somewhere along fashion month: between big shoulders and popcorns, it's all about the cowboy boots

It's only February and we already went to Florence for Pitti, Paris for couture, New York for a fashion week with zero to none pulse except for guess who? By now you should know. 

I will share some images, looks, ideas, and thoughts in chronological order.

Valentino Haute Couture defined a standard, it reached the stars and next time it'll be a challenge for anyone to top it off. 

“The essence of the dream of couture is its past,” [...] “But I was not the kind of kid who had a grandma who wore couture. So I wanted to take elements of classic couture — volume, ruffles, bows — but do them in the lightest way I could imagine, because it is only when you confront your past that you can face your future.”
— Pierpaolo Piccioli

Vanessa Friedman continues in the NYTimes Style section: 

"The effect was enthralling: Luscious though it all was, the stuffing had been let out. It was couture for the casual, everyday era, without pandering or gimmicks. Oh, this old (extraordinary) thing? I just threw it on this morning."

 

In January I had foreseen this cowboy boots epidemic

Here's proof that some of the most stylish babes got the memo. We don't follow trends, we set them, and here's an example of how to do it. 

Raf Simons is at the helm of Calvin Klein and he already set some pretty cool records. Exactly a year ago Kaia Gerber debuted in his debut collection, and from there history repeated itself, Cindy replaced by Kaia, denim on denim, cowboy boots. This time it was an apocalyptic farm-topia covered in popcorns. Leandra Medine thinks

"That’s not just a show — that’s a glimpse into the mind of an artist carrying the weight of responsibility for one of the greatest American fashion houses while reconciling his own complicated relationship with the country that employs him."

ALERT? My 2 cents: watch the explosion of the 80s volumes and feelings in 1 look. 

sweater: DONE; coat: DONE; gloves: DONE; prairie skirt: DONE. This is ME when I was living in Milan, early 90s and watch it, it'll be me again. 

sweater: DONE; coat: DONE; gloves: DONE; prairie skirt: DONE.

This is ME when I was living in Milan, early 90s and watch it, it'll be me again. 

So, while in NYC nothing was really worth mentioning, except for The Row and Marc Jacobs London, oh London. 

Creativity, freedom, fun, sartorial heritage. 

So far we awed at Simone Rocha and bid adieu to Christopher Bailey, can't wait for McQueen and Stella, for example. 

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What's up 2018? on cowboy boots, robes and wearing black, plus more

That time of the year when I have defined my intention, started already seeing signs of manifestation.

Now on to making all those hours of watching runways, reading reportages on the state of Fashion and studying the MoMa's course Fashion as Design  into use.

I am going to try and put my thoughts and intuition into fruition and reveal what the mood of he year will be. Never been following trends, but I love seeing them at their inception and letting my imagination run wild on the runways. Never like in the last couple of seasons, the runways have been a vivid pulse of reality, remember last year's the Women's March and the pink pussy hats. 

I feel the need of a couple of disclaimers before I show you my way. 

A) there's no outfit of the day, wear this, go buy that, I am only really really good at telling you the story and then friend like always and everybody take its turn. I am useless at making lists not boring, and there are so many websites that do that, for any budget, that I would be a needle in the haystack. 

B) According to moi, I have learned to talk like Miss Piggy, there are really two trend setters in the world of Fashion : Miuccia, still in pole position since her nylon backpack and Raf Simons, because once a genius, always one.  If you don't count Karl Lagerfeld that is, the kid is out of any human being league.

Cowboy boots.

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They have a social connotation that exudes their practicality in rodeos, bull fighting and in How the West was Won. They are hard core Americana, they mean rugged individuality and adventure, gold, horses, desert, dust, they are rebellious and unconventional. The pivotal moment of their return was Raf Simons’ latest fall Calvin Klein runway.

