chic

interview, chic, styleandsubstance, style file

STYLE + SUBSTANCE // SOPHIE ZEMBRA

The best way to describe Sophie Zembra, our first style + substance powerhouse of the year is "veni, vidi, vici".

She moved from Paris to Miami "con furore" opened ANTIDOTE in Wynwood because it felt right and conquering our  hearts  with the perfect equilibrium of "sustainable chic" and acquired the title of "the girl of Wynwood" (according to her Instagram). 

Sophie is the embodiment of chic and young and fresh and happy, the store is the impeccable mirror of her personality and taste, but, as usual, it all happens when someone is motivated by a purpose, a passion, there's no style without substance.

Sophie-Zembra-2.jpg

 

Style + substance = empowerment. Are you on board?

SZ - Totally 100% percent

 

Your personal style in three words

SZ - I don’t really have one style: it depends on the day, it depends on my mood. But in three words: freestyle; Parisian; chic/casual

 

I find it extraordinary in how little time you moved to Miami and opened one of the best stores in town: what drives your entrepreneurship?

SZ - Thank you for one of the best store in town J

My boosts are the meetings, the people!! Entrepreneurship it s an human adventure and in conscious fashion even more. My passion drive me in the good as in the bad times. I believe in life and dreams, I'm a dreamer that's why I am an entrepreneur. And to be an entrepreneur you need a bit of unconsciousness. 

 

Do you feel like sharing one secret?

SZ - Buy only what you like and what you feel good about. Never follow the trend follow only your feelings!!!

Sophie.jpg

 

Your relationship with fashion: single, married, it’s complicated or

SZ – It’s complicated by time I love fashion and by time I hate fashion!!!

 

What’s the one thing a woman should do to feel powerful?

SZ - Be yourself, listen to yourself. Women are raised without taking their word into account. So you have to listen to yourself and believe in your own power !

 

When did you find your confidence?

SZ – I’m still not confident enough in myself, but entrepreneurship helps me a lot. 

 

 

How do we get rid of the princess/cute/pretty/pink stereotype?

SZ - By creating new princesses: without stereotype!!!

 

You look at your closet holding your morning coffee ready to get dressed: personal uniform or outburst of creativity?

SZ - I like a personal uniform with a touch of creativity. 

 

Which irritates you more and why: “Sustainable fashion is boring” or “Fashion is frivolous”?

SZ - “Sustainable fashion is boring” I have heard this too many times, and it’s not true. People aren’t being curious and just follow big brands/company but now we have a new wave of designer who mix esthetic and sustainability with brio. SUSTAINABLE FASHION IS DEFINITELY NOT BORING!

 

chic, interview, styleandsubstance

STYLE + SUBSTANCE // ERIKA EHRMAN-REPOLA

She is a producer, an entrepreneur, a mother and a designer embracing fashion for a woman who is +50. I have noticed Erika Ehrman-Repola on Instagram, once again, for her elegance and discreet elegance, for her natural beauty and unfrivolous sensuality. She agreed on being featured, so please meet another fierce 'shero' who reinvented her life at 50. 

'Elegant, eclectic, bohemian'

'Elegant, eclectic, bohemian'

Style + substance = empowerment. Are you on board? 
EER - YES 

Your personal style in three words
E - Elegant, eclectic, bohemian 

On shopping with a purpose
E - I love textiles and texture, so I am often inspired by that first, I prefer to buy items that are not overly trendy, and feel unique.
 
Do you feel like sharing one secret?
E - I hate spending a lot on clothes. My dirty little secret is that … sometimes I find pieces at Forever 21 and integrate them into my wardrobe. People have no idea and are often complimentary and think  it’s some high ticketed designer piece. It’s all in how you style it and wear it, sometimes I even cutout the tags and no one knows. 

ernst_reiko_2.jpg

Your relationship with fashion: single, married, it’s complicated or …  
E - I am happily and newly divorced and it has made me fall in love with fashion all over again, because I dress exactly how I want and experiment more too. 

What’s the one thing a woman should do to feel powerful? 
E - With regard to fashion, feeling comfortable in your own skin and what you are wearing. If you don’t feel good in your clothes, you don’t feel as empowered. I designed my line of dresses with that ideology in mind, I don’t want you to be a slave to your clothes. You should not have to starve yourself, or go to spinning class five times a week to feel sexy or beautiful to fit into a dress. It’s a state of mind, and it’s about being comfortable first and foremost, and then whatever you wear will look amazing, because you feel confident. 


