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2009 February 27

The Life of the Party

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(MILAN) Around 10 p.m., the crowds began to gather in the underground venue where Angela Missoni presented her collection hours earlier. Why the return? The designer was in dire need of a birthday party. "She's like 40, no?" asked a foreign editor with an indecipherable accent. Technically, Missoni is 50, but only technically. Gone were the bleachers, notepads and Missoni water--instead, a smorgasboard of cured meats, sinful formaggios and various sorts of cake abounded on a center table that was better suited for Louis XIV than the understated designer. A slideshow of personal photos played on a background screen, offering rare glimpses of la vie privée Missoni (Angela with a young Margherita, Angela smiling blissfully on a bateau of some sort...).

And did we mention that the party was a surprise? Despite being the talk of Milan--The Daily overheard at least two dinner parties discussing the bash an hour earlier at the Bulgari Hotel--the birthday girl played the fool. "Yes, really, I was surprised!" she laughed around midnight, as Suzy Menkes headed home and Stefano Tonchi glided inside. "I mean, I had heard a few people talk of a party, but I didn't think it was for me!" Milan's chicest--like Margherita Missoni, Allegra Versace, the trio of hunks flanking Allegra Versace--eschewed the carbs, but several did allow for a glass of wine. (That's you, Mario Testino.) Missoni, meanwhile, was too busy enjoying herself to reflect too heavily on entering her sixth decade. "My advice?" she said. "Just enjoy it."
ASHLEY BAKER




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