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Pucci Returns to Capri

CAPRI, Italy — In a location that requires no filter, it was astonishing how many such tools were being used on a springlike April afternoon. The occasion? A fresh start for Emilio Pucci, the Florentine label founded by Marchese Emilio Pucci in 1947, and the first offerings under its new artistic director, Camille Miceli. About 175 guests were taking part in a three-day celebration of nonstop Instagram fodder.

Once upon a time, Slim Aaron would have been the one to capture such beau monde happenings. These days it’s the likes of Wu Jie, a 21-year-old influencer from Milan. A self-styled cool hunter, she goes by the handle niki_wujie and is from Zhengzhou in central China.

“We need curiosity,” she said. “Otherwise we get bored in a second. Brands must be active now.”

Ms. Miceli showed her first collection on this island in the Gulf of Naples, where Emilio Pucci used to spend summers with his high-society friends and clients and which has drawn the fashionable since Roman times. To unveil her new designs, she chose to forgo a traditional runway format. Instead, the island was turned into a backdrop to showcase her designs. That meant a three-day carnival of connected vignettes in which Pucci-clad models intermingled with guests at lively soirees, on the beach and on the dance floor.

Fortunate invitees were flown in, transported on waiting boats to the Marina Grande, the main port on the island, then whisked up by funicular to the town of Capri — Pucci fabric was snaked around the handrails — to stay at the Grand Hotel Quisisana.

Kicking off the festivities on Thursday, guests convened at Bar Tiberio in the picturesque piazzeta, or town square, for a pre-dinner aperitivo. The cafe had been “Puccified” — that is, its wicker spruced up with Pucci print cushions and tablecloths.

At dinner, guests wore designs from the new collection — all manner of original prints reworked, enlarged or downsized. And a fresh logo, two intertwined fish, that Ms. Miceli described as a “no-brainer.” Many partygoers clutched Pucci terry-cloth beauty bags as purses. Others wore the high-waist pants trimmed with fringe. Cindy Bruna, a model, danced in a sand-colored lace-up miniskirt and geometric print crop top.

Dashing around the restaurant, the unstuffy Ms. Miceli wasn’t interested in the jet-set vibe of yore.

“I wouldn’t use the term,” she said. “It’s a little awkward now. It’s more about community and family.” And while her collection doesn’t depart from Pucci’s resort DNA, Ms. Miceli has adjusted its relevance, tapping into a more inclusive tribe.

“Pucci is for people that share an appreciation for a certain type of lifestyle,” she said, referring to a new set connected not through social standing but by an appreciation not only of dancing on tables but also of a meditation session.

Ms. Miceli had invited Arnaud Caby, her Iyengar yoga teacher in Paris, to host two Friday morning sessions. Most guests showed up in Pucci yoga pants, a mismatch patchwork of archival motifs.

“Who wants the front row?” one attendee said. “Courage,” said Mr. Caby, who put the prints through their paces.

Leggings would prove to be the hardest-working garment from Ms. Miceli’s collection, called “La Grotta Azzurra,” for Capri’s Blue Grotto. Mathilde Favier, who manages celebrity clients at Christian Dior, wore her skinny stretch trousers under a Dior black lace dress for dinner; Sabine Getty, a jewelry designer and socialite, danced in hers; and a pregnant Susie Lau, a British fashion influencer, paired them with a billowing caftan for natty boat attire.

After yoga, Ms. Miceli hung out by the pool at the Quisisana, managing photo shoots and interviews. She had accessorized her leggings with a vintage Disney sweatshirt and a corno, or horn necklace, a traditional Neapolitan good-luck charm, a gift from a Caprese Pucci store assistant. Ms. Miceli said she hoped that the label would be embraced by men and women alike.

“We need more Pucci for men,” said Gunna, an Atlanta rapper who is an ambassador for the label. He sat in the lobby in a mismatched Pucci silk shirt and hat with custom jeans and yellow Marni slides — and lashings of diamonds. The island had proved so inspiring that he’d set up a makeshift studio at the hotel.

“I’ve definitely found a new vacation spot,” he said. He was partway through shooting a video for “Poochie Gown,” one of the tracks on his latest album, “DS4Ever.”

Guests departing for lunch at the Bagni di Tiberio beach club were greeted by models perched on rocks at a jetty in insouciant incarnations of psychedelic Pucci archival prints.

Homer’s Ulysses referred to Capri’s coast as the realm of sirens, mythological beings who enticed sailors to their death, and these appeared as modern-day versions. In their tasseled high-waist pants and silk tops, they lured guests into an Instagram frenzy.

Boarding for lunch were the French decorator Jacques Grange; Sidney Toledano, the chief executive of the LVMH Fashion Group, which owns Pucci, almost unrecognizable dressed down in a swirly turquoise Pucci jacket (“It’s on purpose,” he joked); and Yoyo Cao, an entrepreneur. The taxi boats were decked out with the label’s prints.

At the beach club, a cabaret-style display of the label’s swimsuits greeted them. Elie Top, a jewelry designer, took a dip in the turquoise sea before lunch. Plates of mozzarella almost knocked fashion off the grid. Between courses of zucchini fritte, melanzane toasts and Caprese salads, Gunna started an impromptu performance until calls of “the risotto is ready” shut it down.

Mr. Toledano said the scene reminded him of trips to Ibiza many years ago. “She didn’t need to present a big book,” he said of Ms. Miceli’s ideas for the debut collection. “Camille likes to be free, but she listens.” He smiled.

“Our wardrobe, our way of thinking, our daily life has changed” because of the pandemic, Ms. Miceli said. She recalled buying Pucci jersey dresses in the 1990s and appreciating that they didn’t wrinkle in a suitcase. It was that ease and versatility that was on display as the sun dipped across the Gulf of Naples.

In Anacapri, a lower-key mountaintop village, guests wandered cobbled streets to Villa Belsito, a private home where the online retailer Mytheresa was helping host the label’s celebration.

Diego Della Valle, the chairman of Tod’s, dropped by from his nearby villa, catching up with friends. Later, a dance performance inspired by the work of the Italian film director Paolo Sorrentino, featuring Pucci-clad dancers, kick-started Ms. Miceli’s invitation to celebrate her Pucci family on the dance floor. Disco classics had the guests up in seconds.

As in “The Great Beauty,” a film by Mr. Sorrentino that won an Oscar in 2014 for best foreign language film, it’s not easy to take on the past and to figure out its future, but it will get you noticed.

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