When did you find your confidence? 
E - I think as I was about to turn 50. I thought I look pretty damn good for my age and I felt sexier than ever before. 

erika_3.jpg

How do we get rid of the princess/cute/pretty/pink stereotype? 
E - Celebrating all types of women and styles. I think being unique, embracing individuality whatever it is, might normalize it and help. 

You look at your closet holding your morning coffee ready to get dressed: personal uniform or outburst of creativity? 
E - Depends on the season. In the spring and summer I love to wear colors and patterns and I often live in jeans and dresses. In the winter, I find I don’t wear as much color, but I love texture still, so I often have a furry something, a sweater or coat, and my favorite pair of red booties. I try to have at least an accent of color somewhere. 

Which irritates you more and why: “Sustainable fashion is boring” or “Fashion is frivolous”  
E - I am not sure I find either irritating. I think both statements can be true or false depending on context. Sustainable fashion, if done right, can be interesting. Fashion can be frivolous, but it’s also about self-expression and it’s about showing personality, even if it’s a uniform. Frivolous makes me think of excessive amount of the same things, but if you can afford a great piece and it makes you feel good, it gives you that extra pump of confidence, then why not? 
 

 

style file, trends, style, chic

socks and heels: the 101 manual good for every age

I get it it's not a look for everyone, it may seem childish, it's forward, it's a sexy "je m'en fou" to men since the ones advanced enough to appreciate it are unicorns and it must be done well. 

WHAT TYPE OF SOCKS

lace, sparkly, ankle, fishnet, cashmere, see-through tulle or nylon like my absolute favorite ones by Pan and the Dream crystal encrusted, decorated 

WHAT TYPE OF SHOE

pointy, thin heel, kitten heel, vintage sling-back, mary-janes. You can do it with flats, my favorites are N.21 by Alessandro dell'Acqua and Gucci by Alessandro Michele. 

No wedges, oh no, no wedges (who wears wedges anymore?), platforms we should be good, especially if they are Marc Jacobs or Miu Miu.

WOULD YOU DO IT?

WHAT'S IN IT THAT WOULDN'T MAKE YOU DO IT?

chic, style file, styleandsubstance

style + substance // Dominique de merteuil: can style go "beyond my control"?

 

The idea of style + substance series was born to inspire women and support the process of blending femininity with leadership, style with career, motherhood with business. 

As well as we are all exceptional, being exposed to other exceptional women will further the purpose.

I want to use my voice to inspire and expand its reach by featuring other inspiring and powerful women. It's shaping up as a club, a mastermind clique: we don't follow trends, we don't owe prettiness to anyone (wait until you read the chapter on the book), there's no trendy or cute in our dialogue, we don't need to thrive to please, as our strength and confidence come from affirming who we are. 

What better than with what we wear?

Here's my contribution to inspire with a purpose: to be uplifiting with a great dose of bitch and fun, as in "don't take yourself too seriously". 

We are the product of the 5 people around us, let's make it real. 

I have stumbled upon women like Dominique De Merteuil of "It's Beyond My Control" on Instagram, with whom even the simple attraction of a few pictures and shorts exchange of comments has shown that together we can exponentially expand our point of view. 

Get inspired away!

Style is who we are inside and trends are what people want us to be?

DDM- I’ve never cared for trends because the only fashion that has ever caught my eye has been that worn on the screen in my favourite 30s, 40s and 50s films which starred such style icons as Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Lana Turner, Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn. It’s the costumiers like Adrian and Edith Head who I’ve been learning from, observing closely the way they styled all those incredibly glamorous and always immaculate looking movie stars. I agree wholeheartedly with Edith Head who once said “Fashion is a language. Some know it, some learn it, some never will – like an instinct.”  I buy mainly vintage clothes from the 40s and 50s as well as authentic Victorian capes and skirts. I do however buy modern fashion, that which has been inspired by my favourite periods of time, and mix it with authentic vintage accessories. It’s important to find your own style, build your wardrobe around it and not around the trends.

Do you remember your first fashion moment?

DDM - Fondly! I was 10 or 11, visiting with my mom, a Dior shop in Montreal and saw a couture dress for the first time in my life. I remember that it was red and really over the top. The shop manager let me try it on because I told her that it was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in my life and whoever will wear it, they will be the luckiest person in the world.

Don’t dream it. Be it.
— Dominique De Merteuil

When did you realize it was time to be fearless and badass to embrace your style ‘no matter what’? 

