Arcadia Earth shuffled the foundations of living as we know it

Do you have that sensation that you hear “sustainable” everywhere and it’s becoming that meaningless word that sooner or later will be deemed to represent what’s not? You know, like people tell you “amazing” just to open their mouth but not their brain?

Well, I have bad news: a sustainable living is the ONLY way out of this mess, so what are we going todo with all this sustainability?

We better DO, conscientiously undo all that we have been pushed to do the past 2 decades, start from something and build the way up. It’s like reaching the top of the mountain (in this case it’s a landfill of trash) and then say: “Nope, I am bored, how am I going to go down? Someone send an helicopter. I want to go to THAT hill, it’s clean, it has the beach and smells good”

Just DO.

Arcadia Earth was just that: an all immersive, experiential art installation that made you the main character of the world, with caves made of paper, chandeliers made of plastic collected from the beach, where your dinner table was sitting on a green beautiful pile of trash and ocean waves were waves of plastic bottles not water.

Arcadia Earth was a unique and innovative experiential environment where guests were inspired to make simple behavioral shifts and conscious actions. The experience featured different installations curated by ARCADIA in partnership with artists Tamara Kostianovsky, Cindy Pease Roe, Etty Yaniv and Samuelle Green that explore how from eating less meat to reducing plastic use will help us live and embrace a more responsible lifestyle.

ARCADIA is an invitation to embrace a new lifestyle, the good ol’ slow living with a forward thinking twist. Each installation was developed using upcycled materials, augmented reality animations and reusable elements in the effort to reuse - recycle and reduce waste at the end of each show. I

Founded and designed by award winning experiential designer, Valentino Vettori, Arcadia Earth was born of a growing awareness of the ecological and environmental challenges we face and a desire to create a hub where brands, communities, activism, and innovative technologies come together to explore, enjoy and engage in being part of the solution.

I had the pleasure of a personal tour of the installation with Valentino and asked him a few questions. Be ready for the ride: he is unstoppable, resourceful, a disruptor, a doer, a believer, because if there’s a problem that we have created there must be a solution. With more than 20 years’ experience of working with leading fashion institutions, Valentino Vettori is passionate about restructuring how customers interact with brand environments. Vettori’s main objective has always been to inspire and engage the emotions of those visiting his installations.

FB - You believe in disrupting retail as is

VV - Retail, as physical space, needs to evolve from its commercial value (defined by the dollar x sqft formula) to a storytelling value (emotions per sqft). The future of retail is the ability to trigger sales via emotional connections and leave the e-comm to serve effectiveness and convenience

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FB - How can we give life again to a rack of clothes

VV - A rack of clothes is no longer needed as it represents the old way of shopping full sized and color options. The future is to have 1 sample reference and use digital technology to serve physical needs. In addition, the sample should be featured at the end of an immersive storytelling experience describing its meaning and values ( like in a museum when you buy a book after seeing the exhibit .. exit trough the gift shop)

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FB - Customers are ready for responsible consumption, or at least receptive and available to be inspired again, how do we prepare designers?

VV - Designers are unaware of solutions and alternative materials.. someone, (like YKK for the hardware, Supima for the cotton or TENCEL for the yarn) should create a new line of sustainable alternatives to the most difficult fabrics like Lycra, nylon or leather. Those solutions should receive tax brakes and government grands to incentivize their use (right now they are too expensive and not price competitive)

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FB - It’s a revolution, the rules of consumption are fast changing, not many understand them, can you predict who will be winning?

VV - The demand for better products will force the change. Like the ORGANIC movement, consumers will become aware of the problem associated with the current fast fashion industry and polluted processes and will demand solutions. The winner may end up be the fast fashion itself as this new trend its already started and they are normally quick to own it

lisu vega solo exhibition: you'll never look at fashion the same


Continuing the conversation started with Design Miami/ of blending different visual languages into a global discourse and a larger spectrum of reach, I had the honor of visiting the studio of Lisu Vega and attending the opening of her solo exhibition El Cuerpo de la Obra

Lisu comes from an education in fine arts and experiential graphic design, a practice that involves the manipulation of typography, color, imagery, form, texture, technology to create environments that communicate. I was caught by one of her bib/necklaces made of recycled nautical ropes, in the literal sense of the word and found out that her fashion has a greater cause. An enormous body or work that doesn’t reflect her small figure, but her limitless passion, strength and believe in her mission to use fashion for a social and political purpose, her pieces become wearable art.

ONE LOVE

The social phase is called One Love from pictures of people she took randomly in the streets of the world, she combined two faces at the time creating a non-existent identity that overcomes geographical and political borders, since the only thing that unites everybody is love.

