Stellar LuisaViaRoma x Vogue show rocks Florence
So, there is life after Condé Nast. As Edward Enninful showed Wednesday night, styling a stellar LuisaViaRoma x Vogue show of over 30 major designers beneath Michelangelo’s statue of David, all before his modern successor - Leonardo DiCaprio.
After a day of heavy rain all Wednesday, scores of designers, influencers and fashion honchos gathered amid a crowd of 2,000 at Piazzale Michelangelo, perched above Florence to enjoy cocktail hour as a gloriously burning red sunset bathed the Arno in crimson light.
The joint show marked Enninful’s first appearance since his departure as editor in chief of UK Vogue, officially a promotion to a new global role, even if widely regarded by insiders as a sacking.
There may well be debates about Edward’s abilities as a features editor, but he is certainly an all-time great stylist, and a powerhouse when it comes to connecting talent.
In a major coup for LuisaViaRoma, a total of 28 designers have agreed to create collab’ capsule collections of up to three looks that will drop, one designer at a time every Thursday, starting June 15, through to end November.
Moreover, LuisaViaRoma also partnered with Google in real time, retailing certain runway looks and a commercial selection made by LuisaViaRoma – a see now buy now plan connecting the catwalk directly to consumers.
It’s an impressive win for Andrea Panconesi, the CEO of LuisaViaRoma, Florence’s leading fashion boutique, and an online specialist with annual revenues of some 250 million euros.
“Florence is the center of the Renaissance, and the Renaissance is the center of Western Civilization. So, I wanted fashion to be at the center of the world tonight,” enthused Panconesi, posing for photos at a pre-show cocktail.
“Why did I want to work with Edward? Because he has been the most important editor in fashion these past five year. Who else could have put together a more impressive group of designers? Eh!” added Panconesi.
The roster was a first-rate blend of mega marques like Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Max Mara, Michael Kors, Fendi, Paco Rabanne, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, Versace - and happening young talent – JW Anderson, Jacquemus, Loewe, Coperni, Nensi Dojaka, Richard Quinn, Victoria Beckham, Khaite and Zimmermann. All testifying to the esteem in which Enninful is held by the design community.
Not every designer agreed to contribute three looks in a capsule collection. Armani and Paco Rabanne both will produce just one, while Dolce & Gabbana’s picks will go straight back into the house’s archives.
Nonetheless, the show felt like a major fashion summit, staged in the midst of Pitti, the world’s greatest fashion salon held this week from Tuesday to Thursday.
“This is one show I was never going to miss!” beamed Fausto Puglisi, creative director of Cavalli, whose ideas included some wicked leopard print dresses. He joined fellow designers Maximilian Davis of Ferragamo, Alberta Ferretti and Rocco Iannone of Ferrari.
A soirée that began with five songs from Andrea Bocelli winning massive cheers for his classic Con te Partirò, before the rousing final lines of Nessun Dorma opened the show. Fabulously gigantic chiffon looks by Vivienne Westwood, Giambattista Valli and Valentino kicked off the show with a punch. Natalia Vodianova in the first look in a great cast that included veterans Eva Herzigova, Mariacarla Boscono, Bianca Balti and Natasha Poly; contemporary stars like Imaan Hammam or Vittoria Ceretti; and a star turn by a dancing Pat Cleveland.
Post-show, guests dined on paccheri with tomato sauce, beef filet and Whispering Angel under a neo-classical loggia made into a verdant garden with tables decorated with gray stone nude statures from which hung cornucopia flowers.
“To be here alongside friends and collaborators, in this historic city, is a landmark moment. We’re proud to share this with the world,” said Enninful.
Edward was feted with warm applause when he arrived for dinner. When asked about his new career, he raised his hands in mock handcuffs before suddenly breaking them apart to suggest liberty.
Four years ago, Panconesi staged a similarly massive show styled by Carine Roitfeld, another former Vogue editor-in-chief who went on to have a very successful post Condé Nast career. But thanks to its stricter focus, grandiose staging, fashion forward looks and Bocelli’s performance, Enninful’s show took the event to another level.
“You know the other great difference between the two shows? Four meters! We raised the runway that much and now the David is right here among us. I think Michelangelo would have liked that,” concluded Panconesi.
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