Photos: Jimi Celeste
Our expectations were high: First we learned that this season's Rivini show would be held at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, then we received the invitation—elegant, letterpress-printed, with a monogrammed chair motif (that may or may not be a reference to the Toronto-based label's longtime practice of seating the buyers and press who attend their presentations in transparent Louis Ghost chairs)—with the particulars, including instructions to rsvp to Atelier Creative Services. The Atelier team knows their way around a fashion runway, so their involvement in Rivini's latest offering indicated that designer Rita Vinieris was stepping up her game. Which makes perfect sense—gowns of this caliber (and at prices of this magnitude) deserve a presentation with high-production values. Not that the Rivini's previous bridal market stomping grounds, a penthouse suite in the Flatotel, was ever déclassé. It's just that when the run-of-show notes explain that the designer was inspired by something as lofty as Monet's gardens at Giverny, the claim is much more convincing to an editor in the context of a legitimate fashion "event" (read: a proper runway show). Intimate, informal showings may sometimes be a necessity in this economic climate, but they're anathema to any designer who hopes to break away from the pack. And based on what we saw Saturday, I'd say Rita successfully got her point across: that she's an accomplished couturière who can more than keep pace with the bigger, more familiar names in bridal fashion.