By Nadine Kam
La Petite Robe founder Chiara Boni was in town for a trunk show and fashion show of her creations, one of which is being worn by Rain Umu. NM Vice President and General Manager Al Tomonari welcomed Boni. — Nadine Kam photos
Neiman Marcus hosted a lunch and fashion show today, featuring Fall 2013 gowns, followed by a special La Petite Robe segment with a personal appearance by Florentine designer Chiara Boni.
The designer is known for her classic, feminine dresses that help to sculpt the female figure, though the secret scaffolding underneath it all is a pair of Higher Power Spanx that mask panty lines and helps you to ease into the dress from the floor up. There's no going over the head with these dresses.
Chiara helped to develop the fabric, a bonded jersey that grew out of sportswear fabric. She worked on developing the proper weight that would give women support, and rich, saturated colors that would not bleed in the wash or onto the skin.
Models in varying lengths and styles of La Petite Robe, with designer Chiara Boni in black at center.
The designs are meant for easy wear, and women at my table, who each own four to five of the $650 to $975 dresses or gowns, raved that they never need ironing, travel well, and can be machine washed with the regular laundry.
"What women want is different from my mother’s day, when women changed three times a day,” the designer told me after the show, adding that today’s women want clothing that will take them from day to evening, appropriate for the office, and sexy for evening, without being over the top.
Her inspiration also comse from the beauty of Florence and being transported to other worlds by reading books as a little girl. She said she could always imagine what the characters were wearing and set about to recreate the vision she had in her head.
Later, friends were encouraging me to try on one of the dresses. "Not after lunch," I said.
Chiara Boni sits down for an interview after the lunch and fashion show, with her creations in the background.
Also featured during the fashion show were a series of gowns and Judith Leiber minaudieres, like the lion carried by Mandy McGarry.
Justine Edwards wears a Carmen Marc Valvo gown paired with a Judith Leiber Earl Grey teapot minaudiere.
A closer look at the teapot, which features Austrian crystals and silvertone hardware with removable 19-inch chain strap and push-button clasp.