For me personally they are not a repeat, it’s not a “come back”, I haven’t lived in the US long enough to have experienced James Dean or Patricia Arquette in True Romance, or Thelma & Louise for that matter, but the image of them looks so damn good in all those settings, that I feel the time has come to go for them. 

If you have dem boots in your closet from back in your Thelma & Louise days, good for you, aim at the #30wears, infuse them with the new aesthetic of skirt suit and embrace them. If you don’t own them, like me,  but crave them, like me, venture the splurge only if you strongly believe in them. Do the exercise of the three looks: if you can’t combine them with ease, and by that I mean don't feel costumy but comfortable in at least three different occasions, they are not worth the effort.

ADDENDUM

Sure enough, look who showed up at the GG? Talking about the preview of the mood for 2018

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Robe de chambre

Wearing pajamas all day is not only an Instagram hashtag, it can be done with elegance and chicness. Miuccia has taken the elegant austere and understated Milanese bourgeoisie to a new level, adding feathers and repeating them for two seasons.

Alessandro Michele took the wardrobe of Mr. and Mrs. Chruchill in The Gathering Storm and transported it in the runways. The lush of velvet, damask, chintz, snakes, high teas should give you some inspiration.

How do you accomplish it?

Vintage markets and online treasures, explore Ebay for real kimonos, there are ways to keep it sustainable and recycled before wearing a knock off produced by underpaid, abused, enslaved, discriminated workers.

On this subject, I can’t refrain from discussing the Time’s Up movement, and the powerful statement that hundreds of women and men left for the books by choosing to wear black at the 75th Golden Globes.

It’s a stance, not a ‘fashion statement’, it’s an act of social readiness that uses Fashion as a powerful industry, it’s a political statement also, yes, it’s a byproduct of the times we are living, it’s an act of solidarity with all who have had the guts to speak up and denounce harassment, discrimination and abuse and with all the victims who deserve a voice, funds and to know that they, too, can speak up, fight intimidation and help stop unlawful practices of slavery and abuse.

There have been controversy around the movement that was launched on New Year’s Day, all the Joan Rivers (bless her soul) aficionados say that even if women are wearing black, they will be wearing see through lace and sexy corsets and provoke judgments. Honestly, what a missed opportunity to understand the principle that stands behind the movement. No matter the color chosen, see for example the “Green Carpet Challenge” that has been dominating the red carpets, it’s not the color, it’s not an attempt at censuring women and what they wear, on a contrary, it’s an message with a deeper impact aimed at obliterating the rooted practice of demonizing a woman’s (man) body. And watch it go great lengths, if only we have learned something from the pink pussy hats from last year’s Women March.  

The time is up on homophobia, transphobia, harassment, racism, we are in a revolution where our voice is the most powerful tool. And our dresses too. 

Oh and BTW, you’ll find me following the men collections next week from Pitti.

Santa Baby

My ultimate Santa's list: expect the unexpected. I have a story to tell about my Santa list.

My birthday is close to Christmas, growing up in Italy where we celebrate as much as we do here for Thanksgiving, I had to defend my birthday like a lioness (my hair was my best ally). I have consistently taken the list of items seriously and more seriously, ending up being an expert of high low, dolls and toys, 

TIME.

I want to slow time, to make it count, I want to be present, appreciate the party, lose the shoe and wait for the Prince to arrive with the other one.

BTW: do we want to talk about series 2 of The Crown, like, especially, episode 4 when Princess Margaret meets Snowdon? Or is it just for Matthew Goode, crickey!

adakokosar

Dear prince, 

whomever you are, may the crystal slippers be these Kokosar's Paciotti by Midnight, ok? 

A DOWNTOWN VIBE

I feel for some black leather and a romantic fire escape meet up with a neighbor, walking blocks instead of being stuck in traffic for hours. I want that chic style you find on the street like Bill Cunningham would find on his favorite corner of 5th Ave. 

VELVET

JOAN DIDION

I want to write like her, think like her, find my soulmate like her, live somewhere in Venice Beach like her. 

