Luca Orlandi, fresh from his wedding to model girlfriend Oluchi Onweagba in St. Bart's, invited guests to a subtropical "fashion journey" tonight. Jamaican music played loudly, and the designer promised playful clothes in Caribbean colors. Many celebrities were happy to join the designer's party, among them Paris Hilton, Mary J. Blige, Kelly Osbourne, Damon Dash and Rachel Roy, the Williams sisters, assorted socialites. But while the flashier attendees texted and waved to each other, significant numbers of press people, who are definitely not on vacation this week, were less than amused to be kept waiting for a late start. The question was: Did Orlandi want to stage a red-carpet-style extravaganza or present a serious collection for critical review?
If the audience was spectacular, the clothes were less so. The poufy taffeta dresses, a continuation from the fall show, were overdone. In contrast, there were pretty cotton and lace numbers that had a more natural, summery ease. Romina Lanaro, in a cotton Jacquard top and cardigan worn with full linen pants and flats was the image of casual sophistication. Orlandi's series of strawberry-embroidered cotton voile pieces evoked the sweetness of rural 1950's Italy. The Caribbean items were less successful, overwrought with too many patterns and embellishments. A printed and draped dress could have done without a corsage or beading, for example, and even the deftest hand would have trouble making a mini Liberty-style print live happily with a tropical one. There are pretty clothes to pull from this collection, but for the most part, Orlandi's Fantasy Island could benefit from a dose of reality.
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