It was the grandest store opening of the week. Guests raved as Italian fashion brand Stefanel unveiled its nuovo moda collection at the formal launch of its first shop in SM Aura.
Some 800 invitees walked into a grove of trees and flowers surrounded by blowups of Stefanel’s 2013 international Spring/Summer ad campaign photographed by Mario Testino, the Peruvian hotshot lensman (Vogue, V, Vanity Fair), and Stephen Gan, New York-based Filipino photographer-turned-editor (Visionaire, V, VMAN) and creative director (Harper’s Bazaar).
The setting, which came with music from old pop standards, was conceptualized by architect and interior designer Jonathan Matti and Patrick Apacible.
It was a lavish bash, with perfectly chilled wine pouring endlessly during the fashion showcase that highlighted the event, which was supposed to wrap up at 8 p.m. but was extended till 10, palanggas.
Cosmo Manille’s alta sociedad mingled with young bloods and they all dug into their Chanel, Hermes and Bottega Veneta handbags to buy anything that caught their fancy.
Seen having a great time were Pepito Albert, Dr. Vicki Belo, Billie Gan, Christine Yu, Lisa Gokongwei Cheng, Cherry Tan Ty, Karen Santos, Cheche Lazaro, Harley Sy, Carol Sy, Ipe Cruz, Karen Batungbacal de Venecia, Gina Gabaldon Hechanova with hubby Raffy, Tonette Martel, Karen Jimeno, Inno Sotto, Patrick Rosas, Ian Giron, among others.
Stefanel’s Philippine franchise owners Steve Cheng, his wife Baby Cheng, and Andrew Gan were on hand to welcome the brand’s main man, Giuseppe Stefanel, who flew in from Italy to grace the opening.
Giuseppe was accompanied by his team led by the statuesque la bella Daniela de Piccoli.
Among the guests of honor was the new Italian Ambassador to the Philippines Massimo Roscigno and his gorgeous wife Agnes.
All in all, it was a celebration of all things Italian with emphasis on the La Bella Figura way of life expressed through a trunk show—which was a fab change from the usual fashion shows, as the models moved around the guests so everyone could get a better look at Stefanel’s high-end products.
Stefanel, it must be said, offers excellent value-for-money items, as moi witnessed all the shopping by guests that went on that night.
As soon as the event wound up, workaholic SM VP for marketing communications Millie Dizon gave me and my pals Tessa Prieto Valdes (who earlier acted as program host) and Anton San Diego a quick tour around SM Aura.
Women from the Inner Wheel Club of the Philippines’ lunch bunch dashed over to the cool and relaxing LeBlanc—an exclusive luxury resort in Antipolo owned by simpatica Myrna Hallare.
Described on its website as the owners’ “dream home tucked in the mountains of Antipolo, LeBlanc is now available (by reservation only) for weddings, debuts, parties, seminars, meetings and overnight accommodations, dahlings.
While chatting mostly about the beauty of the greenery surrounding the resort, with loads of gossip thrown in for a bit of hot spice, the women couldn’t get enough of the divine lunch menu consisting of sinigang na salmon, Vietnamese lumpia, kare-kare, pancit, relleno, among other calorific eats.
Which meant that the ladies threw the word “dieting” out the window!