There is no seating plan; here, the 150 guests are allowed to sit wherever they please, and lastly, you won't ever see these clothes on the back of a celebrity - no matter what their status - because real couture customers don't want to see their gown paraded on anybody else. Every Alta Moda piece is a one-off; it works on a first-come, first-served basis and, as a result, the feverish race to order as soon as the last model exits is palpable, even in this grand room scented with expensive perfume and a million flowers streaming from vases and pergolas.
This season marks the Italian duo's fourth couture collection. They said they wanted to transform women into living works of art and in doing so, it looked as if they had rifled through the art collections of their most elite clientele: Van Gogh's sunflowers were replicated in a silk dress with gem-encrusted sleeves, while Manet's white lilacs popped up elsewhere, and so, too, masterpieces by Renoir (in actual fact, these pieces are the result of long negotiations with international museums in order to secure reproduction rights.)
|D&G Alta Moda|
Elsewhere, billowing ballgowns in fine black tulle were bedecked in hundreds of silk roses, so wide they skimmed over guests' feet as each one wafted by. Floor-trailing pyjama coat-dresses in candy pink edged in bordeaux piping with crystal buttons and sweeping bow belts followed. There were plenty of day-looks to excite too, ideal for benefit luncheons the world over - an off-the-shoulder midi-length dress in cornflower blue was particularly pretty. With each look more spectacular than the next, the expressions on husbands' faces said it all: it was adding up to be an expensive afternoon.