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GIVE 

I find more and more happiness in giving as a form of receiving. 

My top 3 if you were prompted to donate, but needed guidance: 

USA for UNHCR 

UN Women Miami chapter 

Lotus House 

A NECK-PARTY WORTH A FIORUCCI WINDOW

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Ignore this underage irresistible #Coachellagoals and if you can, focus on the the Little Lux necklace, I have found them in the Man Repeller gift guide and boy, Santa Baby, last minute appeal, I think I need one before the end of the year. 

To complete the '80s child vibe, check The Fox Pomona 

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2017 IS OVER

Because a lady must speak her mind. And honestly, we got enough of this 2017, and not that we have anything against you, but boy ... from the bottom of my heart, leave us in peace already.

Good riddance. 

courtesy of www.misshavishamscuriosities.com

courtesy of www.misshavishamscuriosities.com

 

 

 

 

fashion, it's a fashion life, itsafashionlife

Fashion revolution is every day

Sustainable is a word I will never tire of hearing, saying and a lifestyle I will always be compelled to practice. Depending on the generation, you encounter people that are thrilled to use it, know about it, want to share their practices, discoveries and habits for a better world or simply tag people that prcatice it as tree huggers (as if it were a dishonor). 

There's people, so very much 2001, that don't want to know, duck their head under the sand like an ostrich, still arrogantly believing that "someone" will do it for them, whether in politics, enviroment, education, health, minorities and they don't have the responsibility to do anything. 

It's time to wake up and be active citizens, choose your cause and do anything that it's in your power and more, go the extra step, don't wrap your eyes with prosciutto. Our children are born in a world in which they will have to deal with the mistakes that us and the generation before us have made. We can't reverse global warming, landfills of plastic bottles, deadly polluted rivers, but it's in our power to stop the deterioration. 

HOW?

I am going to give you two suggestions. 

 

Fashion Revolution because fashion is about feeling good, fashion is knowing that what you wear hasn't been produced under slavery conditions, that nobody has to work 120 hours overtime a month for that damn t-shirt that you will wear 3 times and throw away because it's destroyed and it will, itself, pile up in a landfill that will never disappear from Earth. Fashion is about not wanting more, but desiring a piece so much that you end up cherishing, taking care of, mending, fixing and wearing it for as long as you can. Fashion is knowing who made the clothes that you wear, knowing where did it all begun, feeling empowered by knowing that you saved money to purchase that beautiful item you wanted.

All of the above is the way I grew up thinking that fashion was about, it's why I fell in love with fashion, it's the Italian way of dressing, owning your style with that conscience that you always are appropriate wherever you go, because luxury is first a state of mind. 

It's a Revolution that wants to bring back things to where they were before, the Italian way I must say.  Join the movement and help spread the voice, and if you want a crush course on how to attain it, get the book here.

NOTE: Sharing some pictures of the masterclass held at Miami Dade College's Fashion Institute during Miami Fashion Week where we were enlightened by Orsola de Castro, the founder of Fashion Revolution, Barbara Hulanicki, OBE founder of legendary Biba and fashion visionaire supreme and Willie Walters, director of fashion at London's Central Saint Martins

Plastic Free July and every month. 

Why? I am going to give you 7 reasons that the Italian in me would use to convince you:

1. who needs a straw, really? Unless you had dental surgery

2. who drinks coffee in the paper/plastic cup?

3. who eats food from foam containers? Honestly, they make an annoying noise and make the food taste weirdly synthetic. 

4. why would you eat from plastic plates with plastic cutlery? China and silverware is not meant to keep for Sundays. 

5. how gross and vulgar is that Solo red cup? (<--- you bet Cecilia knows better when she'll be in college)

6. who does groceries without recycled bags anymore? In Italy they charge you for every plastic bag the supermarket provides you, and it's been like this for as long as I remember. 

7. why would you drink water from a plastic bottle? Do you even know how many bacteria are stored in that bottle and that it is not recyclable? 

Accept the pledge & CHOOSE TO REFUSE

NOTE: did you notice how I was holding a plastic coffee cup at the event with Barbara Hulanicki? Since after I took the pledge, I have been so resilient to choose to refuse and wherever I go I ask for a glass or porcelain cup for my coffee. It doesn't hurt asking, you get the side eye, but they always have it. 

 

 

it's a fashion life, itsafashionlife, slow fashion

En Avance celebrates 24 years of timeless elegance

March 24 marked the 24th anniversary of En Avance one of the most long-lived multi brand stores in Miami. Its story, as many other boutiques around the world, started with the vision and impeccable taste of Karen Quinones, an arbiter of taste.

En Avance is an all-encompassing lifestyle boutique, the ones that you enter to be inspired, when you get that shopping itch, you know when you get the 3 pm sugar crave and you don’t want Starbucks, but Laduree. It’s like a moodboard, you enter a world of style, elegance, permeated by chic, Assouline books and Maison Francis Kurdjian fine fragrances included.

The boutique has the Karen imprint allover it from Fornasetti to the Vintner’s daughter couture face oil, from Sacai to Philosophy, from Racil to Donna Karan’s label Urban Zen. The boutique tells a story with each piece hand-picked by Karen who travels extensively during fashion month to the fashion capitals and off season to places and culturally absorbs habits, colors, artisanal techniques and blends everything in a most exquisite high-brow low of taste.

The store is everything I preach in the book: slow fashion, quality, research, chic, elegant, lifestyle, fun, intellectual stimulation, understated luxury, conversation, style. And I am saying this not to flatter myself, but an another way of showing how Italian style can be lived anywhere and it’s not acquired through an hedonistic treadmill of “look at me look at me how perfectly photo-shopped I am, I look like everyone else and you should too”, but by sober normality based on taste, culture, education, curiosity that become habits. Karen is all that, her vitality, profound knowledge and exquisite sense of style perspire in every inch of her boutique.

“Luxury resides in the mind when it revolves around quality not quantity. Time is the only element in your life that is luxurious when it abounds.”
— The Cheat Sheet of Italian Style, page 49

In the occasion of the anniversary celebration, and in true En Avance style, the dynamic duo behind Arje’ was the guest of honor presenting Chapter 1 of their collection. I got to chat with them a bit as it seemed we were drawn to each other from the moment I walked into the store. For Oliver and Bessie it’s all about the origin, the essence of everything, where quality originates. They have taken the engulfed fashion system into pieces and re-elaborated the puzzle into a new formula and reinterpretation of see-now-buy-now

There’s a strong element of fluidity, the collections are chapters, that follow a person’s life and adapt to the experience and the body like rainwater, pure modern luxury. They brought the fashion system back to one single principle relationship. Through the relationship with the manufacturers, built over the years, the have the fabrics produced in the color and nuances they choose for the chapter, and they commit to buy directly the quantity they will be producing and selling, skipping the phase of the sample production, which is at the same time a financial burden that can be avoided and commitment to reduce waste and make the product sustainable.

The cultivate the relationship with the stores and buyers who buy what they see, or “feel” in Arje' language, and sell their clients right away, cutting the wait time, and providing immediate esthetic remuneration. The same way I met Oliver and Bessie during the trunk show, many others have done it during the months of March and April. Instead of selling from a showroom at closed doors, with the trunkshow formula they interact with their ideal clientele, absorb ideas, styles, suggestions, tips, taste the pulse and take notes for the following chapter.

The collections are called chapters, you may have noticed, and not seasons, because it’s not about the weather or the climate, but about the relationship with your body, you change jobs, you move to a new city or country, you change marital status, you have a baby regardless of the seasons, what changes is the essence and with that your body and style evolve.

This idea of the partnership whether is with a vendor or with your own body, is fully reflected in En Avance where you go to build your wardrobe, not to mindlessly purchase to fill in a superficial gap.

