Born in Cagliari (Sardinia), Lai graduated in History of Contemporary Art with a thesis on works by Piero Tosi and Luchino Visconti. He trained at the historical Sartoria Tirelli in Rome under Piero Tosi, Gabriella Pescucci, and Maurizio Millenotti. Alessandro Lai has collaborated with various Italian directors from Franco Zeffirelli (Callas Forever), Liliana Cavani (De Gasperi. The Man of Hope), and Cristina Comencini (Latin Lover) to Francesca Archibugi (Renzo and Lucia, Flying Lessons, The Name of the Son) and Ferzan Özpetek, with whom he has worked on seven films (from Saturn in Opposition to Naples in Veils). Lai also created costumes for such television series as Medici: Masters of Florence and Medici: The Magnificent.
Lai’s opera portfolio includes Il matrimonio inaspettato (2008), Simon Boccanegra (2014), Luisa Miller (2015), Attila and Falstaff (2018) directed by Andrea De Rosa, Aida (2011), and La traviata (2012) directed by Ferzan Özpetek and Orfeo ed Euridice, Dido and Aeneas (2013), and Manon Lescaut and Così fan tutte directed by Chiara Muti. He also oversaw the preparation of various exhibitions and events related to fashion and costume design history including Sovrane eleganze and La moda è servita! at the Castle of Racconigi.
The designer’s awards include two Nastro d'argento and one La chioma di Berenice award, six nominations for the David di Donatello and one nomination for the Goya Awards.
Alessandro Lai served as a costume designer for the Mariinsky Theatre productions of Simon Boccanegra (2016), Falstaff, and Lucia di Lammermoor (2018).
Information for December 2018