Mamma mia! With fireworks, aerial acrobats, a surprise Annie Lennox concert and enough bold-faced names to rival those of awards season, Valentino threw himself an anniversary party over the weekend that was almost as grand and impressive as the...
ROME — Mamma mia! With fireworks, aerial acrobats, a surprise Annie Lennox concert and enough bold-faced names to rival those of awards season, Valentino threw himself an anniversary party over the weekend that was almost as grand and impressive as the Colosseum. The festivities, rumored to cost upward of $10 million, were not the swan song some were expecting. Far from it. On Sunday, sources indicated that the designer is zeroing in on a new three-year contract with the private equity fund Permira, the Italian firm's new owner.
"Maybe," Valentino's business partner Giancarlo Giammetti demurred with a smile when asked if the designer had reached a deal.
Given the ovations and accolades the designer received over the weekend, it would appear that his global fan club is not ready to see the Roman couturier hang up his scissors.
"It's amazing. I love that green one," Eva Mendes cooed Friday as she surveyed the dozens of couture dresses arranged in alluring groups at the sun-filled Ara Pacis Museum, where a Valentino retrospective was held. (See related story, page 7.) The society fashions should put Mendes in the right frame of mind for her next role: She soon starts rehearsals for a remake of "The Women," Clare Boothe Luce's wicked comedy of manners.
The retrospective, showcasing 45 years of design, began three days of festivities flanking Valentino's fall couture show and capped off a couture collections season chockablock with milestones, including Christian Lacroix's 20th anniversary and Christian Dior's 60th. Throughout the weekend, crowds of locals gathered in front of barricades to catch the arrival of Hollywood stars, models, royals and jet-setters, including the Empress Farah Pahlavi, Betty Lagardère, Princess Marie Chantal of Greece, Rosario of Bulgaria and Princess Caroline of Monaco with her children and their glamorously rowdy entourage in tow.
At the apex of the Friday night event that began the weekend's festivities, Valentino plunged through thick crowds that rivaled those at the Vatican during tourist season to greet Karl Lagerfeld, one of scores of designers who came to salute Rome's most famous couturier. Also descending on the city were Giorgio Armani, Donatella Versace, Diane von Furstenberg, Carolina Herrera, Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Zac Posen and Philip Treacy, who led a standing ovation on Saturday beside a runway that spanned almost 400 feet.Lagerfeld said his friendship with Valentino stretches back 52 years — no small achievement in a cutthroat, ego-driven industry. "He's always been sweet to me," Lagerfeld said, turning to embrace Elizabeth Hurley.
"Wow, this is like a reunion," Elle Macpherson quipped as she encountered Tom Ford, who arrived at Friday's party in a van packed with glamorous women in long gowns.
Photographer Astrid Muñoz, who plans to shoot Natalia Vodianova for an upcoming feature in Russian Vogue, confessed that Valentino's designs were "one of the reasons I became a model." Not that she was itching to resume her runway career. "I prefer to sit," she said. "I leave that to the 15-year-olds."
At a press conference on Friday, Valentino was emotional about the return to his hometown, especially since Mayor Walter Veltroni gave him unprecedented access to ancient historic sites, including the Temple of Venus and the Parco dei Daini within the Villa Borghese estate, site of Saturday's black-tie gala. Sets for both dinners were created by Oscar-winning set designer Dante Ferretti. "Coming back to Rome is a great glory for me," Valentino said. "Also, I wanted to show the beauty of the city."
Guests took his advice to heart. Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy were busy taking in the ruins at the Forum and the Bernini statues at the Villa Borghese. "And stuffing our faces," Dancy said.
"Good food," agreed Maggie Chung, who said she's focusing on modeling these days, doing ads for skin care, cars, banks and Chinese fashion brands.
Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband, Matthew Broderick, had a private tour of the Vatican Museums. Parker had to exit early for hair and makeup, leaving hubby behind to take in the endless rooms of art. "Even the tour guide admitted it's too much," Broderick said jokingly.
Not so with the retrospective, where Valentino told Parker she "could pick anything she liked" from the myriad of vintage dresses.
On Saturday, guests encountered another spectacular venue for the couture show: a restructured medieval building, the Complesso Monumentale of Santo Spirito in Sassia, its towering walls lined with a vast photo retrospective of black-and-white advertising and editorial images. Clearly Valentino wanted his collection to stand up to the rest of the festivities. After spring's pared-down, all-white palette cleanser, he sent out a lineup as explosive as the fireworks the night before. By day, he worked the demonstrative side of lady dressing, putting pizzazz into sculpted, tailored looks delivered with plenty of grande-dame attitude. Evening was about one primary destination: the red carpet. Valentino knows his Hollywood girls love to work their curves, or lack thereof, in gorgeously lean, sexy gowns. He offered them plenty, done up with enough bows, beads, feathers and jewels to please any glorious goddess of the night. And if one or two frocks bordered on excess — well, was anyone expecting minimalism to crash this Roman holiday?Afterward, Armani and Valentino had tears in their eyes backstage as Armani recalled attending an early Valentino couture show in Rome during the Seventies.
"I was young and came with [Nino] Cerruti," Armani said. "I stood in the back. Now, I was invited to sit in the front row. It's very gratifying."
Versace revealed that the first people she saw and spoke to following her brother's death, which was 10 years ago this month, were Valentino and Giammetti. "I was in Rome, and they met me at the airport," she said before the show. "Valentino is a stupendous person, and Giancarlo is a very dear friend. It's very emotional to be here today."
Later, some 950 guests, including Mick Jagger, who was fresh from a sold-out concert in Rome the previous night, ogled Caravaggios, Canovas and breathtaking frescos at the Villa Borghese before filing through the gardens into a vast, Chinese-themed dining room built especially for the evening, complete with a tufted ceiling and decorative palms. Following a lavish dinner of avocado mousseline, lime-spiked fish and handmade semifreddo for dessert, Uma Thurman made a beeline for the dance floor, after changing into flats, while Sienna Miller grooved between the tables with Mario Testino. Even the Countess Jacqueline de Ribes got jiggy with it to Kool and the Gang.
"I love Valentino's clothes," Thurman said. "It's a privilege to
Indeed. Joan Collins, who was wearing Valentino red, expressed hopes her new skin care line would generate enough profits for her "to be able to buy a few" of his fall couture looks. "There were so many beautiful dresses," she said. "The whole weekend has been just amazing, the show, the dinner, everything."
Given his reputation for flawless parties, Valentino had no doubt that his Rome bacchanal would become one of the most lavish events in recent memory, but the 75-year-old did confess to some jitters, particularly about the weather, which could have spoiled the outdoor party at the Temple of Venus. In the end, though, his only disappointment, he said, was that Meryl Streep couldn't attend because she is gearing up to play a role in the film version of the hit Abba musical "Mamma Mia!" "I miss her," he said. "She had to go to Stockholm to meet the group."The 48 hours of festivities proved momentous not only for Valentino, but also for the city of Rome. Veltroni was delighted that so many jet-setters had rediscovered the riches of the Eternal City via the designer's hospitality. "The beauty of Valentino came together with the beauty of Rome, and it just multiplied," Veltroni said.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)