The store is that place that shows how sustainability is chic, elegant, unique, sensual, modern. 

it's a fashion life, review, style

North Sails X Saks Fifth Avenue: first row from a 80 ft yacht

March is the month-after in a fashion life, when you recuperate after the overload of hundreds of runway shows and virtually traveling over the four fashion capitals.

Meanwhile back at the villa, Miami is what Miami best does: sun, ocean and wind make Miami the designated sailing capital in March.

North Sails Collections didn’t miss the opportunity and, in partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue, took their new spring collection on a National pop-up shop through various Florida locations.

The tour begun in Miami on the occasion of the 52 Super Series Royal Cup (for the non familiar, imagine sleek sailing boats gliding in the bay, forget the race, as team Italia with Azzurra won and I don’t want to sound too pompous!). A handful of us were lucky enough to be invited to the viewing tour of the race, in other words we had an unobstructed first row view of the race floating on a 80 ft Hatteras yacht.

And yes, it was as glamorous and fierce as it sounds.

It only gets better: the collection was available to see, touch and try, a “see now, buy now” type of show, better than a trunk show.

Also, we were graced by David Hughes, the sailor pedigreed with a double Olympic win. I will spare you the knots, the sails, the currents and the tides because it can get technical, but let it be known that sailing is my jam. I grew up in the town known for its yachting and boating industry, in a family of sailors, I used to sail myself, many of our summers were sailing adventures in the Med.

Down to business: the clothes are luxury level high performance athletic wear. See how I am not using “athleisure” because this is not a fashion brand hopping on the athletic look wagon, this is pure high quality and here you know #whomademyclothes.

Tell you in a story.

North Sails is one of the oldest modern sailmakers in the world, “experts in wind and water”: years of research, technical elements, advanced technology. Stop for a second and think of a sail: she needs to be light yet strong, responding yet surviving the weather elements, changes shape and morphs from a roll into a windblown triangle. Translated into wearable terms, intarsio sweatshirts give you flexibility and comfort without giving in style, light jackets are almost imperceptible yet are strong enough to protect you from wind or rain. Each piece is versatile enough to be added to any closet and blend into any outfit creating that overall feel of effortless elegance.

One of the things to never do while dressing the Italian way and adopting Italian style is to overthink or over-match your looks, mix high and low, mix a man blazer with a pair of slouchy pants, add stiletto to the simplest sweatshirt and you present yourself with empowered nonchalance.

Mix high & low 

So here’s a suggestion: pick any of the styles of the North Sails Collection and mix it with anything that you currently own, especially something you haven’t worn in a while. And this is the best sustainable piece of advice I can give you: buy with an intention.  Indulging in mindless consumerism is something of the past and brought us to a collapse, purchase quality and build a closet that will give you the sense of empowerment that every time that you open it you’ll find something to wear. 

Then come back here and tell me what happened. It’s not easy, it took me years and the 46,000 words of the book, but I am here to help if this is challenging.

 

 

fashion, it's a fashion life, review, slow fashion

Paris and its (high) lights

Paris started as boring as it finished with the most glorious fashionable fireworks.

Everything was stiff until we got delightfully surprised by, wait for it:

Dries Van Noten and Alexander McQueen, Miu Miu and Stella McCartney.

Dries’ collection was like one of those gigantic Tashen coffee table books: such a good down the memory lane masterpiece that included the best casting of the season. Elegance and chic of the last 25 years condensed in his 100th runway show, those many good looks and models still relevant demonstrated, at least to me, that the desire of newness, the thirst for more, are only a made up social media reality show.

Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton once again spoke with nature. She is like the St. Francis of Assisi of fashion, from Scotland to Cornwall, she establishes a poetic conversation with nature at its most crude state. Last season she made a shipwreck into one of the most coveted evening gowns

Stella McCartney was happy tailoring, Faith-ful to her own roots.

