July’s AltaRoma Fall/Winter 2015/16 is the Eternal City’s answer to Paris Couture Week. As the home of Valentino and Fendi, the world expects—and invariably gets—to see serious fashion credentials on display. Just as in Paris, exquisite made-to-measure creations are unveiled to some of the world’s most discerning fashion customers. We bring you the pick of the designers who added an extra level of dazzling craftsmanship to their work using Swarovski crystals.
Renato Balestra is regarded as a Roman cultural institution, and with the brand’s effortlessly elegant collection, with its subtle nods to Art Nouveau stained glass, it’s easy to see why. Classic strapless cocktail dresses wrapped the body with chic origami folds and crystal-embroidered bodices. A dramatic maxi gown in indigo and sheer striped silk with crystals emphasizing the waist, and a fully pleated molten-silver gown with a crystal-trimmed halter-neck, referenced the elegance of the Art Nouveau period. Dresses featured peekaboo cutout sections crisscrossed with crystal detailing that added a shot of strikingly modern drama. The bridal gown, in diaphanous platinum tulle with mother-of-pearl embroidery, finished the show with a delicately romantic princess feel.
Anton Giulio Grande
Presented at Rome’s Benucci Gallery, Grande’s collection interacted with the exhibits in a surreal blend of opulent Baroque and sleek modernity. Exotic gowns clung sensually to the female form, outlining curves with glittering crystal-covered sections, set off with dramatic wigs and headpieces. Intricately cut, revealing black lace swooped across the body, and sexy slits and cutouts showed off the figure beneath; bustiers were boned and laced to enhance the wearer, while feathers and fringing accentuated movement. There were hints of softness and fragility, too, in a sheer cream dress with a delicately crystallized bodice edged with a softly ruffled collar.
This winter, Bilotta shrouded his women in mystery and drama. Channeling Judith, the beauty in Gustav Klimt’s paintings, he presented a classically sophisticated ‘Untouchable Women’ collection that has certainly given his adoring clientele something to swoon over. Black silk wide-leg pants were paired with coordinated sleeveless high-neck tops, with neck and waist elegantly edged with jet-black crystals. For evening there was something for the opera set—a strapless flowing gown overlaid with tulle and jet-black crystal embroidery, and an off-the-shoulder, crystal-embellished rose-colored gown with a dramatic thigh slash. His bride was luminous in champagne velvet with a small sweep of a train and a sheer cape-sleeved top of tulle with crystalline floral embroidery.
Borbone’s jewel-colored, Eastern-influenced collection was inspired by films such as Hiroshima Mon Amour and In the Mood for Love. Recalling the kimono and Dior’s New Look of the 1950s, he brought his gorgeous pale-green gowns up to date with bodices featuring Swarovski crystal-strewn overlays, while ravishing evening dresses in cobalt blue had asymmetric hems and crystal-adorned yokes. Meanwhile, loose silk harem pants were paired with metallic tank tops either embellished with crystal stripes or left daringly sheer.
This winter, Sarli Couture fans have plenty of glamorous wardrobe options. The eveningwear specialist moved between daring and demure, always displaying consummate craftsmanship and class. Cool black strapless outfits were given bold geometric crystal detailing across the top. Transparent gauzy gowns were playfully scattered with floral crystal motifs to preserve the wearers’ modesty. For those who prefer to keep their bodies under wraps, sumptuous white floor-length dresses featuring stunning crystal work, perfect for heart-stopping evening statements.