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It was a season of long-awaited debuts, returns, hellos and adieus. To wit: Alessandra Facchinetti was unceremoniously dismissed by Valentino owner Permira at the tail end of Paris Fashion Week, a day after her second ready-to-wear collection for the maison.
This story first appeared in the October 27, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In Milan, Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi showed their first collection for Gianfranco Ferré, replacing Lars Nilsson, who was also quickly shown the door in February. Aquilano and Rimondi rose to the challenge, presenting a collection that paid homage to Ferré’s structured shapes, while for their own namesake collection, which is no longer called 6267, the designers went the more fluid and easy route. Matthew Williamson, who now will focus on building his own line, took his final bow at Emilio Pucci after three years at the helm of the historic Italian house. Rebecca Moses, after a six-year hiatus, showed her fi rst collection for Bilancioni—a chic line entirely made in-house by the 55-year-old company. At Pollini, British designer Jonathan Saunders took the baton from Rifat Ozbek, who left the company after a four-year run. Artist Julie Verhoeven also came back on the fashion scene, partnering with Donatella Versace, who decorated some of her gowns with the illustrator’s prints.
Seconds after Gucci’s Frida Giannini stepped out on the runway to receive her postshow accolades, the designer unexpectedly strode over in mile-high platforms to embrace a front-row occupant. It wasn’t the celebrity du jour, but rather Mark Lee, Gucci’s chief executive officer of four years, who will leave his post at the end of December.
“In 12 years, it’s the first time I’ve sat for a show,” said Lee, noting that Giannini had asked him to attend. “I spent all night thinking about it and finally decided, yes. It was very sweet. But remember,” he instructed, “Gucci will always be Gucci.”
In New York, meanwhile, editors and buyers were treated to some faces they hadn’t seen in quite some time. Miguel Adrover made his fashion week comeback with Hess Natur, the eco-friendly German mail-order business that tapped the Spaniard as creative director earlier this year. Hess Natur may not let him have live sheep dropping off the runway—remember that old runway antic?— but Adrover was able to let his imagination run wild in other ways, creating an installation of nine garments, including a frock made from 2,000 yards of cotton ribbon. Christian Francis Roth, another former enfant terrible, made his return with the Francis by Christian Francis Roth collection inspired by iconic movie The Warriors.
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