RECYCLE

The Recycle has the intention of manipulating abandoned ropes from useless corpses infesting the oceans and landfills into a new identity, in whimsical necklaces/bib/vest. What happened: she was wearing one of those at the reception where we first met and all I wanted was to wear one.

RESISTENCIA

The political phase of her body of work is called Resistencia and it consists of her efforts of raising awareness and funds through the sales and exhibitions of her creations for the people of Venezuela, her country of origin which has been experiencing one of the worst political, economic and social crisis of all times.

WHAT NOW?

All you want to do is “do something” right?

Lisu’s motivation is a call, a mix of mission and passion, she wants to leave her children a better life and, more than anything else, she wants to lead by example.  As an expat she has the advantages of using her artistic skills and her voice to bring awareness and interrupt the silence. There’s the corporeal element that calls and draws attention to the concept, always, in all of her pieces, it something that comes from within and, as such, it cannot not move to action.

What’s your call?

What do you want to do to leave to your children?

THE SUSTAINABLE CHIC FILES - VOL.1

I think I found what I want to do with all this sustainability.

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The word is used so much that if you don’t stop and think when and how you use it, it becomes meaningless like amazing that from being amazing it became an artifice when someone doesn’t really know what to say and blurts it out to fill a space or a silence. A miserable destiny that we cannot afford.

How I do contribute to a sustainable world? It’s the 1 mill $ question that paralyzes many because it seems insurmountable. A sustainable business, a sustainable world, the UN has defined 17 goals, it’s a kaleidoscope. If you look at it as a puzzle, adopt a technique and follow the plan. It’s a lifestyle, some changes are minimal, some consist of more efforts. Somewhere you must start from and the answer is: it starts from one or it won’t never become collective.

Is production what your business is about? Labor laws, gender equality, innovation you have plenty

Are you a designer? There you go, from blockchain to sourcing, from carbon footprint to climate change to pollution to water usage.

I am a writer, possibly a professor soon, so how can I contribute to making the fashion world more sustainable? Story telling is my best bet, it comes natural. While I am working on The Sustainable Chic Manifesto there are 2 statements that I aspire to make collide:

sustainable is already built in luxury + Fashion is an essential element of being human

As a result, if we try to conduct a sustainable chic life, one person at a time, the world will become a better place.

And here are some inspirational images that represent freedom, luxury, moods, elegance to give you an idea where we will be going with these files.

There are also gossip and BS to throw in the equation, it’s not all violets and roses, you’ll find in the naysayers your major strength. Those who say “it’s useless” “I don’t believe in it” “You are wasting your time” will come around asking you how you did it when you are so ahead of the game. So here a mood-board, because, honestly, life’s too short and you have to laugh. I also suggest following Fuckology and Gary Janetti on Instagram, they’ll liberate your instincts once a day.

1- “I miss you but you can very well go fuck yourself”

2- May this be your morning call.

3- wear silk undies, and not giving a f&*k will never be more chic





santa baby 2018

This year I am dead serious and feel like Ertha Kitt.

I don’t have expectations, but I have standards and I am turning 50

A ring.

It can mean on the phone too, because don’t you dare forget my birthday. The Pomellato Nudo is always been on my top list.

The deed.

A small act of kindness. Why is it that I have never been attached to owning an apartment, a property? Is it the nomad in me, am I a hobo by nature? I do adapt where I am, luxury is a state of mind. It’s an attitude.

As for the furs, I believe in vintage, flea markets and second-hand real furs and I have no intention of offending anyone, we’ll have to agree to disagree, or be more empathetic.

A kiss.

Yes, under the mistletoe and with these booties.

from @aminamuaddi

from @aminamuaddi

A sable

I turned a big fan of #sottolapelliccianiente

A ‘54 convertible, blue

Always dreamed of a vintage convertible, preferably a Mercedez Benz 2 seater the color of a pool in the winter

It could very well be an E-Type and I know the Prince will not be included, I know. I’ll have the kiss above.

A yacht.

A trip to a chic beach for New Years? Some St. Barth or Cat Key or Eleuthera to welcome the new year barefoot, sand, crashing waves and moon, champagne of course. But, somehow, when I think of the holidays, even after 22 years in subtropical Miami, I always think of snow and cold and fireplace, hence The Holiday as my favorite Christmas movie of all times.

