There's nothing I love more than a spectacle and having just watched the Ines Di Santo runway show, I'm happy to report that once again, the designer served up a sparkly, large-scale extravaganza. You know how you can just tell that some athletes love what they do, and it's clear that their heart is in it every step of the way (and is a huge part of why they excel), while others stoically tough it out with a puss on their face? I'm thinking of the way Raphael Nadal plays tennis so fervently and joyously versus someone like Justine Henin who rarely cracks a smile. Well, Ines is like Nadal (or figure skating's Johnny Weir, for that matter—he should have her design his next costume!) because her luxurious gowns continuously suggest a designer who is passionate about her craft.
And she clearly adores the materials one must use to create high-drama bridal fashion: voluminous fabric, lavish beading, yards and yards of ruffles and lace . Ines never holds back, whether it's "Seriya" a doll-sized minidress encrusted with jewels and trimmed with feathers, "Ayanna", made of a "pearl violet lame" that glistened like the inside of a shell, or one of her many massive ballgowns, like "Lola," her finale gown. It rustled past us at a regal, courtly pace and then trailed out of sight, leaving us with a farewell image: mountainous ruffles fashioned of pleated and unpleated silk satin organza. —Amy Elliott