Born in Hamburg in 1971, Ariane Isabell Unfried studied theatre and film design as well as scenography at the Escuela Real de Artes Dramaticos in Madrid, the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and the Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. At the beginning of her career as a stage and costume designer, she worked on various dance and theatre productions in Spain and Austria, among others with Alvaro de la Peña, Rafael Amargo, Ana Salazar and Nikolaus Adler. From 2003 to 2007, in close collaboration with Rifail Ajdarpasic, she regularly designed sets and costumes for internationally awarded opera and theatre productions by director Calixto Bieito in Europe, among other projects. She also has a regular collaboration with the American director Francisco Negrin and since 2007 has designed costumes for opera productions by the director Carlos Wagner. In recent years, she has also worked frequently with director David Hermann, for whom she also created the costume design for his 2014 Paris Critics' Prize-winning conception of Nicolai's The Merry Wives of Windsor. In 2011, Ludger Vollmer's contemporary opera production "Gegen die Wand" (directed by Neco Çelik), for which she designed the costumes at the Stuttgart State Opera, received the FAUST Prize. For the award-winning production of Bizet's "Carmen" directed by Nicola Berloffa, she designed the costumes at the operas of Sankt Gallen and Rennes. Engagements have also taken her to opera houses in Leipzig, Hanover, Nancy, Basel, Freiburg, Bonn, Bordeaux, Wiesbaden, Barcelona, Madrid and Vienna, as well as to the Bruckner Festival in Linz and the Mozart Festival in La Coruña.
At the Deutsche Oper am Rhein she is responsible for the costume design for Bizet's "Carmen" (director: Carlos Wagner). In the 2023/24 season, together with Rifail Ajdarpasic, she will design Abraham's "Fairy Tale in the Grand Hotel", directed by Michaela Dicu.