Last week, I traveled to Florence, Italy, to attend the Luisa Via Roma and British Vogue “Runway Icons” event, an open-air fashion show that featured over 50 international brands.
The event was a collaboration between the Florentine luxury retailer and Britain’s fashion bible and featured over 100 looks on the catwalk that celebrated fashion throughout the decades– a stylized journey from the past and present to the future. There were notable looks from Alexander McQueen, Roberto Cavalli, Tom Ford, Max Mara, Maison Margiela, Moncler, Vivienne Westwood, Versace, and emerging designers Christopher John Rogers, 16 Arlington, and Nensi Dojaka. All the designs were worn by prolific models, including Eva Herzigova, Penelope Tree, Debra Shaw, Karen Elson, Irina Shayk, and Vittoria Ceretti.
The runway show was to take place at the picturesque Piazzale Michelangelo, a square that offers a panorama view of Florence from a hill on the south bank of the Arno River. After a weather delay due to heavy rain, we descended to the Piazzale as the sun set and a timely rainbow appeared. The pre-show cocktail party was dazzling as the sunset emitted a bright golden orange light that lit the Arno River. It was a special moment as everyone socialized, and the cocktail party served as its own runway show.
When I learned that the theme was celebrating Italian fashion through the decades, I knew I wanted to wear an Italian designer. I fell in love with a bridal look from Versace’s Spring 2023 runway show. The gown is a deep shade of purple made with silk, lace, and floral crystal appliqués and has multiple leg slits and gathered flowing fabric. I paired the gown with the same lace gloves featured on the runway and earrings from Bibi van der Velden’s New Waves Collection. The attire ranged from transparent and diaphanous dresses by Saint Laurent, Roberto Cavalli, and Magda Butrym to dresses with strategic cutouts made by designers featured in the show. I admired Countess Krasicki Von Siecin, who looked radiant in a deep pink feathered and sequined Roberto Cavalli Couture dress. My good friend, Nancy Flaherty, wore an incredible Hanae Mori silk chiffon gown in various shades of green. During the evening, she received many compliments from designers.
The show began with an ascending cloud as Andrea Bocelli began to sing, starting with Elvis Presley’s “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.” There was hardly a dry eye in the crowd. It was a surreal and immersive moment that included the tenor of Bocelli’s remarkable voice backdropped by a bronze statue of David and the reflection of stars.
From start to finish, the evening stirred emotion in our hearts. There was great thought and detail put into executing an event that would ignite a greater passion and exhilaration for the art of fashion. Every runway look was dramatic and breathtaking – from the Vivienne Westwood plaid gown to the Roberto Cavalli see-through black lace beaded and feathered embellished ensemble to the Max Mara and Moncler monochromatic looks. The models reflected society, featuring different body types, ethnicities, genders, and ages. The casting and styling were inclusive, spotlighting runway icons Penelope Tree, Pat Cleveland, and Lauren Wasser, “the girl with the golden legs,” a double amputee.
After the show, we attended dinner close to the venue. The restaurant was aglow with white and blue lights, and the tables were decorated with tall cherub urns, white roses, and greenery cascading down the candlelit tables. Ray-Ban, as one of the dinner sponsors, provided gold-rimmed Ray-Ban sunglasses next to a gold clutch at each place setting. The evening included Whispering Angel Rosé and Belvedere cocktails in abundance. My friend, Nancy Flaherty, was seated next to Alton Mason, a male model of the moment who is from the U.S. We bonded over spirituality, the power of positivity, the law of attraction, and how positive thoughts bring good energy and results into our lives. The dinner was exceptional, and afterward, everyone moved to the after-party. The highlight of my evening was running into the handsome actor, Lucien Laviscount, who I enjoy watching in Netflix’s ‘Emily in Paris.’ C’est un gentleman!
Fashion Icons was amongst the most impressive fashion events that I have attended. My heartfelt gratitude goes to everyone at Luisa Via Roma, especially the innately stylish and effervescent Thibault Brière, Luisa Via Roma’s Global Client Manager. It isn’t just Thibault’s extraordinary style but his bright and expansive presence and love of life that emanate from his core. When you are with Thibault, it is like the sun is shining brightly on you. The care and attention from everyone at Luisa Via Roma were touching and incredibly appreciated.
If you are in Florence, please make it a point to stop by Luisa Via Roma’s multi-brand boutique. They have curated an array of hard-to-find designer clothing and accessories. I am looking forward to Luisa Via Roma opening its first store in the SoHo area of New York City in October. Also, the full runway capsule collection will be released weekly through November 2023 on Luisaviaroma.com.