When creating the advertising poster for the ENO’s production of Madam Butterfly, design consultancy Rose chose to work with specialist beauty photographer Arved Colvin-Smith to shoot the close-up of Madam Butterfly’s lips. The tale of Madam Butterfly tells of a tragic love affair between a young Japanese girl and an American naval officer.
In this image, the shape of the red lipstick is intended to directly reference that of a Geisha’s, while playing on the idea of the eponymous butterfly. The red lips against the white make-up of her face add another layer of reference to the Japanese flag. With this striking, contemporary image, the ENO hoped to attract new audiences and overcome the common perception that opera is elitist and expensive.