So picking up where we left off yesterday, after an hour or so’s time wasting in my hotel room I suddenly found myself with five minutes to get into my gladrags and report to reception. By this point I had inevitably managed to smear my lipstick halfway up my face and had to perform a slightly panicked and more than slightly shoddy rescue mission, leaving me looking like I’d just finished eating a very pink and rather messy ice lolly. Once I’d rectified the situation to the best of my make up abilities (AKA badly) I tottered downstairs as fast as my stiletto clad feet could take me. I certainly didn’t envy whoever was in charge of getting everyone across town to the show venue and really have to hand it to the Calzedonia team in terms of organisation. With 50 VIPs to walk the red carpet, everyone had their own scheduled pick up, transfer and drop off times staggered in gaps of 3 minutes. We also pretty much all had our own chauffer driven Mercedes, a fact that while fabulous, no doubt made the whole thing even more of a nightmare to coordinate. I was sharing a car with David Downton and he regaled me with tales of Galliano fashion shows gone by all the way there. I’m not going to lie and pretend I didn’t enjoy the red carpet experience, I loved every second of it. While I doubt many of the photographers had even the slightest clue who I was they all played along and papped me anyway.
Once inside I made a beeline for the bar where I found David and Laura with whom you’ve probably gathered I spent most of the trip. After learning that there would be a constant stream of snacks rather than a sit down dinner we stationed ourselves in prime position for constant booze and food top ups. I’m not usually a fan of canapes but, like most things, once you have one you end up having about twenty and by the end of the night I must have consumed an entire shoal of shrimp. Besides allowing us to take full advantage of the tasty treats and champagne on offer, being among the first arrivals also gave us plenty of opportunity for people watching and with Ireland Baldwin, Tali Lennox, Poppy Delevingne, Josephine De La Baume and Leigh Lezark all in attendance, there were some fantastic frocks to ogle. Finally Sarah Jessica Parker arrived clad in vintage clad in vintage Amanda Galanos and flanked by a team of the burliest security guards I’ve ever seen. There was no way in hell I was leaving without getting a snap with her so having a) had a couple of drinks and b) no shame whatsoever when it comes to this kind of thing I headed over to say hello. Stylish though she may be, I’ve never quite been able to separate SJP from her neurotic-beyond-belief Sex And The City alter ego and couldn’t decide whether I loved or loathed her. As of that night I can safely say it’s the former; Sarah Jessica Parker was poise personified and charming beyond belief… Major new girl crush for me.
With the guest of honour in the building, it was finally time for the show to begin and we were ushered into a gargantuan auditorium where the other 3000 odd attendees were already waiting. We took our seats in the front two rows, the lights went down, the music struck up and the incredible, extravagant, jaw dropping swimwear spectacle began. From tightly choreographed dance routines to Tyson Beckford in even tighter trunks, the whole thing was utterly mesmerising. The collection progressed through a series of themes ranging from vampish black with a hint of kink to nautical chic in sweet sailor stripes and all out sequinned glamour in mermaid worthy jewel toned hues. At one point Ke$ha appeared on stage to deliver a performance that had us (ok, me) dancing in our seats, all the while ridiculously gorgeous models strutted their stuff on the catwalk. Another highlight was Sara Sampio, the current face of Calzedonia, being suspended from the ceiling in a giant circular hoop.
The extravaganza finished with an explosion of confetti that covered the entire audience, no mean feat considering how many people were spread over such a vast space. By the end, I felt positively exhausted from the hot bodied, high impact exertions I had seen and in need of a restorative glass of champagne. Luckily it wouldn’t be long before my wish was granted as no sooner had we returned to the VIP area, it was time for the after party to begin… And what an after party it was! Leigh Lezark and The Mishapes were on the decks fresh back from Coachella, their energy levels evidently not dented by a wild week in the California desert. We drank, we danced, we had a very very good time. We – and I assume I speak for everyone here – felt fairly appalling the next morning while loitering around Bologne airport when our flight was delayed.
Very big thank you to Calzedonia, Bryan Morel PR and everyone at the Grand Hotel Rimini for a fabulous 24 hour trip!
Love Ella. X