FLORENCE — "Oh, it's perfect and the length is still just right," said Diane von Furstenberg, checking out Natalia Vodianova as she twirled in one of the designer's signature jersey wrap dresses from 1977.
The printed archival number was made in a Florentine factory and Vodianova appropriately wore it as she escorted von Furstenberg down the runway at the end of her first European show here Wednesday night. The designer was invited to show here by Pitti Immagine, the organizers of the international men's wear showcase.
As designer and model discussed the dress a few hours before the show, Vodianova's six-year-old son, Lucas Portman, and Talita, von Furstenberg's nine-year-old granddaughter, scooted around the makeshift backstage and out into the Giardino Torrigiani, the city's largest private gardens. The 14-acre estate includes an English garden, Baroque sculptures, citrus groves and portions of the original Medici walls built by Cosimo il Vecchio.
Later that evening, 600 guests filled the now-candlelit gardens to sip cocktails, see the show and dine. Eva Longoria Parker, clad in a yellow von Furstenberg resort number with white eyelet detailing, and husband Tony Parker, came to town for the event. It was actually Longoria Parker's first visit to Italy. "We jumped at the opportunity," the "Desperate Housewives" star said. "Everything is so gorgeous and this garden is very special. We're heading out to the vineyards tomorrow, which will be exciting, since we're both big wine people."
The Elkann clan, including Fiat heir John with wife Lavinia Borromeo and his siblings, Lapo and Ginevra, stuck close together. "It's all so cozy and beautiful," noted Lapo Elkann, who wore an azure fedora hat with his satin lapelled suit. "Diane for me is part aunt and part mum, and the evening reflected her energy and positive attitude."
Ferruccio Ferragamo and his wife, Ilaria, applauded the site and the atmosphere. "It's funny how sometimes, even us Florentines rediscover amazing places that we never have time to enjoy," he noted before dashing off to say hello to "mamma" Wanda.
Delfina Venturini Fendi also admitted she should spend more time discovering the Italian peninsula. "This is only my second time to Florence and I should get to know it better rather than go abroad as often," she mused.The Marchesa Marozia Torrigiani, owner of the grounds, was excited to see her first fashion show, though she had become accustomed to the fashion flock, thanks to von Furstenberg and her retinue. "Actually, I'm going to watch it from the villa's terrace so I can get an aerial view," the marchesa informed her friends.
As for the show, which was on four raised fake-grass catwalks that fanned out from a giant central statue, the collection kept to the night's pretty garden-party atmosphere. Von Furstenberg focused on suitcase-friendly pieces that hailed back to the fashionably wealthy American on vacation with a whiff of "The Talented Mr. Ripley" tossed in the middle.
Aptly called "La petite valise," the show's summer itinerary spanned locales from London's Claridge's hotel to the laguna life at Venice's Gritti Palace. "When you figure out your suitcase, you figure out your life," said von Furstenberg. "Since I pack every five days, I wanted to focus on seasonless and stand-alone pieces."
To wit, passport pages, hotel key rooms and gondolier hats were printed on jersey and crisp cotton dresses, while camisoles over shorts channeled an easy Riviera atmosphere. The lineup also included dresses made from scarves in festive colors and trenchcoat styles cinched at the waist. The finale's white, red and blue shift with "Bon Voyage" splattered across the front summed up the mood.
For the occasion, von Furstenberg convinced her former top seamstress, Bruna Sequalino, who crafted her famous wrap dresses in the late Seventies, to come see the show.
The show marks another step in von Furstenberg's big push in Europe following the opening of a string of stores on the Continent over the last year. To further boost her European presence, von Furstenberg said she would like to open stores in Rome and Milan in the near future.
Event aside, there was one other major highlight to von Furstenberg's Florentine stint — spending a week with her granddaughter. "This event was all very homey for me, but having Talita to myself was such a treat and she was so active in everything," she said. "I'm sure she'll never forget this experience."
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye