Happy New Year to everyone! I hope your holidays were happy, healthy and filled with family, good friends and maybe a few fun gifts given and received! The holidays in Aspen are always replete with beautiful parties and fundraisers and I’ve enjoyed attending a few, as I always do!
A few days before Christmas, Fendi and Vogue magazine returned to the Baldwin Gallery for their annual Resort collection fashion show in support of the Buddy Program. Fendi has been the corporate sponsor since 2010 for this grassroots local charity benefiting more than 150 youth in various programs each year. Nearly 600 children are enrolled in their very successful mentoring program.
I spoke with Vogue's Anne Vincent, Emily Huang and Jodi Riesenberg, who all attended the event. Vogue has had a relationship with the Fendi show for three years, they told me. The existing luxury market in Aspen along with the international travelers who visit our special little town create the perfect equation for a full fashion show being brought here to the slopes during the holidays.
“Vogue loves the Fendi collection,” they all echoed.
The models strutted down the runway in the downstairs room of the Baldwin Gallery in everything from colorful silk ensembles to multi-colored whimsically patterned mink coats, including a pink shaggy design that resembled something the late Phyllis Diller might have worn or perhaps even Mrs. Bigfoot! On the more practical side, there were some beautiful feminine full-skirted dresses that were flirty, timeless and fun. You can find them all at the Fendi store on Mill Street. The nice news, too, is that the Buddy Program received 20 percent of all Fendi Aspen sales from Dec. 21 to the end of the year. Kudos to organizers Angie Stewart, Carolyn Powers, Mona Mazza and Richard Edwards, and a major “Well done!” to Fendi, Vogue and the Baldwin Gallery.
The major après-ski event of the holiday season is the Freestyle benefit for the Aspen Art Museum which is always held between Christmas and New Year's. I've been covering this winter gala for the last six years, in which I have always looked forward to the fabulous fashion show by New York and Aspen furrier, Dennis Basso. It has been “the” show of the season, if not the year, in my view. This year, Moncler, known for its fashion-forward and high quality ski and sportswear, with its first store in the United States right here in Aspen, became the title sponsor for Freestyle 2012.
When you walked into the ballroom, you were struck by the dramatic art installation by Moncler and the museum, featuring three rows of life-size white mannequins starkly outfitted in all-black surreal skating outfits — circular quilted skirts supported by stiff black tulle crinolines, topped with wool bolero jackets, black face masks, sunglasses and black ice skates! It looked as if it could've been taken straight out of the Yves St. Laurent show in Denver last summer, comparable to the breathtaking black wall of his tuxedoes at that memorable exhibition.
But that's where the drama started and stopped. The only other reference to Moncler during the event was a display of a men's and a women's outfit that was one of the eight live auction lots in which animated auctioneer CK Swett gaveled the two jackets, two tickets to the Moncler fashion show at New York Fashion Week and two nights at a swank New York hotel for $8,000.
And that was it. No outrageous bidding on a decadent item like a sable coat that Dennis Basso is known for, and no culminating fashion show of his luxury collection that tops off the gala. Yes, there were other wonderful donated items to be bid on like a trip to the Emmy awards in Los Angeles for $17,000 and five-course Tuscan wine dinners for 25 guests at Italian Wine Merchants in New York for $29,000, but it is all usually a build-up to the grand finale of a glamorous formal fashion show down the runway. I was expecting a presentation featuring cutting-edge skiwear by Moncler which would have fit perfectly into its locale in the foremost ski resort in the country.
It was a huge disappointment to not have something of that caliber with which to finish the evening.
I spoke to an interesting gentleman by the name of Lewaa, who represents Jitrois, a Parisian company whose designer, Jean Claude Jitrois, started creating stretch leather and suede fashions over twenty-five years ago. Featured at local shop B'Jeweled, on Cooper Avenue, Lewaa told me that because his company refuses to manufacture in China, they were honored by New York City to ring the bell at the NASDAQ opening on Wall Street.
I loved his comments for the occasion saying, “I will keep my speech brief like my dresses — long enough to get your attention and short enough to cover the subject!” Worn by such celebrities as Heidi Klum, Lady Gaga and Victoria Beckham, along with some of the guests at the Freestyle event, these sleek, sexy, edgy fashions are perfectly suited to our figure-conscious Aspenites.
I wish you sunny, snow-packed days and long fun-filled nights for this winter season 2013 filled with fabulous fashion, Aspen-style!
See a lot more fashion and fashionistas from these parties on Giovanna's blog, fashionistainaspen.com