If you had sold your soul to big corp. during the last few decades with the money you have earned (or inherited) you can now buy it back. How? Just browse the internet and look for an old VW T2 Kombi, then go glamping somewhere like Ibiza, Bali, or Goa and you will find yourself surrounded with people just like you: chastened consumer, now wannabee hippy with a taste for luxury. Forget about following Siddhartha’s path, it’s all about the style, or, the lifestyle if you prefer: an over-indulgent looking for the next “hip” thing to do, covered with some “shanti-shanti” philosophy, lots of meditations retreats, festival attendances (Coachella, anyone?), garnished with a fake carelessness on look, while it’s all about the brand, right? from the never-heard-before name $400 custom made sunglasses frame, to Birkenstock shoes, to those Lululemon $120 yoga pants, not to mention the must have Stella McCartney $1,800 chain trim handbag (but it’s cruelty free!), and the annual subscription to Kinkfolk and Monocle.
Somehow I now respect more UES people, at least they are honest to themselves, rather than these folks judging you with the same harsh disgust of the “I’m rich, you’re poor” crowd, if you don’t have the latest (RED) iPhone.
Yes, this time of the year is finally come, the time where we all are so looking forward to spend every single acid comment —that our minds is able to think— on this very juicy parade where everything is debatable, even the notion of what could be considered good taste and appropriate.
After so many years of wandering life Sunday equals late waking-ups and lazy brunches. This morning, as I didn’t have my personal slave to spoil me, I’ve been forced to roll out of bed and get out looking for milk. Not an easy one if you are in a small village, lost in the mountains that has zero open supermarket till Monday morning. There may not be shops open there but they’ve got this brilliant idea: milk dispenser. You won’t find junk food in it, just plain fresh whole milk – don’t forget to bring your own bottle to fill. When I was approaching the dispenser I saw a woman cleaning it and I thought «Oh, no s****! No milk for me!» but turned out being there just for filling in the next dispenser machine with fresh hand made yoghurt, butter, and cheese. And there I recognised her. If it is true that I grew up in a small village, it is also true that I never “fill in” with the local crowd. I was the black sheep, the one who attended piano and art lessons, the one wearing Clarks and dungarees, the one going to the city visiting exhibitions. The kids weren’t particularly interested in me and the feeling was mutual. There was really nothing that tied us together: nor their activities – limited to going around in bikes or attending church functions on Saturday morning, or playing footballs – or their lives that I knew were destined to “being local”. We knew each-other and we ignored each-other equally. So, after decades I met one of this girls and, for some strange reasons, it has been very nice. We didn’t talk much as we’ve never been friends or have anything to share, but the expressions in our faces revealed a kindness and such good will that it is for me very hard to find anywhere or to experience in “normal life”.
I have to say this year the red carped didn’t release a lot of fashion nightmares, so it hasn’t been fun at all watching it; but here and there some faux passes have been made so here’s my personal list of the worse (and some best) dressed.
I discovered this new – let’s call it – trend back in 2009, in New York – as usual, I mean, where else? – and I immediately fell in love with it, reporting it on the fashionable pages of the glossy magazine «Flair».
What had caught my eye was not only the obvious bold and funny style that these women showed off, but – and more importantly – how this was a new form of revolution.
In these times where a woman is constantly under pressure for the way she looks, the way she dresses, how much she weight, this is something that teaches us a great deal.
We are not supposed to get old. We are not supposed to have wrinkles. Menopause is still something to be ashamed of.
These women, in a very womanly way, tell us: «C’mon girls, let’s have fun with ourselves! Let’s express who we are despite what we are supposed to look and behave at our age». AND. THEY. NAILED. IT. Breaking down the wall that has been build all around being old, because we live in a society that is so erasing the concept of getting old that has to call it “chronologically gifted”, like the word “old” has something shameful in it.
Ari Cohen, the genius behind this whole idea, after the release of the book «Advanced Style» back in 2012, is now the eye behind the camera that shoot the movie «Advanced style», released on February 19th, 2015. We cannot thank him enough for the work he has done for them. And for us. We are so looking forward to learn from Tziporah (62), Deborah (67), Lynn (80), Joyce (80), Jackie “Taja” (81), Ilona (93), and Zelda (95).
This time, following the trend, and not setting it, the acclaimed fashion guru photographer Tim Walker released in 2013 the very nice book «The Granny Alphabet», dedicated to his great grandmother Louisa Wicks. The book is a combination between his wonderful pictures (26 as the letters of the alphabet), cute graphic design and powerful verses by Kit Heshketh-Harvey. It does not have the same power as Cohen’s one, but is a sign that “old” is something we have to relate with on a different way than the “damnatio memoriae” currently in use.
I am particularly happy to own this book because, as Tim Walker says, :«Old age brings back this childlike clarity of vision, and so children and elderly have an agreement, a bond, united both by a sense of being out of time and by the brilliantly reckless lack of responsibility that bookends adulthood and allows them to see things as they really are. This is why I’ve always loved the very old and the very young, whether in age or spirit, and why I’ve taken the photographs for this book – part photographic love letter to the elderly and part documentation of the dying breed of little old ladies who live down the lane.».
It’s about that time of the year, that marvelous moment when you just want take your coat off and spend some time enjoying the sunlight, as it’s been all the Winter that you were sitting on a dirty stoop surrounded by pigeons just to be out in the fresh air.
And now that the season it’s just right why not to take a trip upstate and visit some of the most beautiful gardens in the world?
No, you don’t need to buy a gazillions guide or print maps & itineraries, now there is a more eco-friendly and smart tool: the perfect app! Gardens of Italy (available on iTunes) helps you find the nearest or most distant gardens open to the public.
The app gives you the complete map of Italian gardens (parks, botalical gardens and so on) that really worth a visit. You can find them by location, by theme (English garden, French garden, Italian garden, garden with labyrinth), by architecture, history, landscape, season. Each of them has a colorful sketched map, trivia history and helpful information not to mention breath taking pictures.
The App is updated every other two months, and has been integrated with a QR scanner, just in case you find one inside of a garden.
Topiary, the ancient art of bending greenery to one’s will. (And it’s a definite step up from the garden gnome.)
I already had the opportunity to write about the strict liaison between models and death, but this time I’m going to go even further analyzing the fashion system or, better, the model system.
I have to thank Ashley Sabin and David Redmond and the their documentary Girls model for a eye opening call.
The movie explores what goes on behind the glossy pictures we see in magazines.
Girl Model follows two protagonists involved in this industry: Ashley, a deeply ambivalent model scout who scours the Siberian countryside looking for fresh faces to send to the Japanese market, and one of her discoveries, Nadya, a 13-year-old plucked from her rustic home in Russia and dropped into the center of bustling Tokyo with promises of a profitable career. After Ashley’s initial discovery of Nadya, they rarely meet again, but their stories are inextricably bound. As Nadya’s optimism about rescuing her family from financial hardship grows, her dreams contrast against Ashley’s more jaded outlook about the industry’s corrosive influence.
Girl Model is a lyrical exploration of a world defined by glass surfaces and camera lenses, reflecting back differing versions of reality to the young women caught in their scope. As we enter further into this world, it more and more resembles a hall of mirrors, where appearances can’t be trusted, perception become distorted and there is no clear way out.
So you discovered that the so called «agencies» are nothing but pimps of the fashion system, that underage and innocent kids (because at 13 you are still a kid) are sistematically been stolen of their youth in the sake of the un-reachable image, that all the fashion magazine across the globe continue to pursuit and dictate as ideal to be reached.
Additionally all these little models and theirs families are swindled, since they are been asked to sign contract that they don’t understand, often written in other languages and that basically transform their little girls in “goods” to be shipped, used, and then sent back as the agencies please without even been paid for their work.
Nadya’s story is just one of many in this slavery market, that it’s not only well known inside the fashion system but also accepted, and never criticized. Here to be condemned are not just the various models agencies, but also one and for all the stupid idea that all the magazines are supporting or rather that is acceptable that all the women across the globe have to look like 13 years old kid, with no shape, to please a male public that reveal itself for what is reality just is: a child molester.
Girl Model: a documentary by Ashley Sabin and David Redmond.
Feltrinelli Real Cinema: DVD + “Apparenze” libro a cura di Anna Maria Pasetti.
