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June 20, 2008 4:32 PM

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DVF in Florence

/*photo styles */ .photo-left { width:200px; float:left; margin:4px; } .photo-right { width:200px; float:right; margin:4px; } .caption { font-size:10px;padding:2px; color:#999999; } Living in Italy, I'm accustomed to beautiful landscapes and cities soaked in history, but the Diane von Furstenberg event...

Living in Italy, I'm accustomed to beautiful landscapes and cities soaked in history, but the Diane von Furstenberg event in Florence -- cocktails, a cruise runway show and a light dinner -- still got jaded fashion people gushing.

The candlelit soiree was held in the perfectly manicured Giardino Torrigiani gardens, Florence's largest private estate that spreads out over 14 acres. Even Florentine royalty such as the Ferragamo clan, Laudomia Pucci and other nobility with double-barreled surnames, were in awe.

Almost as impressive was von Furstenberg's perfect Italian. "It's thanks to my Italian husband [the late Egon von Furstenberg] and boyfriends," she chuckled. It was evident she felt at home and that Florence brought back memories, especially because she hadn't been back in years.

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Not everything went smoothly, though. Von Furstenberg expressed concern over the clouds that had stirred. "We only have 50 umbrellas and no plan B. Let's pray it doesn't rain," she whispered. Interruptions came when Natalia Vodianova teetered over in the three looks, including a 1977 wrap dress, that she would wear in the show. "Do you feel it? You like it?" von Furstenberg repeated at each change. The designer's face lit up as she watched her 9-year-old granddaughter, Talita, scamper around with Vodianova's son Lucas, 6. Though the two kids had just met, they became pals in seconds.

That night, after cocktails, the designer held her cruise show -- no umbrellas needed. Models walked on raised catwalks that fanned out from a large central statue wearing her designs, with the Elkann clan, Eva Longoria and her husband, Tony Parker, looking on.
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