Glamour and elegance were the words Massimiliano Giornetti repeated over and over again. The designer was describing his Resort collection for Ferragamo, which the label flew over from Milan to show at the James B. Duke House, the former New York home of heiress Doris Duke. Given the grandeur of the surroundings, it was easy to forget a time, not so very long ago, when words like recession and downturn trumped glamour and elegance where fashion was concerned. And that, no doubt, was Ferragamo's intention. Within a few hours of this evening's show, the brand was due to begin trading on the Milan stock exchange.
Chez Duke, meanwhile, it was pure cinema as Mariacarla, Karolina, Karlie, and Jac slowly descended the towering staircase. (Even marble steps and platform wedges can't take the swing out of the Kloss hips, it turns out.) The clothes looked back to Duke's youthful heyday, the thirties. There were sinuously draped floor-length gowns, tiers of fringe, wide-legged trousers, and long blazers. Giornetti upgraded marinière stripes, a resort staple, knitting them into white and gold cashmere sweater tops. Yards upon yards of silk, bagfuls of crystal and sequins, and vintage Fred Leighton fine jewels matched the surroundings in screen siren luxe. Giornetti said he was "dreaming about the first work of Salvatore Ferragamo," who, he pointed out, began his career in Los Angeles, dressing the stars of his day. The stars of ours were seated front-row—Eva Mendes, Emma Roberts, and Freida Pinto among them—and it wasn't hard to imagine them in Giornetti's red-carpet fare, like the navy chiffon gown covered in sequins, a gold-striped stunner, or Kurkova's Swarovski-studded ivory silk.
If there's an objection to be made, it's that pure cinema isn't always pure fashion. There was at times a staginess about the collection as it was presented. Still, you saw a hint of contemporary edge in, for example, Hanne Gaby's ensemble of matching denim top and trousers with a denim-colored linen jacket. That was elegant, but casually so. And Giornetti made you look entirely anew at Mariacarla Boscono, in a navy satin pajama suit and sequined chiffon blazer. Her angular edginess is often what's emphasized by stylists and photographers, but here she was feline, almost meltingly liquid. Where's the director ready to put her on screen? "Here's looking at you, kid," Bogie drawled from Frederic Sanchez's soundtrack as Boscono sauntered by. You couldn't not.