DDM - When I was about 8 or 9 years old and watched The Rocky Horror Picture show for the very first time. That’s when my obsession with corsets and very theatrical fashion started. My mum went out of her wits trying to find a corset for a child and sadly she didn’t succeed. Living in NYC taught me that you can be whoever you want to be and dress the way you like even if it means standing out from the crowd like an odd ball. After all it was Coco Chanel who said “I don't care what you think about me. I don't think about you at all.” and who am I to argue with Miss Chanel. :)

Before leaving the house you … 

DDM - Make sure that I have my red lipstick and perfume in my bag. I feel completely naked without them. 

Do you have a muse? 

DDM - My biggest inspirations are Marlene Dietrich and Katherine Hepburn for their very unique beauty, strength, intelligence and incredible sense of style. Also my fabulous mum, a real style icon, who initiated my interest in fashion and art, she used to take me to see ballet and opera from when I was 5 years old.

The piece of advice that you wish you would have received yourself

DDM -  “Don’t dream it. Be it.”  Don’t be afraid of being ridiculous. 

Some thoughts:

"The way you dress is a reflection of your cultural background" 

"You can have a career and love clothes" 

DDM - I don’t think that the way I dress is exactly a reflection of my cultural background, as I’ve lived in four different countries and have been traveling extensively since my teens when I was working as a fashion model and due to my current work of being the founder and fashion editor of www.itsbeyondmycontrol.com. I’ve always been inspired by Old Hollywood Glamour and honestly believe that I was born in the wrong era.

You can find Dominique on her BLOG and on Instagram

style file, styleandsubstance, style, must-haves, chic, holidays

The one item every chic girl swears by

Tell me what comes to mind when you hear the word “turban” and I’ll tell you who you are. No, that was another story, but not really.

I think of Joan Crawford, Old Hollywood femme fatale, pool, a martini and some good Norman Parkinson or Richard Avedon portraits.

Then think for a moment of Mia Farrow in “Great Gatsby” and her head covered in a cascade of crystals (and also Robert Redford and then I go out of contest).

Then, in order of appearance (in my mind, I mean) it’s India, elephants, the British Empire, the Tour of the World in 80 Days, then Scheherazade and Arabian nights. Come down from the magic carpet and bam, Margherita Missoni and it's real. 

Now stop and find the fil rouge.

Because all the different scenes have a thing in common that is strength, confidence, power, authority, royal privilege, or in one word badass.

The turban is sensual, mysterious yet determined and matter-of-factly. It’s not a beanie, not a hat, you step in a room, you don’t quietly enter, no words are needed, or, no caption needed in social media language.

You are part of a clique, a circle of trust, this is the year of the turban, it’s a thing, or at least, I made it a thing and, once again, via Instagram I met le.Conturbanti this bombastic duo that eats, prays and loves turbans and I got fascinated. You will get more on their story in the book, (including what the work means for non Italian speaking friends) but now I can’t wait to share my first outing with a le Conturbanti turban.

Packaging says it all 

I had received it a week before, it was dangling on the living room table, on my easel, on top of a pile of books. I would put it on, wrap it and it was so easy to wrap that I thought I was doing something wrong (thank you self-esteem for always having my back).

A couple of times I wore it tied in the back, so incredibly Jackie Kennedy that I thought I was plagiaristic, I was knocking her off.  But, I thought it was a OK to go, and I left the house in whatever I was wearing from the day at work and went. 

I swear, I dragged myself in a 2-mile radius to pick-up Japanese take-away the first time and to Publix the second. My thought process was if I get even just a nod from the places the most remote from where my imagination would spot me wearing a turban, it's good. The reaction was positive and, hello Mr. Self-Esteem, people were strangely nicer to me than usual, women and men.

With general rehearsals passed magna cum laude, the time for the premiere was as short as two days after. Because I was late and the whole outfit had started with the turban, I ended up not having time to put make-up on before leaving, one more time, the rearview mirror at the traffic light is my bitch.

You HAVE to read the whole shenanigans HERE 

What I learned:

Don’t over think: boom, boom and done;

1.   The messier the hair the better, I know that my hair … invented messy hair meets crow’s nest meets bed hair, but if your hair is curly, you are 1 step ahead in the game;

2.   You’ll see your reflection in the windows while you walk or on the pavement and you’ll be baffled and for a split second unable to connect the two together;

3.   People will look at you, they will ask to take pictures of you, they’ll compliment you, they’ll ask you “who are you wearing” like an array of clones of Joan Rivers on the red carpet;

4.    What do you do? You take it all in, say “thank you” smiling and blushing, air kiss, hug, pose for a picture, while thinking that Angelina Jolie does that every day of her life and you deserve your Angelina moment, all brain, smart and a turban (if you have her long legs, work them too!)