Miu Miu closes the festivities covering a majestic staircase in purple faux fur making us want to update our foyer and some Prince moves even before the show started. After the show, if you don’t own a sort of headpiece you are a nobody in life. If you haven’t gotten the memo, the only trend you really need to be conscious of is: headpiece is the new black. You are welcome.

A few extra notes.

An element that all these collections have in common: none of the Insta-stars models were booked for the runway. This could be in between petty, I admit it, or a Gen X thing. They were not missed. 

Special mention goes to Chanel that never disappoints and this time catapulted everybody to the Moon and back.

If you haven’t gotten the memo, the only trend you really need to be conscious of is: headpiece is the new black. You are welcome.

It saddens me infinitely that I cannot mention anymore lanvin as one of the highlights of Paris and can't wait to see Alber Elbaz shine again. 

 

chic, fashion, it's a fashion life, review

Milan Fashion Week, it only gets better

The best of Milan fashion week will take me a few posts. 

As a matter of facts: there's a part of this conversation that will land in the newsletter, and you are still on time to catch it for tomorrow. 

There’s a trend I am happy to report I am totally embracing: now more than ever the time is right for fashionto blend with reality, fashion is born from everyday life after all.

Many, many designers have adopted their creativity and skills and used the catwalk as a platform to raise awareness, many have made statements, the peak of them all, so far, being Mrs. Angela Missoni who with her mother, children, nephews has recreated a Women’s March “because the Fashion world stands united and fearless”.

This fashion month is happening while too many events are unfolding that pose a threat to human rights, freedoms granted by our constitution and democracy.

How to be part of it?

Business of Fashion has launched an initiative called #tiedtogether

Post a picture wearing a white bandanna, the symbol in support of solidarity, unity and inclusiveness while raising money for ACLU and UN Refugee Agency.

Anyone can participate, by donating, by posting, by helping spreading the news.

Using fashion as a form of art, in support of the constitutional freedom of speech, supporting diversity, expressing feelings of unity and the deep general discomfort versus the new dictatorial, fascist and cold-hearted establishments rising is something that I had only seen in my books of fashion history. Now I am living it in person with pride, as, finally, that myth and story that fashion is frivolous can go shuttered.

And now: have FUN because you guys, the collections have been bombastic. Tuesday was double trouble Alessandros, the Michele of Gucci and Dell’Acqua of N.21 have d e l i v e r e d as you would expect from a magician. In Italian we love to say: ci hanno fatto sognare.

Gucci was a post-apocalyptic show of 120 looks the Alchemist Garden, everything of everything because saying that fashion doens't repeat itself would be a lie. N.21 went from Neorealism to the American Dream (NOTE by yours truly: there's a lot of Anna Magnani in the collections, feminine, powerful yet sensual and young at heart).

In Miuccia we trust became a truth like few in life. The City of Women was what she sent down, an evolution from last month's man show. Don't we all dream a city designed by Miuccia? I mean, not the despicable Zara knockoffs, but a real, true Prada-clad worlds. Just one note: second collection in a row featuring feathers. Just. Saying. You are welcome.

Max Mara has made classics exquisite again (although this sounds a too creepily familiar tagline) and embraced the diversity theme with the first jihab wearing model, Emilio Pucci hypnotized the world one fringe at a time, la Ferretti got the evening cape plus embellished flats memo like the Bible. 

Bottega Veneta and Jil Sander never disappoint on Saturday morning and have delivered masterfully, sophistication and rigor.

Missoni recreated a Women’s March, full on pink pussy hats delivered to the guests and worn by every model and the complete legendary family. I cried, it brought me back to when I was a kid, seeing Angela and Rosita two fierce women leading the pack of all the children, I saw my mom and grandmother and all of us.

NOTE: will update next week with Armani, Marni. And I am one of the few/many Italians that don't care for Versace, Cavalli and the Dolce & Gabbana. I can discuss this with you.