The world-renowned opera extravaganza is back for the summer – and our curated local fashion guide will ensure your ensemble is pitch perfect.


American theatre director Diane Paulus once described opera as the ‘ultimate art form’ because it has ‘singing and music and drama and dance and emotion and story’. A night at the opera is indeed one of life’s greatest pleasures: it’s sheer escapism, a chance to witness exceptional talent – and the ultimate excuse to get dressed up. And if Royal Ascot is the apex of horse racing, then Glyndebourne is the peak operatic experience outside London.


Glyndebourne Festival is the flagship event from the opera institution of the same name (which also runs an autumn season and year-round happenings). The festival was launched in spring 1934 by husband-and-wife duo John Christie and soprano Audrey Mildmay after they met and fell in love at Christie’s historic estate in Glyndebourne. Every year the event brings world-class opera to about 150,000 people who descend upon the Sussex countryside in their finest evening wear. The etiquette and dress rules of the opera world may be a little intimidating on the surface, but Glyndebourne has a surprisingly relaxed dress code. Black tie is optional, and the institution encourages guests to dress up however they feel most comfortable. Simply put: there are no rules.


Still, what could be more pleasurable than spending an evening enjoying the greats – Handel, Stravinsky, Britten and, of course, Mozart – while dressed to the nines? There’s nothing quite like partaking in a picnic while wearing a full sequin dress and chandelier earrings, after all…