5.   Even if you are intimidated, scared, apologetic inside because you are not used to all of the shenanigans going on, don’t you ever let fear slip through the cracks: the show must go on;

6.   Go back home, rewind and enjoy with a smirk while you put your winning cannon to rest;

7.   What now?

8.   You are awesome, you’ll feel the adrenaline pumping while you prepare the outfit for tomorrow when you’ll step and repeat;

9. Are you pregnant? Take it from my glowing preggo friend Keturah: "Just ordered a gorgeous chic turban from Le Conturbanti, makes me feel less shabby and more chic" and remember kids in that womb form 9 months know everything that's going on and you gotta start them early with the notion of " chic ".

 

chic, niche, style, style file

Aleksandra Lacka: the entrepreneur with style || style + substance

This is the launch of a new series of interviews dedicated to highlight women succeeding in their career with substance and style.

I will have more on this in every feature, by now enjoy this brain-stimulating interview and make it to the comments and ask away or comment if you find yourself agreeing or not.   


Aleksandra and I first met virtually through her Facebook Group called Defining Your Ideal Client. She is a business strategist consultant, a title that sounds belonging to a male dominated world, she is a woman, she is an entrepreneur, she is inspired by uniqueness and brilliance.

Our conversation went to throrough, that it helped her and assisted me to know more of each other. 

You can't miss it, because #girlspower sometimes is good.   


FB - I have read somewhere that extroverts spark and introverts glow. There’s always a unique brilliance in anyone, how did you find yours?

AL - Finding one’s own brilliance is a process. I believe that it needs to start from deep within. For me, it was about understanding what it is that allows me to be in my most creative space, my ultimate zone of genius. I knew that I loved being surrounded by and working with entrepreneurs. It’s their creative way of thinking, their openness to new ideas and that ‘no constraints’ mindset that inspires me to create, think beyond my perceived limits and bring new ideas to life.

It also is about creating an experience that transcends time, place and culture. Creating something that combines my extensive travel and cultural experiences into something universal. I believe that as entrepreneurs there are certain tenets we all share, whether it’s common values, struggles, successes, the appreciation for what’s different and unique…

That’s why I believe that the internal part is so crucial. It really is the foundation for everything else we do. Once you have figured that part out, you can express it in any way you want and that expression may change and evolve over time. I combined my passion with the love of intellectual challenge and my deep expertise in media, marketing and strategy. Because ultimately, my goal is to bring something of value to my clients.

And I go through that same process with my clients too. First, we go deep to find their fundamental brilliance and then we intertwine it with their skills, expertise and our knowledge of the market. The end goal is to create unique, distinct offerings that are highly valued and desirable in the marketplace. 

FB - What’s your take when it comes to defining your style (or brand)?

AL - Hmmm…I think our style is very important as it is the expression of who we are on the inside. For the past year, I have been going through a lot of transition and internal transformation. When I left my corporate job and became an entrepreneur, I didn’t realize how much implication that would have on my personal style. My style is now evolving at a rapid pace, making it difficult for me to keep up haha – a big surprise, as I’m now realizing that prior to that, my style hasn’t really changed that much for the last 10 years.

Defining our style is a process. Over the last few months I learned that style is not something that we can just define overnight – even though believe me I tried, and even believed I could do so. Now that I have my own personal brand, my style is more important than ever. I had worked with multiple stylists and tried to reinvent my style before each new branding photoshoot over the last year – while I believe that it has helped to speed up the transformation, I’m also seeing that I’m not quite there yet. It really is something that requires time and that needs to come from within.

Now I’m truly seeing how the evolution of our style is a reflection of our internal growth and transformation. For me it was pretty much flat for 10 years, but now things are finally in motion haha. I have a feeling that a lot more evolution, experimentation and bold statements will come for me in the next few months.

It was my quiet way to rebel against ‘office attire’ standards

FB - How much self-expression or risk-taking do you put into it?

AL -  I’m now starting to experiment more and more I’m also more discriminative when it comes to selecting brands that reflect my values and style.

