Fashion, Fun and Fantasy
Louise Holm Ferragamo visits Pitti Immagine Bimbo
Twice a year, insiders gather in Florence, to preview upcoming children’s collections at Pitti Immagine Bimbo, the industry’s most important trade show. Here, Louise Holm Ferragamo shares her impressions and her son’s past experience as a “model”.
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My first two stops at Pitti were a feast for the eyes. Like a magpie attracted to anything that shines, I simply had to walk by the Lesy stand and take a look at the very exclusive girl’s dresses. I was first introduced to this company (now almost 50 years old!) in 2008, and today—as a high-end wedding designer—I turn to them often when looking for flower girl dresses. Lace, taffeta, detailed embroidery, macramé and fur all were used to create the most perfect princess looks.
At I Pinco Pallino, I thought of my daughter, who would undoubtedly have loved the brocade and velvet dresses with their lace collars, gold buttons, and Swarovski detailing. The boy’s collection was Oliver Twist-inspired with checked, washed wools, oversized bow ties and college pullovers. I adore this brand for the great looks they provide for babies and teens alike.
After wandering through the stands, I rushed to the Il Gufo fashion show. Giovanna Miletti started Il Gufo 30 years ago out of her garage. Today, along with her daughter Alessandra, she designs elegant but comfortable clothes that range from everyday looks suitable for school to special-occasion wear. Predictably, the show was a delight to watch. Full of references to fairy tales and storybooks, there were tons of cute collars, knee-high socks, and soft wool coats for little girls. I loved the old-fashioned yet completely wearable quality of every look -- I could literally have bought the whole collection!
Then, I was off to see Galliano. A fun and swingy mood matched the ultra-cool clothes: nylon jackets and printed jersey T-shirts with knitted sleeves were standout looks, and a stream of little boys styled with mustaches and heavy glasses showed a playful take on playing dress up. My absolute favorite moment was when a bunch of girls in "pied de poule" dresses strutted their stuff to Marilyn Monroe's "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend." At the very end of the runway, one of them hurled a cluster of pink diamonds into the air. Sheer magic!
Diesel’s show was a ton of fun. At one point, the runway was set as a ballroom, with men in black ties and ladies in satin evening gowns dancing to Vivaldi…until suddenly heavy metal drowned out the music and a kid in street wear bounded over, kicking the chandeliers and chasing away the elegant couples. It was a fun and unexpected moment, and the crowd went wild. Suddenly, the catwalk was overrun with rock'n'roll boys in washed out t-shirts under sleeveless checked vests, and devil-may-care girls in black and white stripped leggings, gold sneakers, and studded accessories. I came away absolutely jazzed!
As I left, I thought about the year my son Oliver took part in a Pitti fashion show. It was hard work for me as a mom: there were long hours of waiting, days of fittings, and in the end I only got a quick glimpse of Oliver as he walked down the runway (I had to squeeze in behind all of the guests!). Still, I was very proud, though I wasn’t sure if I’d made the right decision. Was I doing it for me, or him? In the end, Oliver loved the experience and, as a shy kid, really grew from the opportunity to be on stage. He adored his 15 minutes of fame and opened up with the other kids in the show in a way I hadn’t seen before. I may let him model again, once in a while! —Louise Holm Ferragamo