Italian summer: while I was gone

I hit the OOO on July 4th and now that I am back, I have so many feelings. A detailed and scattered briefing of what happened while I was gone. Order is purely casual, importance is all on HIGH.

There were cicadas always and forever (I left them singing in my Highlight stories on Instagram)

Crickets at night: nothing more reminiscing of those hot, slow nights of confessions, kissing, planning the future ... everything. Talking about crickets, watch this video of the making of Rainbow Future by Salvatore Ferragamo. The undiscussed king of the platform revisited the Rainbow sandal made for Judy Garland in 1938 according to sustainability principles. It has obtained the ISO 14067, which means it's carbon neutral. And it doesn't finish here, only 100 will be produced, for each a certificate that will include 1 of the 100 trees that will be planted in the countryside of Catania, a gift that keeps on giving. 

If they were a song, they would be Umberto Tozzi "Ti Amo"


On the urban streetwear fashion, Dapper Dan collection launched by Gucci (make your enemies your best friends).


Meanwhile, across La Manche channel, Burberry disclosed burning billions of $ worth of merchandize in an effort to make the brand exclusive again ... good try.

WTF? This is the most outstanding unethical practice that only this damn 2018 could bring to surface. Talking about greenwashing. 


Eggs are kept on the credenza, not in the fridge, now you know it and sorry if I killed your vibe, but that's how it's done.  La frittata tastes totally different, also, there's no better fresh market than the zero mile aka next door neighbor: you only get what's in season, no kidding and no BS.


oscar-ghiglia-centro-matteucci.jpg

Private viewing of monographic exhibition dedicated to Oscar Ghiglia by the curator, Elisabetta Matteucci. Fun facts: we went to the same high school, il liceo classico, and the foundation is headquartered in the v same Liberty style villa that used to belong to some of our family friends. The world is small, and Viareggio too, and made me think that even at +20 years away from the town, I have so many ties and roots that become alive in a jiffy.

Home is home.


The premiere of Turandot at the Festival Pucciniano, that is the open-air theater built in front of the house/museum where Giacomo Puccini lived and composed much of his portfolio. That is: tenor brings down the house, physically, with "Nessun Dorma", everyone stomping their feet screamed "BIS", orchestra stopped and he performed it again leaving everyone aghast. Can someone have cried? Asking for a friend. 


Brunello Cucinelli launches a new course for "le maestre di moda" in his Scuola di Solomeo, the village he has bought, refurbished and where he nurtures artisans and craftsmen with the arts of mending, mending knits, and confection. 

At Prince Louis baptism auntie Meghan wore olive oil green, which only looked good in the picture. I officially gave up with this one. 

Of course one is born with good taste. It’s very hard to acquire. You can acquire the patina of taste?
— Diana Vreeland

Shade.


The book was launched at Canto del Maggio

Simona, the owner and the fairy of the hill, made her wish come true and hosted a slew of events for artists, writers, authors.  It was magical and undeniably special for the flow of friends and family that flocked and made it a happy celebration.

Unfortunately, it will always hold an incredibly sad memory of a special soul, something too intimate to share, but I want to dedicate it to her, because she always brought that joy, and she didn't take it away with her, she left a bit in all of us who were lucky to have met her.

THE LOCATION

ATMOSPHERE

IT HAPPENED


The Italian hairdresser on a Saturday morning: an experience not to be missed. What was I thinking? I may have found a new tradition to add to: hot bombolone in pineta, pizzeria and second-hand bookstore in Naviglio Grande. It's gossip, feminism, friendship, roots, habits, polished life, family tradition, technique, slow time. It's a luxurious experience: hair color done with fair trade product by L'Oreal produced in India, the purity of primary colors activated by hot water, a nice soothing aroma therapy treatment while we chatted away about life.


 

Sir Hardy Amies, Savile Row couturier and one of Queen Elizabeth appointed fashion designers, gave us a lesson in clarifying the difference between style and chic. Check my Instagram post on it. I bought his auto-biography at Il Libraccio, the best second-hand bookstore, my brother found it for me. Coincidentally, in the plane ride to Milan, I was finally able to watch "Phantom Thread" and, besides the character being a bit cruel, a bit abusive, and a lot not to be liked, DDL kills it with "fucking chic" so much that it became a GIF. 

“Chic? Oh, don’t you start using that filthy little word,” he says, raising his voice.

“Chic! Whoever invented that ought to be spanked in public. I don’t even know what that word means! What is that word? Fucking chic! They should be hung, drawn, and quartered. Fucking chic.”

 

 

 

WHAT NO WOMAN OVER ____ (FILL IN) SHOULD OWN

This is not to be judgmental , but certain things you never do. I have compiled a list of what it would be much preferable for any woman of any age not to own or do. I swear, life would me much easier, simpler and grand without them lurking on our lives. 

DESIGNER PERFUMES: I have dedicated a chapter of the book to the joys of owning your own fragrance, that essence that precedes you, that makes people remember you, not sneeze nor get a sickening headache. There are fine fragrances, surely more expensive, but worth the life of a woman (and man).  

UGGS: with these I may win many enemies, but, to the same enemies, I'd love to ask when would I possibly wear them? And check very carefully the pictures above, before. 

fab038f877cf115feb2fab1e5b52f3ca.jpg

HAIR CLIPS AND SCRUNCHIES: unless you are in the bathroom, they are not worth the $4 at the dollar store

 

CUBIC ZIRCONIA: it's not a question of owning diamonds and the shiny status, there are many precious and semi precious stones one should consider before being blinded by a cubic zirconia. 

DORM GEAR: there's one thing clear to me, all those sweat pants, Solo cups, Bed, Bath & Beyond bed sets shouldn't belong not even to college students. Cecilia is well aware of it. 

DYI NAIL ART: just no. 

TUBE TOPS: unless you are going to Coachella. 

OLD, UNKEPT, WORN OUT, PLEATHER SHOES: it's not a question of spending money, one pair of good shoes, kept in pristine conditions, polished are better that some squeaky shiny flammable army of them. 

35be935656faa98a354e37fc5b54b9a3.jpg

LEGGINGS in any capacity that are not black and restricted in a gym. Unless your name is Cindy or Naomi. 

 

 

IT'S SEASON TO SWITCH WARDROBES: DO IT LIKE THE ITALIANS

Switching wardrobe when the seasons change is so Italian that we don't even know how Italian it is until we move to another continent. 

9f94ba93826d90fddc6b12702ca3c988.jpg

Disclaimer: it may be a habit typical of other European countries, but I only know #theItalianway. Please comment, share, give your tidbits of knowledge about it that will help it become globally adopted. Collaboration is the word to help make the transition to a sustainable life smooth and positive.

Also: all pictures are from The Coveteur. 

On this subject, I have to share a major TIP: follow Clare Press’ podcast ‘Wardrobe Crisis’

Starting from an article posted in an Italian magazine, I'll take you through the most salient steps of the process. Remember, there's always chapter 8 of 'The Cheat Sheet of Italian Style'. 

1. UNLOAD THE HAUL

You gotta make it messy, before it becomes pretty. 

Unload everything, the season going and the season coming in.

Before retiring the outgoing stuff, think, ponder, look, become a "sorting expert" check the conditions, feel what comes to you, like, still with tags? why? it may be "currency", re-sellable?, there is always something that you have never worn that a friend could enjoy. See? It's a domino's effect: re-cycle, up-cycle, need a dress maker and seamstress, donate, re-sell online, visit consignment stores, attend a clothes swap (we are having one in Miami during Fashion Revolution week and tickets are HERE

2. SEPARATION ANXIETY

We are all for circulating energies, so don't you think this is a couple hours affair. Make it a weekend, invite friends, practice "giving", stop and think, be mindful, don't flagellate yourself into "oh how much crap I buy", you already did it, move on, as long as that crap doesn't land in a landfill you have done something good that will make you feel better. When you pile stuff (remember that episode of Sex & the City"?) divide and conquer, sleep on it, tomorrow they will "taste" different, you will think twice about something and decide to keep it, and that's good too. 

