Giovanna Battaglia has become something of an international style sensation thanks to the masses of street blogs clocking her every sartorial move—you can barely get through a page of posts on Jak & Jil without finding a picture of anything from her elegantly shod feet to a flirty head-to-toe look. The internet loves Gio.
Judging from Tuesday night, so does New York. The Upstairs at Cipriani Downtown was packed to capacity a mere twenty minutes after the start time for a dinner welcoming Battaglia to the city. Just four weeks ago she moved to the Upper East Side for, in her words, “work and love.” (That love would be boyfriend Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, who hung out on the sidelines for most of the evening, smilingly letting his girlfriend enjoy the spotlight.)
And Battaglia clearly wastes no time making a space her own. Neatly flitting around the room with ease in bejeweled heels, a flared red mini skirt and a baggy “I Heart New York” t-shirt studded within an inch of its life by Eddie Borgo, who organized the evening along with Keegan Singh, the stylist saw to it that every detail was taken care of. Dissatisfied with the initial soundtrack, she gamely climbed a ladder up to the DJ booth—ignoring many opposing pleas—to rectify the playlist.
“It’s the only way!” she declared.
“I arrived late, late. I didn’t bring the CDs for the DJ,” she explained after. “I have all Italian music for the dinner. I really want it.”
She has also found her own uptown Italian watering hole by way of the Madison Avenue.
“I love Nello because I see some outfits that are so beyond. It’s funny,” she said. “New York is one city with ten cities in it, this is what I love.”
Its inhabitants—and visiting pals—were certainly on board for the love-fest: Julia Restoin Roitfeld, Gaia Repossi, Stavros Niarchos, Andy and PC Valmorbida, Joseph Altuzzara and a clutch of editors crowded around tables devouring caprese and beet salads; risotto, ravioli and pesto pasta, and slices of butter cream and chocolate cake for dessert. You know you’ve got the fashion crowd’s adoration when they’re willing to consume carbs in your honor.
“It’s a long night, sweetie,” said Camilla Staerk to Borgo as she watched Battaglia shimmying with a friend.
“It’s a long night, sweetie,” he repeated back in agreement.
The champagne was flowing; the skinny, scantily clad waitresses were furiously navigating the slivers of space between stools, and the dancing started early, with Singh leading the pack, sporting a shirt declaring “Italians do it better.”
Those lacking a supportive slogan could join in when just before dessert servers passed out t-shirts (designed by W Magazine’s Joseph Logan) proclaiming “New York Loves Gio.” Linda Fargo promptly proffered one to Altuzzara along with a pair of scissors (does she just walk around with a set in her evening clutch?) so the designer could customize one for Battaglia, who slipped it over her “I Heart New York” creation before resuming her partying moves.
Photos: Photo Maurizio Bacci for studio Babaldi NYC