GENERATION GAP: It was a majestic sight at the Maurizio Galante couture show on Monday, as the Italian designer had Simonetta Gianfelici, Violetta Sanchez and Amalia Verelli conjure an air of old-school glamour on the runway. The three models whose heydays may be long over, were nothing short of spectacular, evoking rounds of applause as they struck poses, wooing attendees with flirtatious looks and naturally elegant gestures.

“In fashion, we lost the joy and the pleasure to see and show a collection,” explained Galante before the show. “Models need to interpret the clothes, and with them it’s a different story.”

Backstage, Gianfelici, who now devotes most of her time scouting new talent for the trade show for up-and-coming designers Who’s Next (“Stella Jean is the one to watch; her work is the most original and creative at the moment,” she revealed), put it this way: “I think  the freshness of the young girls is beautiful, but you also need the experience of more mature women. To recognize that beauty is everywhere is to send a strong message to people.” As Gianfelici was kicking off her heels, she confided: “But it’s not an easy job.”

Front row invitée Ethel Chalopin (formerly Fong) was delighted at the sight of her colleagues. “In haute couture, especially, you need more drama and theatricality. Not everyone can pull it off,” she said. The former fashion model is concentrating on her charity work now, explaining, “The name is StoryPlus Foundation. We fight illiteracy in forgotten places. Also, I’m supporting my daughter. I feel it’s her time now — she’s sitting right here.” Tanis Chalopin waved, and her mom beamed, “She is a musical composer.”

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