3. KEEP YOUR S&*T TOGETHER

And now that you are done with clearing up the hoarding and clutter, put to sleep the season that just finished, and display the new one, now for example it would be the spring and the summer. First, think about it, you'll have a brand new (pretend) wardrobe. All those beautiful dresses and shorts and shirts that you accumulated through the years but you haven't seen in at least 6 months. 

How do you rearrange and display your closet? 

Do you color coordinate?

Do you gradually organize by length?

Do you have enough space to fold and hang? Do you use the kitchen over like Carrie, do you hang your evening gowns on the library? 

How about the shoes? Flats to heels or by color? In my open concept closet I had in my first apartment in Milan, I had so much space that I could make display outfits, I remember scarves around the necks and belts hanging on the hangers (I also was working in a showroom and my mind was going with the sales campaigns and insane). 

What's your system? 

Join the convo and be lively. 

 

 

My Daily Muses - take two

Style stays but moods change and ideas flock accordingly. 

ANA GIMENO BRUGADA:

stylist and creative director, but essentially chic extraordinaire

SABINE GETTY 

A socialite, married into a Getty, born in Switzerland, living in London, jewelry designer. She is a "Madaaaaame", but what can you expect from someone whose wedding was THIS

Here's a video on 'how to chic' with her

 

LINDA RODIN

gorgeous woman, timeless beauty, and the first to create an oil when nobody had any idea. 

MISS PIGGY

912f6e4411541420dcdf0d53a35d78c9.jpg

 

SOPHIE FONTANEL journalist and author, wit and opinionated, stylish and individualist. If you don't know her and you do a Google search, Instagram and grey hair come out, which is as limiting and shallow as saying that Italians eat spaghetti. She is a wit, vibrant, humorous, smart, intelligent, well educated and sophisticated author of two books who happens to also have an Instagram account and grey hair. 

My daily muses

Don't take yourself too seriously. 

Clearly Italian style is not easy to describe if it took me a book and nine months of intense writing to try and pin it down. 

And because a picture is worth many words, they say, it would make sense that I'd profusely share my daily outfits. Many women have asked me, whether Gen X or Millennials, Italian and not. Yet, you can barely find pictures of me, I am not comfortable at posing. More so, turns out that in all my life, when I had to dedicate time and efforts to something, like math, I was never able to produce a result appropriate to the amount of efforts I had input. 

There are many times I consciously admit the look I come out of the closet wearing would be worth a picture, but then I let the day go by and by the time I come back home from work the only thing i want is free the nipple and pajama mode.

It's only when I see the still life on the bed and the shoes compulsively thrown on the floor that I remember a picture of one of my muses on either Instagram or Pinterest. 

And because "a moment cannot be mass produced" and am sharing in no particular order the women whose style, pizzaz, femininity, class, elegance, brain stimulate my imagination and influence the way I dress. 

They are in no special order, not all of them are super popular and famous, because that's the way I do it. If you don't know them, find them on Instagram. 

One last thing: I chose pictures and portraits where they are not posing a lot, to leave that imperfection, unexpected mess, unpretentious beauty. 

Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert

 Erika Cavallini

Erika Cavallini

Eva Geraldine Fontanelli 

 Federica Mazzettini (she is one half of Asciari and featured in the book) 

Federica Mazzettini (she is one half of Asciari and featured in the book) 

J.J. Martin 

 Rebecca Moses 

Rebecca Moses 

 Rossella Jardini

Rossella Jardini

 Tamu McPherson

Tamu McPherson

 Uberta Zambeletti 

Uberta Zambeletti 

 Vivia Ferragamo

Vivia Ferragamo

 Viviana Valpolicella

Viviana Valpolicella

chic, heritage, how to be Italian, italian style, the Italian way

AN EXCLUSIVE DAY IN FORTE DEI MARMI

There’s a code and I think I cracked it: It only took me 20 years of Miami living to dig out how to live in the Italian riviera like a local. 

