Isa Arfen spring 2019

HOLIDAY SPIRIT: Undeterred by the autumnal British showers, Isa Arfen designer Serafina Sama wanted to bring a taste of the Italian Riviera to London.

She took over a dining room at the Italian restaurant San Lorenzo — an old Knightsbridge favorite that dates back to the Sixties and transports guests to the Mediterranean by way of palm trees and old-school paintings of the coast — to showcase her latest spring collection and give her guests, who included Charlotte Dellal, Alexa Chung and Martina Mondadori, a taste of her happy, colorful world.

Models ate, drank and danced around in a room filled with tinsel, origami and half-empty glasses of Aperol spritz, showing off the collection that was filled with cute pink check dresses, airy striped shirts, bright floral jacquard skirts that had a vintage feel and loose T-shirts with postcards of the Italian Riviera printed on them.

It was Arfen’s love letter to Italy: “The collection was a nostalgic homage to my childhood and the endless summers I spent in the Italian Riviera. My mood board was full of photographs of Luigi Ghirri, Massimo Vitali, Charles H. Traub and Martin Parr,” said Sama.

Having skipped the London catwalk in September in favor of one-on-one appointments and an intimate dinner in Paris, Sama said she wants to keep experimenting with new methods of presenting her collections.

“I wanted to do something a bit more intimate so I could have the chance to chat to people and for everyone to see and enjoy the collection in a more relaxed environment — with a drink and some Italian food,” said Sama, who went on to serve guests hearty pasta and risotto dishes, followed by tiramisu. “I love doing a show, but for a very small brand it’s very hard when there’s so much going on in the fashion calendar.”

The brand has also recently introduced its own e-commerce platform and will make its spring collection available for preorder as of this week.

“The attention span of people is very short these days with social media and it’s easy for something to be forgotten by the time it’s in store. So it’s nice for us to celebrate something that is already available for preorder,” added the designer.

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