Awards: Rome Film Festival Marc’Aurelio Award for Best Documentary in the Extra Section & EnelCuore Prize.
As you all know I love Venice, during my last trip I had the great pleasure to be taken away by the newly renewed Museo Mocenigo (Study Centre for the History of Fabric and Costume) that now has also a section dedicated to perfume.
The perfume circuitwithin the museum, inserted into the refurbished context of displays, fills five rooms. It presents an exciting succession of antique objects and documents, multimedia instruments and sensorial experiences.
Among the documents on show, it is worth mentioning the precious cosmetics manual called “I Notandissimi Secreti de l’Arte Profumatoria” by Giovanventura Rossetti, published for the first time in Venice in 1555. This is the first manual in the West to adopt a scientific approach in cataloguing more than 300 formulae for cosmetics then in use in Venice. The displays also include some splendid herbaria, including the famous Mattioli Herbarium.
Besides the cultural itinerary inside the museum what caught my eye was the “Merchant of Venice” corner, a space that has been conceived as a direct result of the creation of the Perfume Museum, which in turn now crowns the creation of the fragrance.
Created by Mavive in exclusive for the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, it involves different product lines based on the perfumery tradition of the Republic of Venice, its expertise in craftsmanship, and its century old trade with the Orient.
The Merchant Of Venice is a high-end perfumery line that takes its inspiration from the precious essences and spices that the Venetian merchants of the past used to import from the main harbours of the world, via the Mude (sea routes), and subsequently traded them throughout Europe. The luxurious brand was conceived as a direct result of the creation of the Perfume Museum. First of its kind in Italy, the Museum corner and the brand itself represent the one of the best practice that in Italy are so desperately necessary but largely indered: an agreement between a private company (in this case the historic Venetian perfume company) and the Public Museum (Fondazione Musei Civici Veneziani)
Merchant of Venice doesn’t have just the luxurious corner store into the Palazzo Mocenigo but can show off its great products also inside the flagship boutique near La Fenice theater. And not the boutique it’s not just any commercial spaces but opened inside the historical “spezieria” in campo San Fantin, dated XVII Century.
C’mon, we all have been there. You really like her, you just want all the best for her, but for a specific reason, and just for that –that suddenly became a National Case– you just had enough. And there’s absolutely no way that she’ll let it go. The funny part is that it’s not even your fault. It’s a poisoned combination of the way she perceive things, the way she perceive her ex, and the way you should have behaved with her ex. After their break-up.
Well, we all know that “EXs.” in general are a radioactive subjects. In this case the “ex” is a Nuclear Bomb. I always knew it so I kept the distance with him, also because we have never been close, but what I was supposed to do when I received the invitation for the “ex’s” wedding? Why did I received? Who the Hell knows! Perhaps because I’m Italian, I have good taste and they wanted a good taste wedding gift for God sake! I do not know!
But, despite the evidence, there is no way that this particular friend would let it go. I am guilty. What for is yet to be defined, but it’s secondary to the point of her being hurt.
So, now what? A future full of harking, recriminating, trying to make me feeling guilty. A little while ago I said :«Please, give me some time». And now, months have passed and I know there is this gian white elephant in the room every time we talk, or, better, the 2.0 definition of talking: bitching on Facebook. I know it’s there. I can feel it also via FB. And no matter what, not even an Ocean between us, can make things right.
I really don’t know what to do with this friend. Nothing I’d say would heal her wounds, nothing I’d do would make her feel loved (by me) so dear friend, you know who you are, this is me, asking YOU publicly, to be forgiven and never ever be told again what I was supposed to do.
Yes. I did. I did lived in Venice for almost one year and half. Does that make me a Venetian? Absolutely no. Does that make me special. Well, of course! In a very snobbish way. I know where everything is in Venice, I don’t need a map, I don’t get lost, I know what I am supposed to listen to know when there is high tide, I know where to have a proper cicchetto e un’ombra de vin without paying much, I know what happens on November 21st, I know what you are supposed to give to a woman on April 25th and… so on. But above all, I share with Venetians a true hate against tourists. Don’t get me wrong here. They are an essential part of the economy. They are much needed. It’s just that when they walk around are so poorly dressed! With their “comfy” clothing, cheap backpack, ugly t-shirt, unfashionable bermuda and impossible style. I mean, folks, you.are.in.Venice! the greatest of all the cities in the entire world! And you embrace this adventure dressed like you are going at the mall on a Sunday morning with your jammies still on? Really? There should be a tax for that. There should be a dress code! There should be an international law! And this bad-style-thing is shared by people of all means and from all the countries! I’m not against eating a panino sitting on the stairs of one of the many Venetian bridges (everything is just SO expensive), I’m not against even taking a nap on a quiet bench at Giardini, I’m not against people picturing themselves fully covered with pigeons (if they like being covered by rats with wings!) but I’m fiercely against this tolerance in sloppy mises.
