SEE-NOW-BUY-NOW, EAT NOW: An Army marches on its stomach and, in Luisa Beccaria’s world, so do fashion lovers. As an add-on to her trunk show, which is currently taking place in London, the designer transformed the upstairs restaurant at Robin Birley’s 5 Hertford Street private members’ club into a slice of Sicily — complete with jasmine, olive trees and crystal chandeliers, which the designer transported on a truck from the island, where her family has a castle.
A Sicilian band, Cori di Val D’Anapo, performed for lunch and dinner guests at a variety of events, banging tambourines and playing flutes, lending Hertford’s rarefied air some folksy flair. Models — including Beccaria’s youngest daughter Luna — wove their way around tables showing off long, romantic gowns, some dotted with fat velvet roses, or brocade and suede coats, from the spring and fall collections.
Guests included Lady Violet Manners, Lady Gabriella Windsor, Emilia Fox, Lady Kitty Spencer, Eugenie Niarchos, Alice Naylor-Leyland, Irene Forte, Celia Weinstock, Maria Baibakova and Prince Casimir zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn.
“Look at the bougainvillea,” said the proud designer as she glided around the tables scattered with flowers and covered in the sheer embroidered organza fabric from the fall collection. “I wanted this to be like a loggia inside a Sicilian palazzo,” said Beccaria who also offered up a menu of rice balls, sardines, caponata, swordfish and — of course — ricotta-stuffed cannoli for lunch and dinner guests. Many of the wines came straight from Mount Etna vineyards.
This is the third year that Beccaria, who designs the collection with her eldest daughter Lucilla Bonaccorsi, has joined with Birley on a Sicily-inspired food and fashion event. She’s become so close to the London club king — who also owns Loulou’s nightclub next door — that she’s been selling from his private rooms upstairs. The spring collection, which is also sold at retailers including Moda Operandi and Matchesfashion.com, is immediately available. She is taking orders for the fall collection, where leaves appeared as prints, embroideries and jacquard motifs on dresses and coats.