It’s hard to impress the fashion crowd. But Carven’s Guillaume Henry pulled it off on Thursday night, staging a delightfully wacky Franco-Italian fashion moment to remember for the house’s spring men’s presentation as Pitti Uomo’s men’s wear guest designer.

Instead of selecting one of Florence’s glorious palazzos or museums to show in, the house’s cheeky creative director orchestrated for the event an outdoor seated dinner on the soccer pitch of a local sports club on the city’s perimeter. For entertainment, he organized an hilarious waiter race, a little-known French tradition, starring a handpicked cast of locals, and a Bersaglieri Italian military marching band. And then there were the clothes. On the heels of the puffing waiters, models trotted or bicycled their way around the stadium in fresh takes on Henry’s playful signature kid’s wear-meets-grandpa wear wardrobe. The youthfulness of the collection was accentuated by its audacious palette and rebellious dress code, with most of the looks — be it a blazer in a foulard print or a dusty bubblegum-hued ribbed cotton polo — finished off with light cotton boxer shorts.

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There was a tonal peach jacket and shirt with a cigar-hued boxer short; a total look shirt-and-short ensemble in a print inspired by pressed flowers, a pea green peacoat and crayola-hued quilted outerwear. Sounds eccentric? Carven is all about individual style. To be sure, the line’s great neon knitwear, which glowed out against the field’s Astroturf, added the final punch to a collection that defined a new quirky take on statement dressing. “We wanted Paris meets Florence, France meets Italy, la dolce vita meets la nouvelle vague — we wanted Fellini meets Jacques Tati….We didn’t want to transform this invitation [from Pitti] into a proper catwalk show, we wanted to accept it as an opportunity to present to people what Carven is as a moment, a feeling, an emotion,” said Henry.

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