If you've been following my Italian adventures through Twitter and Instagram, you'll know just how fabulous thursday's Carven performance in Florence was. For further details, I have written a little article on the soirée for L'Express Styles which I am translating here to English for your reading pleasure. Also, for those of you who would like to read the original article in French, you can do so by CLICKING HERE. Oh, and all these pictures were taken by Jean-Etienne Portail.
It was the surpise of the week: in a place kept in the utmost secret until the very last minute (and which turned out to be the Velodromo delle Cascine), Guillaume Henry had carte blanche to present his spring/summer 2013 collection. At 7:30 pm the intrigued guests arrived to the velodrome's entrance and were amazed to discover an inmense green race track filled with about 30 set tables. Tablecloths of cotton and lace, sets of deliciously odd china and Chianti bottles announced an Italian dinner. Among cherry tomatoes and mozzarella, the conversation inevitably turned towards simple pleasures. It was at this moment that, announced by a loudspeaker, waiters appeared scurrying about, carrying their filled trays with one hand in miraculous balance. Male models walked alongside them in this extraordinary race, some of them in bikes, followed by a military brass band.
Inspired by the courses des garçons de café, popular in Paris during the early XXth century, Carven's art director Guillaume Henry wanted to spark some old-fashioned French charm over his Italian presentation. His idea succeeded: guests promptly got up to photograph the runners and, once the race was finished, there was even a little award ceremony. The collection was then at its most visible: multicolor madras checks and masculine floral prints stood next to turtlenecks, shirts and écolier pea coats in khaki,green and yellow tones, but also (of course) in blues, whites and reds. The shapes were minimal and constructed, the styling simple. "We had to eliminate a lot of the clothes from the show at the last minute", Guillaume later told me, "it was far too hot for models to wear them". Temperatures, in fact, reached more than 40 degrees in Florence this week.
Some minutes later the models joined the party, sipping on champagne glasses; conversation was lively. The French designer walked among the tables, chatting with the guests. "If I chose to organize a dinner party instead of a regular fashion show, it's because I wanted people to have the chance to meet up and really talk. Simply because fashion is so much more than just clothes. It should be, above everything else, fun". By the end of the evening, nibbling on cherries and strawberries, Style Bubble's Susie Lau smiled: "I'm just taking in this instant. I'm completely content right now". Guillaume Henry no doubt found a complete success.