I have lately become obsessed with statement pieces from Donna Karan’s Urban Zen because they are a manifestation of the high quality craftsmanship and cultural tradition that has been almost lost in today’s world of mass produced luxury that’s more tied to the superficial logo versus true quality, heritage and deeper values.

Another area that I’ve been also exploring due to my frequent travels to India, are the caftan and the sari. I’m especially interested in pieces that are less traditional, characterized by muted colors, perhaps the ones that are more reflective of my European heritage and yet embody my fascination with the Indian culture and its expressions of femininity. There is one sari designer whose work I’ve admired for few years now and I finally feel that my style is maturing to the level where I’m ready to explore and experiment with his pieces. 

FB - In your ‘previous’ corporate life, did you have to sacrifice your style for a certain attire you were required to maintain?

AL - Now that I think about it, no, not at all. I have worked in the media industry where there are no strict rules regarding the attire. However, the constraints are there, they are just subtle and subconscious. Working in a company or corporation, you subconsciously tend to conform to what everyone else is wearing.

Media world is competitive, so I wanted to look edgy and sharp. Thus my signature style consisted of skinny jeans, pencil skirts and leather jackets. For example, instead of wearing a more traditional blazer or suit to a client meeting I would wear a dress with leather jacket over it. Or a pencil skirt with a print t-shirt instead of a silk blouse. That’s how far I went with my self-expression. It was my quiet way to rebel against the ‘office attire’ standards..

I always secretly wished that I worked for a creative agency as those people have ‘style’ and the more creative and unique that style is, the better. I remember telling my stylist few months ago that I wanted her to help me to look like someone who works at a creative agency haha

FB - What’s Italian style in a one word or two?

AL - Refined, feminine, minimalist, classy – that’s already more than two words but it’s hard to describe it in so few words. 

FB According to your imagination, who is a personification of Italian style (doesn’t have to be alive)?

AL - For me, that would be Margherita Missoni. Her style bridges the classic Italian minimalism with a bold modern twist. She masterfully mixes patterns, textures and colors making them still look classy, refined and feminine. She really knows how to pull it off.

Missoni is one of my favorite designers and Margherita certainly was born to wear those pieces (or rather the other way around lol). To me her style is a true embodiment of the best of Italian fashion: classy, feminine, bold and seductive at the same time. 


Aleksandra Lacka is a business strategy consultant who helps her clients connect their true brilliance with their ideal niche audiences. You can contact her HERE 



style file, style, trends, chic

5 TRENDS gone, 11 still strong: are you on the right train?

We begin the year by closing a circle.

With January comes Epiphany that swipes all the holidays away, the men shows, some snow or the 61 degrees Miami version of snow and all that gear we started swooning over last January's runways. 

That's where it starts allover again. 

So, what are we wearing now? What are we carrying on from last year, that is literally 2 weeks ago?

Are we all on the same track that #wedontfollowtrendswesetthem? If it sounds new to you, go HERE before you continue further.

Concept is: one thing is having a defined sense of style, another 'pair of sleeves' is grasping an overall aesthetic stream and embody it. That's why I am not the regular outfit-of-the-day blogger, I am unpredictable, I may not be cool, but I spice things up with a little bit of attitude and I enjoy getting away with it. 

I keep having these congitations and convince myself I am right, and I am determined to show you so, but what do YOU think? 

Take it to the comments and please contradict me, will you? 

 

THE TRENDS THAT (SHOULD HAVE) NEVER MADE IT TO YOUR CLOSET

  • the nude dress: somehow from Queen Bey it trickled down to the KKlan, but we never adopted it. In my case, I never had the body and should I had the occasion there would have been other Couture options to choose from. Take that. 
  • normcore: we ain't no Steve Jobs (may he rest in peace) nor Mark Zuckerberg. Must be noted that we are strong believers in our own IQ, we just rock it with mooooore taste, style and creativity.

Now here I ought to open a piece of heart: shouldn't this American workplace show a little respect in 2016 and refrain from judging women with the frivolous adjective when they are brave enough to express their own personality and character in a male dominated professional environment? 

It is sad and sickening at the same time to still read  'corporate attire' required as standard jargon that forces a woman to dress with the unspoken uniform (black suit) just to be hired, initiated in the circle and eventually taken seriously.

Rant is over, free the nipple. To say it with the Giorgio Armani pre-fall collection: 

 

Freedom from all that is ordinary 

 

  • sheer and lace underwear as outerwear, although we love to wear pajama outside. 

