To the joy of all the fashionistas who couldn’t wait to queue outside show venues again, most designers in Milan went for physical formats for Vivetta Spring 2022. One of the few exceptions was Vivetta Spring 2022 Ponti, who stuck to a digital presentation. “But I didn’t want to go emotional or too artsy,” she said at a preview. “It’s just a simple video of a plain, normal catwalk, models wearing dresses, music, the whole shebang.”
‘Normal’ is a concept that applies to Ponti’s work only tangentially, as it often stretches beyond the conventional, twisted into something gracefully surreal. The so-called normal catwalk she referred to was actually the ice rink of Milan’s Palazzo del Ghiaccio (Ice Palace), where real ice skaters were filmed twirling, pirouetting and doing arabesques wearing Vivetta’s space-age-inspired trapeze dresses fluttering with feathers, or second-skin long johns printed in distorted ’60s Op-Art florals. Vivetta called them Barbarellas On Ice.
But why such fascination with the ’60s? Ponti said that it was a time of possibilities, of unconventional fashion, of faith in scientific discoveries—rockets roaming space, new galaxies seemingly just around the corner, man walking on the moon. “The moon wasn’t available, so I thought ice could somehow be a substitute for the lunar feel I wanted to convey,” she joked.
The performance was certainly otherworldly in its weightless abstraction, but the ice skaters’ bodies were very much real—and looked powerful, exuding joy and confidence. Ponti explained that she wanted to work with talented artists but also real women, every one with a different and unique body: “women committed to their passion and excellent in their art but authentic, living normal lives; no divas, setting an example but also relatable. They’re inspiring, but they don’t feel distant,” she said.
The skaters were free to butterfly jump and bracket turn in Ponti’s ’60s frocks—minidresses encrusted with vintage jewelry or studded with huge circular sequins in recycled plastic; airy one-pieces in bright optical prints; sleeveless clean-cut shifts embroidered in multicolor feathers and matching fishnet stockings. The performers looked cool and expressive, exuding vitality and strength. “Women’s bodies are the celebration of life,” concluded Ponti, who’s expecting her third child. It’ll be a girl.