It may have been held in a tiny back room at the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park, but what Sofia Sizzi's Giulietta show lacked in square footage, it made up for in major-league retailer love. Shuffling in line up the building's entry stairway, through the library bar, and past seated guests enjoying their meals in the dining room (awkward?), I found myself rubbing shoulders with Ikram Goldman, Amanda Brooks, and Net-a-Porter's Natalie's Massenet. After making it through the waiting period (during which I spotted several big-name editors give up and head for the exits--patience, ladies, patience!), I arrived to find a modest runway flanked by a total of no more than 50 or 60 seats.
Originally from Florence, Sizzi boasts an impressive resumé--she's held design positions at Gucci and Calvin Klein, her specialty lying in accessories. As it turns out, however, the lady's got quite a knack for beautiful ready-to-wear as well, and had her fall debut collection scooped up by both Barneys and Net-a-Porter.
For her second outing, having been inspired by classic Italian cinema, Sizzi selected a palette of crisp white, mod mustard, and classic black, punctuated by hits of poppy red and kelly green. There were exquisitely sheer ivory lace frocks, floor-dusting numbers cut from ribbon-striped tulle, and luscious silk tunics, all worn with chunky wooden clogs. I immediately fell in love with the designer's "trevano" printed pieces, which bore scarf-like diamonds and stripes on simple white silk. And as I watched the models strut past, hair styled in towering 1960s-style ponytails, I realized an added benefit of the intimate setting--by sitting mere inches away from the looks as they passed, we were better able to appreciate the impeccable finishing and craftsmanship of each.
Backstage after the show, Sizzi was beaming from ear to ear. I asked her to explain her inspiration for the collection, as she had clearly approached the season with such a distinct mid-century viewpoint. The show notes had cited a 1968 Vogue editorial starring Veruschka as the primary jumping-off point, but as it turns out, Sizzi had a more complete story in mind.
"It's about the contamination of this really modern woman with the traditions of the land, and the peasant culture of that land," she said. "Halfway through her journey to this deserted island, she starts meeting these peasant women who inspire her, and they merge into an interesting new style. Her clothes are still sleek, but they have more of a fluid volume about them. At the end, she returns to her sleek and modern pieces, closing with a beautiful red gown." A cinematic tale, indeed, and it showed in the clothes.