 

YOU MAY WANT TO CHECK THE ART OF PAJAMA DRESSING  in THE STYLE FILE

 

  • latex (oh man, when did that become a trend, outside of any street mall sex shop?)
  • athleisure is that awkward evolution of the Juicy Couture's chenille tracksuits with UGG boots. Sorry any celebrity signing leggings, tracksuits and yoga pants which you wear as your signature uniform, but by definition it’s still the same average athletic gear made to look expensive and by signing it you make it also over-priced. i am diverging opinion from Corinne Wang who on Refinery 29 approves of athleisure as one of the epic trends of 2015, easy and minimalist way of wearing comfortable clothes on a regular working day. Thing is what if your regular day doens't involve lounging on the couch and being photographed by your Instagram boyfriend?

 

THE ONES THAT survived and moved TO 2016

  • the off-the-shoulder and bell-sleeved top: there was one white Tibi top that became the piece of the summer, but I never bought it. Let's put it this way, the off the shoulder is the 2015 equivalent ot the peplum top of 2010. nope we haven't adopted that one either. However having a shoulder visible in the flesh is sexy no matter the age, as Harper's Bazaar 
  • Adidas' Stan Smith: this is tricky. If you, like me, have always worn them regardless of the normcore/blogger trend, you are already bugged that everyone has been flaunting them. Stick by them because they belong to your style, but maybe, I mean maybe, I will opt for those suede hunter green high-top Nike just because

 

  • the geek chic(k) I can’t get enough of the new Gucci era by Alessandro Michele, the modern Renaissance man, in total awe of his forward gender bending and barriers thinning. Elements of this granny chic? silky tops, socks and pumps, pleated skirts, pussy bows (a lot), embroideries, lace, bomber elevated, middle crease straight pants and fitted jacket, 
  • neck-gear: bandanna, silk and skinny ones(for this heat over to Etsy and search form Smith Lab, Sarah Smith is the girl: you are welcome) 
  • slipdress great under a blazer with platforms for a day look and long, shiny with flat lace-up sandals or pointy ballerinas for the evening.
  • shirt: the element that keeps on giving, the love for a white crisp shirt never fades, but the shirt-dress has surpassed its own role and risen itself to a power dressing position. A simple exquisite blue cotton shirt-dress belted and worn with wedges (like those Gucci ones) makes the woman entering the meeting room remembered in a forgiving silhouette.
  • denim still a strong seasonal plunge, favorite are frayed cropped straight pants and jumpsuit
  • cropped flares: I am having a crush, still have to find the right ones (unfortunately Zara had the perfect one, BUT I am not buying fast fashion any longer)
  • man pants or like The Man Repeller says, who is wearing the pants? #girlboss, #entrepreneurialmind
  • prints I personally have never been a passionate lover of prints, mono-chrome has been a signature, but when a print touches me, the click is done.  
  • animal print I am bias and believe in animal print like in Santa Claus. Jenna Lyons, the Executive Creative Director of J.Crew said something wise
...as far as I'm concerned, leopard is a neutral

Did I omit something important to you?

If so let's discuss it, because I may not agree (smiley face)

 

style file, trends, chic, holidays

The fine art of Pajama dressing

‘tis the season for evening wear and boy, if we love it!

Cocktail or dinner, formal or black tie, swishing silks and startched lepels, tea length taffeta skirts, D'Orsay satin Manolos, heart shaped corsets, appliques and embroideries, sparkles and fur stoles.

Today I.m here to inspire you on how to make it a Gatsby-esque affair without breaking the bank or feeling dressed like a Ferrero Rocher. 

Let's think for a moment that prom style dresses made of highly-flammable sparkly materials were never invented.

How about getting cozy and chic in a pajama for the opening soiree of the opera? Yeah, lose, silky, lushious and fabulous pants, shirts, robes and gowns. Remember Rule n.1 says "Don't take yourself too seriously".

The Italian way of making it happen is first gather inspiration from the masters. In other words, let's dream, wipe our eyes off with gorgeousness and gather the inspiration. 

Let me warm you up and get into the mood with the new Gucci by newly appointed creative director Alessandro Michele and recipient of the International Designer of the Year Award by the British Fashion Awards.

I can't hide my heart bursting with joy for seeing the brand resuscitated with brushes worth of a Renaissance painter, and, yep, pun intended considering the provenance, Firenze and the Medici.   Michele reinvented the powerhouse with touches of modern and geeky, intellectual, bookish, sensual nerdy and eccentric. 

There’s no way of hiding that Oscar Wilde meets understated 70's bohemia of clashing patterns, lurex, ring, midi skirts and furs. 