My Santa Baby list always also includes hints of my new year’s intention. Every year I think of a word that will serve as support, exhortation, encouragement, guidance for the year to come. I have stopped making the dreaded resolutions years ago. Living with a list hanging on my neck would give me the anxiety of trying to fix my life with dreams I had no control over, the disillusion of failure by day 15/365 and the social pressure of having to conform to a habit that didn’t bring me pleasure.

Instead I thought of a risk management tool: what to do in case of adversity. Shit happens and when you think of your NY resolution, you prospect nothing short from idillic, you are never prepared for the flat tire on the causeway type of reality. So counting on a bit of meditation, an overlook at the year gone and the many, many accomplishments that one never pats oneself on the shoulder for, I incept a sort of cathartic experience that manifests that one word.

So (drumroll, ball-drop moment, 10 … 9 .. 8 ) the word for the year is courage which I add to the many sexy, frivolous, materialistic and, of course, rewarding and celebratory words that fill this Santa Baby list.

This year I had to face adversity, such as an Administration with which I share no values, the reality of increased violence and aggressive behavior in the streets where I live, the still unresolved loss of my grandmother and other close friends. A woman and a mother always finds the strength somewhere within to keep going and remain human “but also within the human woman is the animal instinctual Self. […] This Self must have freedom to move, to speak, to be angry and to create. The Self is durable, resilient, and possesses high intuition. […] She is the soul-maker, the wolf-raiser, the keeper of things wild.” - Women Who Run With the Wolves

I found the courage to express my opinion and the satisfying feeling that generates from freely admitting that I love writing, producing meaningful content, knowing that there’s a small tight tribe inspired by what I say and how I say it. It took me 50 years to realize how courage is empowering and that I am worth every single thought, idea and action I generate, that courage will be a thing for 2019.

Happy New Year







Funkshion: the Future Special Edition fires up the conversation on sustainability in Miami Beach

Funkshion fired up the conversation on sustainability in Miami Beach with The Future Special Edition, a three-day interactive platform aimed at making the cause real in a city battered by the effects of global warming and rising sea-level.

Numbers like 13 million tons of clothing thrown away each year are real and astonishing and become more so when they resonate to the consumers with the actions taken by sustainable establishments, practices and professionals. The support of the City of Miami Beach was decisive with the launch of the first of its kind initiative in South Florida.

The panel discussion drew the attention on The Importance of Sustainable Fashion with the participation of prominent ethical entrepreneurs like Veronica Pesantes of The Onikas, Sophie Zembra owner and founder of Wynwood’s own Antidote, as well Patrick Duffy co-founder of Global Fashion Exchange and Daniele D’Orazi from Istituto Marangoni.

Purpose, transparency, ethical production were discussed among the panelists, conscious or “critical consumerism” was a concept raised, because, let’s be honest everyone has had in their life that “I have nothing to wear” moment.

Patrick Duffy brought sexy back to clothes swapping, a practice that creates community, promotes a healthy relationship with your own wardrobe and stops the vicious circle of fast fashion and the imprisonment of buying for the sake of buying.

Antidote’s “Ete ‘84” first runway show in collaboration with Miami City Ballet was the best show I personally have ever seen in Miami, chic, elegant, fun, fashionable, feminine, the right dose of everything, masterfully orchestrated into an experience that with music, dance, smiles, lavender and rose’ catapulted the audience in a carefree afternoon in Provence.

Not really.

The takeaways:

The conversation was amplified even in Miami where until then it had been restricted to a small circle of die-hard

Adopting sustainable practices isn’t “bad for retailers”, but it’s the only way they will be able to survive the next 10 years;

Same goes for fashion students: they have to see it as the opportunity to start their business based on ethical principles … wait a minute, isn’t this common sense? Well it was, it went out of fashion surpassed by the mindless need to live on the fast lane and now we just need to reinstate common sense.

As Sophie put it: my wish is that I will not have to be here in 5 years from now as the exception, because sustainable will become the norm.

Buying second-hand, vintage or clothes swapping is sexy, builds community, creates the happy environment that before used to be going shopping with your friends.

ANNOUNCEMENT ——>

ANTIDOTE is the only brick ‘n mortar local establishment that has chosen to sell and showcase the book, and we are genuinely thrilled about it. When in town, you know where to go.

#ataglance Spring 2019 fashion month

Spring 2019 Fashion month will go down in history for evoking real emotions.

Isn’t fashion overall all about it?

Fashion is a dream, a dream with a scope, to be of use to women, “to make sense in the life of a woman” as Robin Givhan unsurprisingly begs.

“But actually, I came to decide that this idea of escape is a bull shit,” said Pierpaolo Piccioli  “You should be free to be who you are wherever you are, not be running off to some community in the forest.”

