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Twenty years in the fashion industry haven’t slowed down Mariacarla Boscono one bit. The Italian model was a whirlwind of black and red in a tiered Azzedine Alaïa dress as she greeted guests at the party celebrating her anniversary in Paris on Friday.

Courtney Love and Frances Bean Cobain, fellow models Joan Smalls, Naomi Campbell, Jasmine Sanders and Natalia Vodianova, designers Riccardo Tisci and Olivier Theyskens, and photographers Ellen Von Unwerth and Ali Mahdavi were among guests who gathered in gilded salons of the Hotel Le Marois to celebrate the Italian beauty.

If everyone could wear Boscono’s face for the evening – masks bearing her likeness were handed out at the entrance – none achieved the dark-eyed intensity that has become her trademark since she made her debut aged 16 on the fall 1997 Comme des Garçons runway.

One of the first to shoot Boscono, Von Unwerth was struck by her temperament at their first meeting. “The editorial was a dance class with John Leguizamo as the dance teacher. I loved her energy, how Italian and full of temperament she was — and still is,” she recalled.

“She came in the casting for my spring-summer 2001 collection, with this fringe and a blunt cut all the way around to the nape of her neck. I simply loved her,” said Theyskens.

Saif Mahdhi, European president of Next Model Management, worked with Boscono for eight years and named her energy as her most striking feature. “You’d have other girls on the runway, but when Mariacarla made her exit, the whole energy of the show would twist because of her personality. Brands and photographers work with her for her, not to turn her into another character,” he said.

That’s a challenge Mahdavi, who is currently working on a feature film with Academy Award honoree and screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, would be happy to undertake. “I’d cast Mariacarla as this cold bourgeois woman, who would turn out to be a black widow killing off her lovers,” he said.

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