Gucci is COOL and pajama dressing socially acceptable.

Patrician-looking, modish, lush they are all adjectives that go along with snob appeal one of the best qualities of #theItalianway

LATEST NEWS

Not one piece of any collection designed by Michele will go ever on SALE. Yeah, really, as per words of Gucci CEO, just in case you were considering Black Friday Massive Killing of Someone Who Would Come in Between You and That Crakled Turquoise Leather Loafer ... 

But first our subject: how to do pajama dressing without having to face sold out Gucci, having to top all credit limits and still be happy and enjoy the champagne? 

There’s nothing more appealing and sensual than being confident and feeling cozy at the same time in an evening dress and pajamas can be chic and fun and do the trick. 

J.Crew, Equipment, Madewell and H&M have pajamas worth spending a few bucks (the combos pics come from Harper's Bazaar if you want to check where to buy)

 

Shrimps by Hannah Weiland x Poplin give it the Brit twist making the crave for silk with fur worth indulging. 

La Perla, For Restless Sleepers, Fleur du Mal, Agent Provocateur and Olivia von Halle are the Rolls Royce of loungewear and, hell yeah, they can be worn outside of the bedroom doors. Where else can you find personalizing that goes from monogramming initials to family crests? So British-ly royal to feel blue-blooded. 

For the socially conscious, Pour Les Femmes , created by Robin Wright and Karen Fowler, is the most enticing choice of sleeping, or not, together in soft threads while dedicating a portion of the revenue to causes that support women in conflict regions around the world. For more read www.plfdreams.com

SOME CELEBRITY SIGHT-SEEING

It's on you now: Will you dare thinking outside the box (or the bedroom, for that matter)? 

 

style file, chic, italianstyle

October: how to dress the Italian way, fall in love with fall & live at the tropics

FIND HERE THE ITALIAN VERSION OF THIS POST AND FROM MIAMI TRAVEL TO VICENZA VIA BOSTON.

October and fall have always been my enemies as a child. They were both sad and depressing, the days were monochromatic and shorter, rain showers would switch to cold and drizzly instead of huge catalytic and cleansing summer rainstorms, cold feet in the real sense of COLD FEET.

Miami is in the Sunshine State for a reason, you have palms and iguanas all year long, you don’t have to buy wood for the chimney nor warm the bathroom up with the steam of the shower. However, after living here for almost two decades, I have been beaten by the romantic bug of the fall which is now my favorite season.

I see the change of the season even where people don't. Sometimes i make it up, but that's a different story. 

Now I appreciate the tenderness of a paler sun, pumpkin patches, even Halloween and E.T. one of my old times favorites, humidity slowly vanishing.

The royal seal of the whole autumn movie-set with foliage and the ombre’ colors from yellow to red to brown, can only manifest itself with a quick (and unforgettable) trip to Boston, a full immersion in park with squirrels, street corner chestnuts, clam chowder and lobster roll, temperatures touching the 40s , couple of cannoli and hot choc with no regrets and happy thoughts like “I’ll walk the calories off.”

In Italy we go mushroom hunting after the first rains of the fall, heating goes on, down covers fluff up on the bed, flannel pajamas, the raincoat, hat and boots and before driving in the morning you must defrost the windshield.  

Miami has different rhythms, air conditioning and croquetas persist with the special re-appearance of flea markets, crab season and the polo season in Wellington.  

How to incorporate Italian style in this apparent stylistic stall?

Use your creativity and I give you three good reasons:

1-       Keep it fun, as a gameSwapping wardrobes is a huge step.

IF YOU HAVEN'T DONE IT YET, HERE'S WHAT IT TAKES. 

I don’t know you, but I get terribly bored by looking at the same stuff over and over again in the closet, that retiring and donating, eliminating and repurposing what’s worked for too long and didn’t work at all the past season brings a season of content.

There are some rules to be known, followed and applied, those dos and don’ts like linen and bright colors like turquoise, hot pink or yellow.

Here’s when it get sticky, intangible: how to explain something really Italian? There's a moment when you must trust me: there are things to be accepted as your A,B,C, like when my grandmother used to tell me to always get dressed-up and comb my hair even just to go get a gallon of milk  'because you never know who you will meet'. 

