star Rudolph Valentino.

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Click through the photos to see and read more about the exhibit.

'Il Teatro Alla Moda' is on exhibition Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. until March 18 at the Annenberg Center's temporary space in Beverly Hills. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 (general admission); it is free for children under 12 or students with an ID. Parking is available across the street at the public structure; first two hours are free.