Table Settings Avant Garde

Supper with spectacular Susans.

Designer Machine Dazzle

The unexpected was expected when over-the-top designer Machine Dazzle was invited to concoct costumes for an Opera Lafayette performance of an 18th-century Baroque opera-ballet about three disguised gods scheming to woo the title nymph “Io.” Known for fashioning astounding outfits devised of tinsel, chip bags, sequins, spangles, paper cups, plastic tubing which were recently featured in a solo show at the Museum of Arts and Design, Dazzle AKA Matthew Flowers didn’t disappoint. MAD Museum Chairman Emerita Barbara Tober figured the juxtaposition of Contemporary and Baroque would be provocative, and sure enough, one reviewer wrote never to have seen “so much Lycra, lamé, glitter, garland, chiffon, and fringe on one stage.”

And the phantasmagoria continued at the following gala supper where Dazzle created table centerpieces perhaps partly a tribute to the opera’s era of Madame de Pompadour.  Guests who were greeted by a blossom bedecked odalisque lounging beside the cocktail bar proceeded to dine among bright bouquets interspersed with veiled and flowery busts—all called the “Susans,” since inspired by Lazy Susans. “How many ways can you say fabulous?” The New York Times asked in a recent full-page Machine Dazzle profile.  Here are some examples:

Photos by Patrick McMullan and Sharon King Hoge