That serves also for a social media community, I am interpreting at my leisure.

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Why was Valentino, once again, the best show of the season? It evoked romantic emotions, it provided that luxurious, extravagant, luxe tale you tell yourself every time you get dressed. Jo Ellison described it “a stunning collection of wonderful clothes that had the same minimal simplicity of his most extravagant creations”  

 

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Miuccia Prada, in both her runways, she speaks to women, not on behalf of them. She is a “political thinker” according to Business of Fashion’s Tim Blanks. Both Miu Miu and Prada are a well-defined woman and both identities lined up the general sense of women vs. men, vulnerability being always women’s strength, that carte blanche that allows women to carve their position and have their voice heard, even if it is with clothes, the primal language.

Who wears the pants?


 

 

Some issues were addressed, because:

 

The designers who show their collections on the runway work in a rarefied environment and serve a niche market. But what they do dictates the direction in which the industry will go. They can elevate the banal and declare the mundane desirable.

Women designing for women and the role of a designer who designs for women vs. multi-million contract creative designer hired to sell a brand through clothes, or, in an unorthodox and anachronistic way, via sex. As Vanessa Friedman noted, the ‘70s represented a whole new kind revolution from the #metoo and the #believesurvivors movement. Paris Fashion Week, especially YSL and Celine, since it is about them that I am talking about, coincided with the Bill Cosby jail sentence and one of the darkest moments of American and democracy history the Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Senate hearing.

Rick Owens’ burning pyramid was the un-planned symbol of the season, it  goes without saying.

The other pressing debate was “what are we supposed to do with all these influencers”?

Somehow the answer is above: women live, work, drive, travel, cover or are destined to be voted in public roles, they aren’t inspired by a posed and paid for picture on Instagram.

 

Stay angry, stay foolish.

Bibhu Mohapatra, an intimate interview

During his visit of the Istituto Marangoni in Miami, I had the honor and privilege to have an intimate conversation with Bibhu Mohapatra. Before he enchanted a full house students, admirers, press and industry professionals.

Bibhu is a man of storytelling, a curious traveler (every year he tries to visit a new country), he is an observer, a supporter (from a trip to Laos and a local workshop encounter, came a special material for his collection inspired by Nancy Cunard, leather woven with silk that was used to replicate in a Bibhu way her leather jacket) a cross-cultural enabler.

 Images courtesy of www.worldredeye.com

FB - EVOKE - You a story teller, what’s the process of your story telling?

His biography and career trajectory are influenced by a sheer admiration for a strong, thought-provoking female lead character that surpasses frontiers. From a traditional household in the East Coast of India to dressing First Lady Michelle Obama, women have been at the center of his life. His mother loved sewing and taught him how to, a new development of the collection of knitwear and separates was born last year dedicated to her. Empowering women with what they wear by inspiring them to be leaders? Most of the times from an image, a documentary, a trip, comes the woman that will be the inspiration for the next collection. “She is not necessarily a fashionista, she is not always living” but she is always a woman defined by her mission, image and sense of style. His intent, mission and message are clear, he wants to “empower women with authenticity.”

 

FB - TO EMERGE YOU HAVE TO LEAD – What was the moment or the event that made you choose to move out on your own?

“I knew I had to work if I wanted to keep a roof over my head”, his honest and authentic way of being is the force that motivates him, and always did, from the moment he left his town for America, the land where “You can make your dreams come true, if you work hard”.

After years of designing for Halston and J. Mendel, he launched his eponymous line because he had a message he wanted the world to know. Although he knew he was never going to have the unlimited budget like when designing furs (“all you had to do was create the best, doesn’t matter how much it would cost”) with the strong support system of friends, colleagues and family that exhorted him it was time to design, the Bibhu woman was ready. Was he scared, thrilled, intimidated, excited? All of the above, FYI he would be drawing the sketches on the wall to be able to make all the changes before cutting the patterns. He is always been aware of the balance between commerce and creativity, he first majored in business, after all.

 

HERITAGE

E. Hughes: “What makes you special?”

B. Mohapatra: “My parents”

He told us of the moment his family accompanied him at the airport, first time traveler flying to America as a freshman. “You have to remember where you come from and be grateful, my father recommended. My story is authentic and it’s reflected in my craft.”

Culture defines us”, Eva Hughes suggested. That was the center topic of the conversation with Mohapatra and if there was one solid take-away, especially for the students, was the encouragement to “remain true to yourself. After I left, I held on to ideas, memories.”

