Perhaps it takes a woman who knows how to live to put Resort back into its original context: clothes to dress the fantasy mini-movie of what traveling light to gorgeous destinations ought to be like. Diane von Furstenberg, founding member of the first pack of jet-setters, flew into Florence with her crew, family, and multifarious supermodels to do just that tonight. It was a show; it was a sprawling open-air dinner in the vast confines of the private Giardino Torrigiani; it was a glimpse of la dolce vita amidst the winking, candlelit jewels of aristocratsand (as it just so conveniently happens) it was a chance to salute the birthplace of the DVF wrap. "I had the pattern made just down the road here in 1974," the designer reminisced. For the finale, Natalia Vodianova donned one of the originalsa forties-style, flower-printed number that von Furstenberg had just donated to the fashion school of Florence. (Its reappearance was, she said, the suggestion of her "assistant" Talitha, her nine-year-old granddaughter, who also took a bow with Vodianova's six-year-old son, Lucas Portman.)
In accordance with von Furstenberg's aphorism that "When you figure out your suitcase, you figure out your life," the collection, named La Petite Valise, was a light roundup of packable pieces with a smattering of fifties and seventies inflections. There were tight-waisted, ribbon-trimmed sundresses with swirling skirts; great ruched Betty Grable, fifties-style "siren" swimwear; and nonchalantly fluttery scarf dresses, among many other jersey shirtwaisters and T-shirt dresses. Keeping with the travel idea, some of the prints turned out to be from the well-stamped pages of von Furstenberg's passport. But in truth, the momentum was more about her innate sense of pragmatic glamour than any linear theme. On the one hand, she came up with a solution for jettisoning the slobby cliché of the in-flight tracksuit, upgrading it to a sleek, tailored jersey pantsuit, and on the other, popped in a high-wattage sliver of a wraparound sequin gown, tied with a black ribbon for a sash. There's not much in common there except their ability to roll up in a tiny carry-on bag and emerge ready to bestow instant poise on their owner.