No media — other than Vogue editors, including Anna Wintour —were allowed inside the San Domenico Palace Hotel in Taormina, Sicily, Monday night for the heady launch of Dolce & Gabbana's premiere haute couture collection. But Houston had its own fashionable set of eyes and ears taking in the extraordinary happening.
Becca Cason Thrash was among the international coterie of 200 friends, clients and celebrities invited for three days of glorious celebrations that have even that sophisticated jet setter swooning. The festivities were hosted by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.
"John (Thrash) couldn't come due to biz and I invited Mary Ellen Marziale to be my guest," Becca emailed from Sicily Tuesday morning. "We are both reeling over the splendor of it all."
The introduction of Alta Moda, as the new line is called, took place in the gardens of the luxurious hotel built around a 15th century monastery. The show began in the chapel courtyard where notables including Scarlett Johansson, Isabella Rosselinni, Hamish Bowles, Stephanie Seymour and Cameron Silver of Los Angeles were seated in sofas and overstuffed chairs.
"We are both reeling over the splendor of it all."
Becca reported, "The show featured baroque lace pieces, hand-painted dresses and medieval beading."
The fashion blog Fashionista quoted Franca Sozzani, writing for Vogue Italia blog, "The whole show was skillfully directed like a movie . . . A jovial and entertaining night. And serene, without the pressure that sometimes official events make you feel."
Becca continued her report, writing that after the formal presentation, guests moved through the resplendent gardens where additional models in "grand ball gowns of white organza, all hand-painted" were placed like "heavenly sculptures."
The chichi group, numbering under 200, sat for dinner on the richly-landscaped grounds of the hotel. "The orchestra and sopranos provided music synonymous with Sicilian opera. Not a single detail went without precise scrutiny by the two designers themselves," she wrote. "At dinner's end, we made our way to an outdoor disco with rugs scattered and a gypsy conga line to transport us to our final venue of the unforgettable evening."
The first night, guests were teated to dinner alfresco complete with fireworks choreographed to music, "unlike anything I had ever seen." Tuesday night, the group attends an outdoor performance of Norma and then celebrates the grand Alta Moda launch with a midnight dinner.