It took just one morning, the morning of the Wednesday street market in Forte dei Marmi, our version of Palm Beach, in the good season, the summer, during my trip to Italy was a revelation.

Imagine the Agnelli, Giorgio Armani at one point owned a home here too, Thomas Mann, Henry Moore, Luchino Visconti, old money and noble families populate the mansions behind the discreet gates, pines, oleanders. And then there's il Bagno Piero, the beach club of the front rowers. If you have the tent in row n.1 you have accumulated a Anna Wintour type of seniority. And then la Capannina di Franceschi, a sort of Studio 54 of the roaring '60s when Gino Paoli and Ornella Vanoni were IT. 

There’s a diffused sense of elegance, relaxed and chic, understated lifestyle made of simple yet luxurious things, there's no showing off Ferrais or Lamborghini, you actually do errands, go to the beach in the bike. The morning starts at the bar, if you want to make it posh it's Il Principe. You know there's a bar at each and every corner in Italy, you go, pay for un caffe', show the recipt to the barista, order and in a NY minute you gulp it down and leave. There's no alien language just un caffe'or a cappuccino, not a skinny latte with an extra shot kids temp, they don't need to call your name, it's a ritual, but it entails a mix of attitude and discretion, respect for your privacy, it's a question of sleekness and rapidity, when you want a coffee can't wait.  

Well, al Forte, even the barista seems a magician, they are as fast at manifesting that caffe’ as you should expect from a barista, yet the noises are tufted, voices are soft and coffee cups are china, not clunky basic ceramics. 

So here’s when the luxury is a state of mind enters in action and the whole reason I wrote the book with it. How about getting dressed to go to the market?

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Linen, layers of whites, gold bracelets, bicycles and wicker baskets, cashmere scarves, silk foulards, les paniers, flat leather sandals, wide brimmed hats, children in prams and nannies.

GET CAUGHT DEAD BEFORE: Wearing high heels pumps, allover logos, It girl bag, the same furry Gucci loafer that all influencers wear or any knock-off.

BTW, you will find random street sellers offering knock-offs of all the above on the curb of the street over a white bed sheet that comes handy when the police come.

WORST FAUX PAS: Trying too hard: it shows that you don’t belong, it’s not about the money and wanting to be who you are not, is never a good idea. And, no coffee to go in a plastic cup, ice cream though it's a different story, it's a cone on the go in the bike. 

WHAT TO BUY AT THE MARKET: The best items to be bought at the market in Forte dei Marmi are bed linens, bathroom parures, pajama sets all to be embroidered with initials (they place your order and the following week you come back for your personalized items); cashmere anything like sweaters, scarves, ponchos. Leathergoods, especially shoes and bags  are the best showcase of what Tuscan craftsmanship is capable of: leather, cotton, silks, prints all made in family owned looms and labs and proudly represented, generation after generation. 

how to be Italian, italian style, slow fashion, heritage, chic

DO THE SUMMER LIKE THE LOCALS DO: FIRENZE & PITTI EPISODE

I attended another Pitti.

For many it's still a dream that hasn’t happened, especially since it became the man/main event par excellence, “peacocking” included. I explain the whole story about it in the book, in the “Borrow from the Boys” chapter and I will not be repetitive.

From 1992 it evolved, changed, expanded, went online, expatriated, cancelled the woman, added a small woman representation, now cancelled it again. My “relatore” the person that introduces you and kinda mentors you through the extenuating preparation of the final thesis in university was Luigi Settembrini, the then communication director and creative consultant of Pitti.

Florence is the place where in 1957 Italian fashion was born with a defile’ in the Sala Bianca in Palazzo Pitti, where Gianfranco Ferre’ made his man collection debut, where the men socks Gallo were launched. Guccio Gucci and Marquis Pucci were home buddies. Firenze is where you breathe history, culture and fashion like nowhere else in the world, it’s the noble of the family of the fashion capitals.

This seemed the perfect backdrop to hold a workshop on how to feel empowered by maintaining your own style in the world of fashion. Part of the job of #luxuryisastateofmind and making all look effortless chic was done by the J.K. Place and its director, Claudio Meli.

