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An eclectic and international crowd strolled the booths of the AIDS fund-raiser Convivio in Milan on its opening night Thursday. The biennial event, open to the public from Friday to Tuesday, marked the 20th anniversary since its inception in 1992 at the hands of Gianni Versace. It showed no signs of wear, as the pavilions of Fieramilanocity quickly filled with eager shoppers, ready to buy designer pieces at up to 50 percent off their original prices.

Roberta Armani said she felt “people this year are more serious, they seem more preoccupied. I think everybody is concerned by what is going on in the world today.”

This story first appeared in the June 11, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.


Matteo Marzotto, accompanied by the new Vionnet owner, Goga Ashkenazi, concurred.

“I have been running a charity [to fund research into cystic fibrosis] for some time now, and I have noticed that people are getting more involved, especially in the past three years,” he said.

Massimo Ferretti, whose production company Aeffe works with artisans and laboratories in the Northern Italian regions recently hit by an earthquake and its numerous aftershocks, said people in the area are reacting well.

“Yes, they are strong and this is bringing out the best in them,” said his sister Alberta.

Proceeds from Convivio’s Vintage area this year will benefit those hurt by the earthquake.


Less weighty talk turned to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend. Daphne Guinness, clad in a thin caped black gown — the make of which escaped her — said she had not attended any events, but, describing herself as an “observer,” she pointed to how “unbelievably moving is the love the nation has” for the Queen. Another fellow Brit, fashion writer Colin McDowell, commented on the monarch and her “amazing, unflappable” attitude.

Others strolling the aisles included Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino, Roberto Cavalli, Allegra Versace, Lapo Elkann, Silvia Venturini Fendi and Angela Missoni flanked by her mother, Rosita, and her daughter Margherita.

Later at dinner, each inviting fashion house was in charge of decorating its table reelaborating “kitsch,” as per the instructions of longtime Convivio supporter and Italian Vogue editor in chief Franca Sozzani.

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