The Italian Ladies of SHAPE hosted the
final Luncheon of the season for the SHAPE International Womens Club. The event
began with a cocktail reception in the foyer, which was decorated with logos and pictures
of some of the main Fashion Houses creations representing the Modern Italian Style
and World. A variety of vendors whose displays with Italian bags, jewelry, Italian
products, and paintings attracted the crowds. All accompanied by lovely Italian music.
Lunch began when the ladies entered the ballroom through the door of the mysterious
wardrobe of the fantasy film "The Chronicles of Narnia". The theme of the
luncheon was indeed inspired by this ancient hilltown and commune of the Region Umbria and
particularly around "the Race to the Ring", the main feast in the medieval town
"The Race to the Ring" festival, dedicated to the Patron Saint Giovenale
dates back to the first half of the 14th century and takes place each year on 3 May.
During this festival, the town of Narni contributes to recreate the atmosphere of 1371,
year of the first city laws. Following the rules and regulations, the horse riders
participate in the historical "Race to the Ring" wearing their medieval costumes
and trying to drive their lances through a silver ring.
But why was the door of Narnia represented to enter into the atmosphere of Narni? The
name Narnia is based on Narni, written in Latin Narniae. "When Walter Hooper asked to
Lewis, where he found the word Narnia, Lewis showed him Murrays Small
Classical Atlas, which he acquired when he was reading the classics With Mr Kirkpatrick.
On Plate 8 of the Atlas is a map of ancient Italy. Lewis had underscored the name of a
little town called Narnia, simply because he liked the sound of it. Narnia or Narni
in Italian is in Umbria halfway between Rome and Assisi".
The Italian ladies created an atmosphere that would allow everyone to take an imaginary
trip back in time. This is the reason why they created the virtual passage, through the
wardrobe door, symbolizing a trip back to medieval times; exactly as it occurred in
Lewis novel. The ballrooms decoration the flags, armours, medieval costumes
and various decorations were lent by the town of Narni through the precious help of Maj
Tommaso Magistretti, a former Shapian. On the stage, four minstrels the "Histriones
Carbij" entertained the guests by performing their medieval music. The four brothers
came straight from the town of Narni for this special occasion.The stage, on which they
performed, was decorated as a corner of a medieval ballroom with its background
representing the view through windows of three corners of Narni, all painted by some of
the Italian ladies.
The 260 ladies enjoyed an Italian menu ably prepared by Mr Di Palmo ROSSI, chief of the
restaurant Le Noir Bonnet (in the town of Sirault), who kindly offered his savoir faire
and time. He was, of course, helped in the service by the SHAPE Club catering team. As a
starter the guests received a risotto ai porcini served in a little parmesan cheese basket
prepared by some of the Italian ladies. The main course consisted of turkey rolls stuffed
with plums, chestnuts, bresaola and pinenuts. The desert was "panna cotta"
served with a soft fruit sauce.
The lunch was also a significant event, being the setting for the change of SIWC
presidency. Later on, it was the turn of Mrs Rosetta VALZANO, the Italian NMR spouse to
address the guests a warm and welcoming speech in French and English. She also took the
opportunity to thank the Italian ladies for their tremendous efforts in organizing this
fabulous and successful event, "in particular Mrs Eleonora MALAVENDA TOLLA who had
been a very precious help", Mrs VALZANO added. After the main course, some of the
Italian ladies dressed in medieval costumes kindly lent by the town of Narni paraded
accompanied by the minstrels music. During the lunch also four young people from the
Italian community entertained the crowd with the tombola prizes draw. Included amongst the
various prizes were : Italian food basket, two bags by MABBIANI, wonderful silk scarves
from the last collection by BLUMARINE as well as one wonderful bag, two watercolour
paintings, a week-end trip in Lecce offered by Luisa PIO from the B& Breakfast
L'Orangerie D'Epoque, and a week-end in Volterra offered by the BASSINI family from the
Bed & Breakfast Villa Porta all'Arco.
Such a huge event wouldnt have been possible without its sponsors. In addition to
those already mentioned in this article, we must particularly thank T&T NATIONAL and
INTERNATIONAL movers for their great cooperation in bringing free of charge of all the
material coming from Italy, the ITA NMR, the firm FINCANTIERI and silver shop Ciefferbiwhich both offered promotional items, Dott. PICCHIONI di
Villa Falconi in Rieti who offered the organic olive oil for the raffle. Last but not
least the fashion house of Fausto SARLI offered a fashion book to each guest telling about
his life, his career and creations. Fausto SARLI is a leading name in the Italian high
fashion scene. Native from Naples, his creations are the symbol of a dress culture that
takes its roots in the traditional Neapolitan art of tailoring. His themes are developed
with mathematical precision and always enforcing that style which played on form and
volume, with its point of departure the circle.
In addition, the SARLI fashion house generously offered an amazing gift: a fabulous
wedding dress from its collection.The idea is to put this wedding dress up for auction. Of
course, the proceeds will go to charity. If interested, call Eleonora MALAVENDA TOLLA at
Overall everybody enjoyed the day and appreciated the warm welcome of the Italian
ladies and of course the Italian delicaties. All the guests left the Narnia scene being
offered a bag with a silver cornu copia (horn of plenty) and many information leaflets of
various regions of Italy that has also contributed to this event, first of all the region
of Umbria, then Marche, Veneto, Toscana, Campania, Trentino Alto Adige, Sudtirolo,
Liguria, Puglia, Sicilia, Lazio, as well as Enit Sede di Roma e di Bruxelles.