Carine Roitfeld to debut CR Runway concept with LuisaViaRoma in Florence
Carine Roitfeld on Thursday announced plans to debut her new CR Runway concept this June with a mammoth fashion show for an audience of 5,000; staged in partnership with legendary Florentine boutique LuisaViaRoma during the next edition of Pitti Uomo.
This sunset show will take place on June 13, and feature 90 favorite fall 2019 men’s and women’s looks curated by Roitfeld, including a roll call of mega brands and younger hip labels with designs by Givenchy, Prada, Burberry, Off-White, Richard Quinn and Simone Rocha already confirmed. The majority of these looks – some made especially for the event – will then begin retailing on LuisaViaRoma’s international website, rolling out in various drops throughout the year.
In a massive undertaking with huge, custom-built bleacher seating, the event will also include a pre-show cocktail; post-show concert by Lenny Kravitz; and a dinner for VIPs. One can only imagine the bar bill.
“My inspiration is the '90s, a brilliant, revolutionary decade in fashion. My first thought was the famous YSL show at the 1998 World Cup final in Paris. Though I don’t want anything retro,” insisted Roitfeld, at a press conference in the Hotel Crillon in Paris to launch this novel partnership.
The magic word here is '90,' as the iconic boutique celebrates its 90th anniversary, dating back to when another noted Frenchwoman, Luisa Jacquin, opened her first boutique with her husband Lido Panconesi in Florence’s central street, via Roma.
“It’s a homage to Florence, the capital of the Renaissance; the city which truly staged the very first ready-to-wear runway seasons back in the Sala Bianca in the 1950s. A democratic event, un bello spettacolo!” said their grandson, LuisaViaRoma CEO and owner Andrea Panconesi.
Roitfeld has been busy curating the 90 looks, juggling the competing egos involved in all these major marques.The famed fashion editor this week was also appointed creative consultant to the house of Karl Lagerfeld, the eponymous label of the late designer who was her close friend.
“Karl always said to me that whatever you do, make sure that it’s original and CR Runway will be. It’s a great opportunity to ally with a unique boutique like LuisaViaRoma, and make a truly inclusive show, where each looks from each brand will be projected on giant screens,” added Roitfeld.
This French fashion icon is highly experienced in multi-brand shows, since she practically invented the format with her group shows staged at the annual AmfAR dinner in Cannes, with themes like Red to Gold, where each multi-label collection raised several million euros each year for the AIDS charity.
“Though this is the first time anyone has tried so many great designers together on one professional catwalk. I think it will be a lot of work, but it will make for a great fashion moment,” stressed Carine, as she is universally known.
Her son Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld, the CEO of the CR brand who dreamed up the CR Runway idea, stressed that this is one of several platforms Carine is developing; along with an upcoming namesake fragrance launch on Net-A-Porter; overseeing her magazine CR Fashion Book; and advising heavy-hitter clients with her creative CR Studio. She will also find time for her latest position at the Lagerfeld label; and to pick up her latest distinction - the Eleanor Lambert Award at the CFDA Awards in June.
The event in Florence will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of LuisaViaRoma, which opened in December 1999; which now supplies 180 countries and is on target to record annual turnover of 160 million euros in 2019, up over 20% on last year.
Panconesi has chosen a celebrated location for this show; Piazzale Michelangelo, a grand square on a promontory above the river Arno, offering spectacular views over the capital of the Renaissance.
“After cocktails we plan to start right when the sun glistens over the Arno, turning the river crimson,” said Panconesi, who added that the mayor of Florence had granted permission to install giant screens showing the event live in various city squares.
“It will be a spectacle, like going to a theatre. It’s the very first one of this kind,” insisted Panconesi, before Roitfeld chirped: “Like going to a football match!”
Subsequently, Roitfeld will curate and style a special selection within LuisaViaRoma.com, which will also be featured in the CR Fashion Books. While the boutique will publish a collector’s book honoring its history and its famed store windows.
Panconesi added that LuisaViaRoma will launch a series of website pop-up windows, or “windows of opportunities,” where up to 2,700 clients and fashion fans may apply for pairs of tickets for the path-breaking event.
The decade, variously known as the Naughty or Networking Nineties, debuted in 1990 with Madonna performing "Vogue" at the MTV Awards; and Tim Berners Lee writing the first web page for the World Wide Web. A year later, George Michael released the decade’s most famous video “Freedom,” starring a pack of supermodels.
So, Roitfeld plans a mix of some '90s catwalk veterans and new stars. “I’ve texted a whole lot of models I work with regularly, inviting them to come to Florence. Let’s see who is really my friend!” laughed Roitfeld.
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