2-       You create expectation. Choosing to retire in hibernation our favorite sundress or the linen shirt, will create exitement when we take them back out next May. It's the same thrill of pulling out that cashmere sweater or the suede blazer from the winter stack. In Miami, or any steamy place, the rough hand touch of a Shetland crew neck may not be the best winter choice, but layering flannel shirts with silky bra-like tops, jeans and a fedora hat will do the trick.

3-       Be readyAn elegant and worldly woman is always ready for a last minute trip or weekend gateway, whether it’s from treacherous snowy fields to the Caribbean seas or vice versa.   Said woman [ YOU and ME] is ready like Mary Poppins “Practically perfect in every way” even when your body reaches adaptation to the temperature change slower than the length of the flight, it’s victory everywhere in confidence and satisfaction. 

 

italianstyle, classics, chic, must-haves, style file

#theitalianway september challenge

This is the beginning of my new collaboration with my friends Isabella and Luisa at DDmag.it

Most of you guys know already, I have had a column for over a year with the magazine (how so Carrie Bradshaw of me!), and that our friendship was born on Instagram.

Starting this month, I will post the English version and the Italian version is HERE.

Which, btw, you should put in your RSS feed because they are awesome: DDmag.it 

 

Back to shool or to work is a killer, when you still feel the sand through your toes and smell the lavender from al fresco dinners.

Living in a place where it’s almost always summer, where the seasons are blurred unless you scrutinize the morning sky, how golden is the sun at noon, the color of the bay at sunrise or the sunsets becoming more and more pink, doesn’t make it easier.

I know that I can come across ungrateful, “try and handle a whole month of rains in November” you say, but I have my own reasons and after I have explained them, you’ll agree.

That the temperatures don’t plunge below 70 degrees means heavenly winters and hellish summers embellished with that greenhouse humidity and the yearly list of potential hurricanes. Btw, this season we have only had one hurricane scare, however there’s time until the end of November.

1.        Think for a moment looking at the same clothing in the closet for 12 consecutive months and on again: it produces already some sort of axfissiation.

2.        All those runways we have devoured 6 months ago, now are populating magazines, billboards and stores. The colors, the forms, the silhouettes are manifesting and one should either stay behind or give in into the trap of compulsive maniacal fast-fashion buying.

3.        The equivalent of “no white after Labor Day” in Italy is “no whites before Palm Sunday”, still there’s white and white, each season has its own.

4.        Linen and muslim we know they are not to be used in the winter, but not everybody ahs ever experienced winter like we do. Down in the Southern Riviera you say winter and you may encounter people that look at you like they would a six-headed dog. I leave the rest to the imagination.

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Confused panorama, at least for an Italian, but after almost two decades of Miami Beach veteran-ship, tribulations and trial and errors, I reached a compromise that reconciles the current fashion season with the weather, with the habits and the principles of slow-fashion.

THE LIFE CYCLE

Switching wardrobes, it’s useless negating the evidence, is painful unless you transform the 3-day marathon in a ‘closet party’ in which your garbage becomes somebody else’s treasure.  Take advantage of an upside down house and closets and instead of fixing it forguests to arrive, open a bottle of prosecco and a few figs with prosciutto and go through the process of elimination.

1.        Summer or winter it doesn’t matter, whether you clean up the wardrobe that you are retiring or the one you are pulling out, let the clean-up begin. This first phase, when you let your close friends and sister and daughter dig in, reinforces friendships, family ties, keeps the circle within the family (hand me down anyone?), it frees space and let good energies flow.  

2.        The second phase after this liberating depuration, is making your wardrobe a source of income, monetize. Take designer pieces and the best ones that survived the first purge to the consignment store or vintage market, sell on Ebay.

3.        Third phase is donations: school, foudations, centers, parish, Salvation Army or Goodwill and feel blessed to be able to help someone.

4.        Final result, those garments that spent six months in lethargy become alive again, a little Night at the Museum style, they give a breath of fresh air to a dull closet. They will look beautiful again, they are all lined up like kids the first day of summer camp and now you can really get organized for a mindful shopping trip.

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All the beautiful things above with a lot of minor details, make of Italian style of managing one’s wardrobe the ultimate winner: random acts of kindness, mingle with the community, recycling, upcycling, opening infinite possibilities to an otherwise dormant blazer, you excitedly reinvent a new wardrobe even with the clothing from last year, pinpoint the gaps or where you need to refurbish with new elements or accessories to come up a modern and current look.  

Your mind will be projected toward investing instead of buying without criteria, pushed and pulled by the smoking mirrors of fast-fashion like McDonald’s fries.

Are you ready to pop that prosecco?