Jean Paul Gaultier dinner at the Galleria Borghese hosted by Vogue Italia and Alta Roma, July 7. Photos & text by Glenn Belverio


Dear Shaded Viewers,

After the Gaultier show, we were all whisked off (although it was a bit of a blood sport to get a car at Santo Spirito) to the Galleria Borghese, in the enchanting Villa Borghese gardens, for a dinner in Monsieur Gaultier’s honor, hosted by Vogue Italia and Alta Roma Alta Moda.

It was a rare treat indeed to be able to wander through the galleries after hours, taking in all the breathtaking sculptures by such masters as Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Antonio Canova, as well as the stunning interiors. The museum houses the largest (former) private collection of art in the world, but it was turned over to the Italian state in 1902. Tourists are not allowed to take photos of the work during viewing hours, but because we are a bunch of spoiled fashionistas, we were allowed to take as many as we wished.

The villa dates back to 1608 and was designed to house Cardinal Scipione Borghese’s art collection.The interior decor was carried out in 1775-90 by Antonio Asprucci and Christopher Unterberger for Marcantonio IV Borghese, and was fully restored in the 1990s.


Franca Sozzani, dripping in jewels.



My friend Susan Sabet, editor of Pashion magazine in Cairo, looking Very Serious (she’s a hoot in person) and moi forgetting to smile properly again. I think I was overwhelmed by the surroundings.



Me and my long-lost friend Rebecca Voight. She was covering Alta Roma for Interview magazine.



Designer Sergio Zambon. I met Sergio during my first trip to Rome, back in 2001! I wrote a story about him for DUTCH magazine that year, when Rebecca Voight was my editor.



Cruising the Galleria…good thing I’m not a size queen!




Designer Simone Valsecchi. Simone created some wonderfully imaginative leather masks for the Artisanal Intelligence exhibit at Alta Roma, which took place in a 17th-century library (report to come.)






I met Amanda Lear!! I’ve been a HUGE fan of her and her music since the early ’90s, when I was a small child. I believe it was childhood friend Duncan (the artist formerly known as Brenda Sexual) who introduced me to her music. And of course this song is apropos for a fashion week in Rome:





The Last Temptation of Rebecca Voight





This is one of the Galleria’s most famous acquisitions: Canova’s 1808 waxed marble figure of Pauline, sister of Napoleon and wife of Prince Camillo Borghese. She’s serving us fierce topless-Venus divatude! Prince Camillo thought the work so provocative that he allegedly forbade even the artist from seeing it after completion. (Give me a break–like Canova wouldn’t remember what those fine bodacious ta-tas looked like.) When asked by a shocked friend how she could bear to pose naked, Pauline famously said, “The studio was heated, darling!”


A day without classical bestiality porn is like a day without sunshine….


After drinking in all those masterpieces, it was time for us to take our seats at the dinner outside in the magnificent Villa Borghese gardens…




My Hyacinth Bucket moment.



Cute boys who sat across from me….I can’t remember their names…sometimes champagne bubbles numb my memory receptors….


The dinner, it goes without saying, was absolutely exquisite. I was positively mad for the pasta course: Caramelle arancia e cannella con vellutata di spinaci. Tortellini with cheese that was flavored with pieces of candied orange! And the spinach sauce was flavored with cinnamon. A delightful surprise to the palate! Orgasmic. Now I want to put candied orange in everything…

The main course was tournedos of tender veal with a potato torte and ratatouille. The operatic dessert of sfogliata caramellata di millefoglie con crema chantilly e fragole, coulis di frutti di bosco left me in a state of absolute devastation. Susan Sabet had to pour me into our waiting car, but not before we were treated to the sight of Marta Marzotto, legendary scion of the Marzotto dynasty, who was flashing her outsized bijoux which she designed herself. Rome, you have spoiled me thoroughly…


Thanks for reading.

Baci, baci,

Glenn Belverio


Glenn Belverio

Glenn Belverio is a writer and New Yorker. He has been reporting for ASVOF since 2005 and currently works at The Museum of Modern Art as the Content Manager for MoMA Design Store.