When in Rome … Do as the Bloggers Do

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Published February 3, 2009

Couturiers in Rome do it differently from their Paris counterparts. For them, less isn’t more, and almost trop is Bellisima! Gina, Sophia, Marcello, and Federico’s Cinecitta  highlife in mid-century Rome coincided with the golden years of Alta Moda, Italy’s Haute Couture exhibition. Today, Roman Couture Week is peeling back Babarian advances.

 

Alta Moda Spring 09 got its dolce vita party started with “Vreelandesque, Tribute to Diana Vreeland 1903–1989. Italian Portfolio,” an informal exhibition of the eccentric American fashion oeuvre curated by fashion scholar Maria Luisa Frisa and staged at Hadrian’s Temple surrounded by “Fashion Talks,” a forum of style and culture titles from Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the U.S. Among them was The Sartorialist, the best-dressed blog from native son Scott Schuman, who made the scene with his soigné counterpart, captivating French style profiler Garance Doré. Both fashion portrait bloggers scoured Rome for their usual chic subjects, but reported they were hard-pressed on the streets of Rome after day one of Alta Moda. “I find the best looking older people in Milan,” said Schuman, “and the coolest young people in Sweden.” Dore, who also contributes to French Vogue‘s “Une fille… Une Style” series said something to the effect of “the girls on the streets in Rome look a bit too merchy.” She planned photo-reportage for her blog and Vogue based on one of her Roman friends.

 

Vreelandesque was just that, complete with cute Roman waiters dressed in tight red leopard print aprons carrying trays of champagne at the opening. The show is centered around a wall of Vreeland’s work for Bazaar and Vogue. The headlines will transport you: “Frightened by Flowers by Constance Spry-a flower authority speaks her mind on the dangers of preciousness in flower arranging.”

On one larger-than-life desk-Vreeland’s own, I hope-are the tricks of the editor’s trade: piles of issues of Harper’s Bazaar from the late 40s when she bypassed models in favor of personalities like Marella Caracciolo, the Roman aristocrat; a stack of memos from the mad, bad fashion editor for visitors to read. Example, from February 3, 1971, when Vreeland was Editor of American Vogue (and not long before she got the boot):

“We congratulate every editor in Paris concerned with the French pictures. There are no tacky shoes. It is easy to do whatever everybody does. It is very hard to select and only use the best.”