 

FB - ARE YOU A ROMANTIC? The foundation of your collections is on evening wear in a world dominated by streetwear.

“Fashion has become fast, quick, but longevity is what I want to see in my clothes. The timelessness that gives my pieces longevity.” He is a designer known for his eveningwear, but with the new collection that will be presented February 2019 there will be an evolution with knitwear and separates that will serve as a transitional pieces from evening looks to daywear. Now don’t expect the white tee, I have heard that knits will be made in Italy, in other words, the Bibhu touch will keep the DNA alive.

 

FB - BALANCING ACT precious materials, vibrant colors and articulate garment construction is your heritage which you respect and honor in you collections. How do you balance heritage with cutting edge technology.

“Cutting edge doesn’t exist without heritage”

Think of what he said right here and realize how privileged.

 

FB - LUXURY IS A STATE OF MIND: you went from furs to evening wear to dressing our former First Lady to diamonds. Is the road to luxury a “sky is the limit” for you?

Again, he brings it down to extreme humbleness. His jewelry collaboration with De Beers and Forevermark sparked at a White House black tie event, after having designed an outfit for Michelle Obama’s first state visit to India. “I never worked with diamonds, but my mother always had a satchel with heirloom jewelry, those that are passed generation after generation. One day I asked to show it to me” and many of the pieces that belonged to his grandmother and great grandmother have been now reproduced in this new collaboration. He is interested in the process, whether it’s embroidery or diamonds and casting precious stones. He doesn’t deny that there will be a shoe line in the future, neither he confirms, but if there will be, it will be based on exquisite craftsmanship. New fresh crop of designers, take note: keep a constant curiosity for craft, learn the art, and when the moment of the collaboration comes, you’ll be ready.  

 

FB - MENTORING you have been nominated a SUPIMA mentor, beside empowering women with your designs, you give back to young and emerging students. “I enjoy supporting young talents, give them a hand” and he definitely has much experience and suggestions to give, but he also says “I take more from them, I learn as well.” And that is the best part of what he does. I was told the school visit in the morning was a wealth of information.

When empathy is at the base of your actions.

Mohapatra is that gratefulness whisperer.

 

Little that we knew, fashion icon Barbara Hulanicki, OBE was in the house and with Istituto Marangoni’s Director of Studies Massimo Casagrande, Ms. Hughes, Bibhu and husband Bobby Beard, we all ended up on the 6th floor balcony (because Miami) closing down the house, way after the cocktail was supposed to finish.

The conversation was already off-records, I didn’t take notes, but truly I should have (#notetoself for next time). If those planters could talk.

The 2018 Edition of the Miami Fashion Film Festival




September 20 through the 22 the Miami Fashion Film Festival celebrated its 6th edition with a series of lectures such as Beyond Biba, a portrait of Barbara Hulanicki in collaboration with the Miami Fashion Institute, documentaries such as The Gospel according to Andre Leon Talley and award ceremonies at the Miami Beach Cinematheque.

What’s the Miami Fashion Film Festival?

Bringing attention to the historical interdependence between art and fashion and its influences, the Miami Fashion Film Festival adds to the “fashion is art” narrative with local and international films that highlight fashion design through storytelling, graphics, sound, and motion, in real and digitally imagined environments. Fashion Inspires More in a non-profit organization that expands the fashion dialogue through art, technology and education.

I have been a member at large of the jury for two years and this time I was honored with introducing the 5 finalists that were Made in Italy.

There were some common elements that made them current and actual, despite being produced in different moments by different teams. A raw state of feelings: Love, fear, joy, youth, authenticity, uniqueness. Individuals with strong personalities spanning social, economic and cultural diverse realities, whether in an urban, suburban or natural setting, characters are real, living, working and doing wheelies. The runway is not anymore the glitzy set during fashion week, it blurs to the streets, the desert, the beach, the block where you grew up, the bus, the subway, the body shop, the backstage.

Fashion is a form of art.

And here I am quoting the book: “yes, I take Fashion seriously. Fashion is a loaded word. Fashion is dream, storytelling, a slow process, emotion, inspiration. Fashion is performance, a transmitted and decoded heritage.”

After watching these films, fashion comes across as that silent partner that accompanies other forms of art like dance, film making, painting, music, it’s the background, the contour that unifies craftsmanship, techniques, research, heritage, sartorial skills.

And here I am closing with a quote from esteemed New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman: “the whole point of fashion should be about giving people what they never knew they wanted - what they couldn’t imagine they wanted – until they saw it.”

Once again, I find myself empowered every time I am surrounded by fashion and women who inspire me to do more.