The night before British Vogue and Luisa Via Roma’s ‘Runway Icons’ event, I attended a private cocktail party at Floret, the chic health restaurant and bar within the Luisa Via Roma boutique. In honor of Roberto Cavalli, a long-time favorite of mine, I wore a vintage silk floor-length leopard print dress with a ruffled hem. I had fun accessorizing the leopard print with my “Monkey Banana Bunch” earrings made by one of my favorite jewelers, sculptor Bibi van der Velden.
Upon arrival, I ran into the charismatic Fausto Puglisi, the current Creative Director for Roberto Cavalli. I love Fausto! We met in New York City several years ago and had the liveliest time together. Fausto’s buoyant personality is reflected in his work, which connects past and future generations of Roberto Cavalli enthusiasts with his new designs.
The fun moved from Floret to Vineria del Re, a quaint authentic Italian restaurant in the Piazza Della Repubblica in the heart of Florence. A musician walked between our tables, alternating between playing the guitar and kazoo while singing ‘Volare.’ Within minutes, we were all singing and laughing.
A truly Italian night quickly turned into what those of us who live in New York City call a “New York moment,” when at midnight, I turned to (the marvelous) Barbara Borghini to say goodnight, and she exclaimed, “Aren’t you going to go with me to my best friend’s house for a drink? Come! Let’s go!” My friends Nancy, Yu-Chi, and I spontaneously joined Barbara in her taxi to her best friend’s house, which coincidentally belonged to Eva Cavalli, who was previously married to Roberto Cavalli.
I briefly met Eva at Floret and was struck by her beauty and warmth. She shares the Creative Director title with Roberto Cavalli and is responsible for designing many of the brand’s best runway looks. I was so pleased to learn that she designed the dress that I was wearing that evening – talk about a full circle!
Entering Eva’s house can only be likened to what Dorothy must have felt when she first entered the Emerald City. We were led down an entryway into an awe-inspiring living room with frescoed walls and crystals in all shapes, sizes, and colors. In the center of the room was an oversized coffee table covered in leopard print fabric. Beautiful large crystal amethyst geode spheres were interspersed with clear crystal spheres and tall crystal pillars with smaller crystal spheres resting on them. Pink roses were also dispersed across the table. Directly above, a massive antique crystal chandelier with champagne-colored crystal ornaments hung down on invisible strings, giving the impression that the crystals were floating mid-air. Italian artist Enrico Castellini’s striking ‘Superficie Rossa’ offered a crimson pop of color over the marble fireplace encircled by fanciful unicorn statues. The frescoed room was filled with tall crystal obelisks in clear crystal and smokey quartz. There was an actual crystal ball in one of the corners. For a moment, I wondered what would happen if I asked it a question.
Eva was the consummate host pouring endless champagne as we made ourselves comfortable on her oversized sofas. The Rolling Stones ‘Wild Horses’ played quietly in the background as Tommy, her Macaw parrot, sang his tunes. As I sat and took in all the eye-catching objects d’art, a Bengal cat sauntered by my feet, allowing me to briefly pet her. With her European flair and talent for interior design, Eva had created a magical ambiance. We transitioned from the living room to her garden, where fireflies twinkled and illuminated the grassy area. She excitedly told us about the wild strawberries that randomly started growing in her garden and the miniature turtles that found their way to her backyard.
As the night continued, Barbara and I implored Eva to start designing again, if only for a select few (us!). We pulled up vogue.com and enthusiastically showed her our favorite dresses from her past collections, which we would give anything to have. It would take a few more trips to Florence and maybe even serious begging to convince her.
Nancy and I left a little before 4:00 am – just after even more friends arrived, and as the energy was becoming even more livelier. The following morning our friends told us that it was impossible to get a taxi. And Eva, ever the gracious host, allowed everyone to stay the night.