Azeeza Desai Khan scores a designer’s dream: crafting costumes for the stage
BY Molly Each
At a gala six months ago, when designer Azeeza Desai Khan shared a table with Josephine Lee, president and artistic director of the Chicago Children’s Choir, it was a clear-cut case of creative serendipity. “We connected instantly,” says Khan. Lee was interested in a new look for the Children’s Choir uniforms, and as a fan of Khan’s line Azza, enlisted the designer to create gowns that reflected the choir’s fashion-forward, progressive personality. But it didn’t stop there: Lee helped enlist Khan to create the costumes for “Sita Ram,” a musical collaboration between the Chicago Children’s Choir, Lookingglass Theatre Company and Natya Dance Theater. To illustrate the tale of “Sita Ram” — which Khan describes as an Indian love story in the vein of “Romeo and Juliet,” though less tragic — Khan is creating costumes for 189 performers in 16 scenes, a process that she’s been working on steadily for the past three months. “It’s an opportunity to have a more artistic platform. I can be more avant-garde,” says Khan, who is known for her hand-embellished, Indian-inspired gowns and dresses. To wit: One costume — for a group of ghostly beings — utilizes cheesecloth and cage net to make a deconstructed tutu. “It’s very bold; I could never put it in a collection.” Through her own personal photos, Khan takes us on her journey of bringing the costumes to the stage. Performances Dec. 14-15 at the Harris Theater (205 E. Randolph). Tickets: $15-$65, available online atHarristheaterchicago.org.