On Thursday evening we met some great stars from the 1950’s, Audrey Hepburn, Gina Lollobrigida, Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot among them. Or rather we met Bagni di Lucca’s girls and women modelling the fashions from that great decade – an event which was part of the ‘Homage to Women week’
The wonderful thing was that all the dresses with very few exceptions (like some replacement repairs) were original local 1950’s vintage. It’s amazing what one can still find in one’s wardrobe or the charity shop.
Last year’s theme was women’s nightwear. This year was more upbeat and concentrated on American influence on fifties’ Italian youth.
The show opened with two Italian girls, dressed soberly and primly, as new immigrants to the States. Then the transformations occurred: high heels, red lipstick, silk scarves, slacks, polka-dot dresses, pony tails, charm bracelets, bobby sockers, and bright colours, lampshade hats, flounced up highly petticoated twirling skirts. Even accessories like jewellery and Edna Everedge type glasses were original and used to great effect in the show. Blue jeans made their first appearance too!
Technology entered into the fray too. The Vespa changed Italian courtship patterns into something much more liberated. Shades of ‘Roman Holiday?’ What wonderful times!
Considering that none of the local models were professionals I was enchanted by the way they fell into their roles, no doubt encouraged by our creative couple from Shelley House, which opened in Bagni di the end of last year. Certainly, actress, poet and stage director Rebecca Palagi had a very considerable effect, not just in her immaculate presentation, but in her choreography of the evening. Luca Guidi provided a couple of more serious spots by reading passages from Mary Shelley’s letters describing her life in Bagni di Lucca and then those awful days when she discovered her husband Percy had been drowned near La Spezia.
The grand finale consisted of a parade of 1950’s wedding dresses and these provided a romantic conclusion to an age which was characterised by a very hopeful mood that the world could only get better.
We need that 1950’s optimism now more than ever but it’s too often so elusive to find. After all, the pursuit of happiness still remains for so many of us the ultimate quest in life and that happiness can only be achieved by emphasising love of humanity and our world.
There was certainly happiness on Wednesday evening at the Casinò. And next year we’re promised the sixties!
PS My own photos of the fashion parade weren’t up to much. For the real McCoy see Bagni Pro Loco chair Valerio Ceccarelli’s extensive gallery at https://www.facebook.com/LIRIO1951/media_set?set=a.10205365672482016.1073742250.1254939924&type=3&pnref=story