What to do like an Italian, or, in other words, how not to look like a tourist.

·         Don’t confuse Pitti Immagine with Palazzo Pitti, Santa Maria Novella the train station, the basilica or the farmacia;

It's ok to walk the streets with that feeling that Caterina de' Medici will show up around the corner with one hell of a damask gown and a cascade of emeralds: it happens to the veterans

·         Scudieri is for the orange zest dipped in dark chocolate, winter or summer;

·         Ice cream is at Perche’ no

·         Don’t be stars truck, play it cool; They are all peacocks, some are fake, the real ones don’t hang out at the entrance of the Fortezza;

·         Be aware, you may find your friend from 20 years ago

·         Go local, like follow Claudio Meli’s footsteps, hang out at the J.K. Place and make yourself acquainted with "the other Florence" the artists and artesans of the sublime.

·         Don’t wear logos, branding or, for that, any cheap Zara knockoffs of logos and brands

The Cheat Sheet of Italian Style // Book is still found HERE and HERE (if you live in the UK or prefer using the Pound). 

how to be Italian, italian style, slow fashion, the cheat sheet, the Italian way

Forget Sophia Loren: Italian style dished out

It’s ok to connect Sophia Loren and Anita Eckberg in the Fontana di Trevi when thinking of Italian style. That was la dolce vita, Cinecitta’ and the luxurious and extravagant lives of the first paparazzi-ed movie stars.

 a screenshot for the movie  "Made in Italy"  of my new obsession channel M2M

a screenshot for the movie "Made in Italy" of my new obsession channel M2M

That’s a good starting point, when thinking of “the Italian way”, it’s sweet, retro and glamorous. But, and here you have to trust me, we kinda moved from Sophia. She grew, evolved and became an Hollywood icon of Italian beauty, but Italians don’t recognize themselves in her anymore, we think she is the glory of our past, we are somehow proud of her, yet she belongs to a collective imaginary that is not modern anymore

Style however has evolved, and her stance may lead to the misconception that Italian style means expensive clothing, glamorous wardrobes, custom made shoes and lavish lives. Ennio Flaiano said: Fashion is the self-portrait of a society. 

Virna Lisi, Anna Magnani, Monica Vitti are more of the icons we look up to, because they kept it real, with irony, sense of humor, wit, elegance, simplicity, frugality, sensuality …

 Eva Geraldine Fontanelli, one of the coolest editors, stylist, chic Italians  photo from Style du Monde

Eva Geraldine Fontanelli, one of the coolest editors, stylist, chic Italians  photo from Style du Monde

  • Coffee
  • Fresh flowers
  • Your own perfume (chapter 7 has the whole shenanigans about it)
  • Put a smile on it
  • Sneakers and leggings belong to the gym
  • Comb your hair, polish your shoes, because “you never know”
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Your grandmother’s armoire is where you go first
  • No garlic powder or canned grated Parmesan cheese wannabe
  • You fight for the best part of the fish, the cheek
  • Sunday long lunches almost always end with an animated discussion about soccer or politics
  • But the above mentioned Sunday lunches also are for fresh pastries from the local pasticceria
  • Seamstress and cobbler are preciously kept numbers
  • Coffeecoffee: expresso shot, no powder creamer or foam container
  • Big pants and big watches
 pic. from collegevintage.com

pic. from collegevintage.com

 

  • Aperol spritz before dinner, summer time
  • Pasta
  • Frugally curate the closet
  • Intangible quality of chic
  • Don’t buy a size smaller
there’s nothing more feminine, sensual, elegant, yet unconventionally pretty than alluding to a woman’s body instead of flaunting it shamelessly
— There's no shuch thing as pretty - Ch.10
  • Domestic goddessing, like Pandora Sykes calls it, is part of your life whether you are a man or a woman.
  • Flats or heels
  • Black is fine, but navy!
  • Don’t keep the good stuff for Sunday
 sabot + socks 

sabot + socks 

I learned from the movie that it's been said that "Italy is not a country, but a state of mind, a point of view, a way of understanding the world."