Renato Balestra turns to pink
As "La Vie en Rose", with its swooning French music, filled the runway, Renato Balestra stepped out to take his bow in a rose pink satin neck tie.
What else could Rome’s great couturier, 90 this year, have worn to compete with a model whose black velvet gown was encased in a bubble of silken pink? Or a skirt with panniers in the same shade framing a dress in shiny black sequins?
Add pink orchids embroidered on a black tulle bodice.
This was Alta Moda, Roman-style couture — the kind that the ladies in the audience could understand. I was fascinated by their elegant outfits and the globular pearls around one swan neck after another.
These were society women, often sitting with their daughters. I guess that the Balestra outfit of a satin skirt in macaroon pink swathing the hips, worn with a sparkling black jacket, was aimed at the younger generation. Count a black dress with a full skirt trimmed with pink foliage in the same youthful batch.
I was reminded of Yves Saint Laurent back in the Eighties. But it was fun to see real Roman society — and you don’t even get that kind of couture audience in Paris any more.
Long may Renato Balestra reign over Altaroma. And 100 years is only a decade away!
Bridal Beauties in Ibiza
The dreamy maidens with their long, loose hair and dresses where the train swept the floor were surely bridal beauties. For Peter Langner, the German-born designer, trained in Paris at couture houses from Christian Dior to Christian Lacroix, and established in Italy, is known for his wedding gowns.
The inspiration was Ibiza, but has that island in the sun ever before seen such details of precious stones and delicate threads? They were on the surface of dresses in varying shades of green, from algae through to moss to the deep blue green of still water.
Mr Langner said that he liked to imagine "pure nature that becomes a precious dress — almost a work of art."
The designer’s work was also a sirensong to Italy. No other country could produce such detailed handwork from crystals glinting through folds of organza to skirts embellished with hoops and ostrich feathers.
These dresses might also be worn by sweet young things at a ball. But the finale of a dress embroidered with lily of the valley, suggested wedding belles — on Ibiza, of course.
"We have been buying Peter Langner’s dresses for 15 years — he is the best couturier", — said front-row guest Caroline Burstein, referring to the Browns Bride shop in London.