This is my personal list of dislikes:
not understanding that the calli are like streets: you can’t occupy them all! there are two lanes!
expecting that everybody speaks English/French/German/Japanese in Venice, even sailors on vaporetti. For God sake! Why don’t YOU speak Italian?
leaving your waste on the corners (you pig! move your ass and find the next trash-bin! like collecting trash is an easy task in a city such as Venice!)
GoogleMaps doesn’t work in Venice? Really?! Idiot!
Venice is not DisneyLand. People have real jobs, there are students, workers, postman and so on. So yes, the city it’s not meant to be perfect for you
Gondolieri on gondole sing songs from Naples (a 700km away city) for your pleasure. Those song are not part of the Venetian cultural heritage or tradition. Please note that every single Italian is laughing at you in their head since… it’s just for tourist
You have to know that I’m very demanding about my birthday. It’s not that I expect a big present or Jude Law knocking on my door (well, kind of)
but I like it to be special. And I had my bit of special this year too. So special that my husband bought the wrong present – as I wasn’t clear enough all year long – and my parents weren’t so busy renovating the bathroom that they didn’t had time to buy me anything but a cake. Thank God I have friends who phoned me from New York, London, Paris, Switzerland, Madrid, Shanghai, and various places all over Italy. Guys, you made my day! So Happy Birthday to you, too!
This is one of the most ironic, funny, and interesting projects that recently got my attention. As I said a little while ago I believe that the time for the coming back of “photo love story” has finally arrived. Back in the ’70s and ’80s they were all the rage and I guess that is gold in these times of revitalizing what was uncool and cheesy back then.
So I bet the resurrection of photo love stories is quite imminent. And a warning sign is this funny project made by Maria Giovanna Callea and Enrico Pescantini.
The most (in)famous couple of our young age is shoted during a vacation in Israel. But Barbie & Ken are the perfect metaphor for those hip couple we all read about on the well groomed magazines: a transposition of fake and conventional happiness according to the ’00 standards of social acceptance. The funny thing is that “our” generation and “our” standards on themes such as what is considered “beauty” and “success” or even “vacation” were heavily influenced and shaped by the culture that made (physically) Barbie & Ken. So thanks to this fiction photo-reporting we can see what we really are according to those stereotypes.
Barbie, the Californian looking blond. Basically a spoiled brat. We bet she wears Zac Posen, Jimmy Choo, Marc Jacobs, and she’s the star guest in the latest Sofia Coppola’s movie.
Ken, the college sweetheart. Perennially spry tanned, well groomed, ball-less. We strongly suspect is one of those “in the closet” boyfriend we all have had once.
In this era of Twitting, Facebooking, Pinteresting, how many among us still hand write? Even an handwritten note seems a long haul nowadays. Not to mention the handwriting itself as a form of art or – simply – as readable at all. I had the chance to attend an old fashion school, where – still in late ’80s – calligraphy was still thought. So as Italian, fond of calligraphy, working in the publishing industry, with a strong background in epigraphy and philology, I really pay attention on how to arch n’s and stroke e’s when I write with my long time owned MontBlanc fountain pen (the nib – as wine – gets better with time because is shaped by our own peculiar pen tilt.) And, I confess, judge a person on how good (or bad) is/she hand writes. I know, this is a bit snob but what can I say? This is my dirty little pleasure. During the last Design week in Milan among the nth chair and the ultimate “iconic”-thing I discovered a little diamond: a new ink produced in the most old fashion way from vegetable waste (vegetable and fruits). Not only “Estratto” (Estract) is an eco-friendly project aimed to re-introduce this technique but is also beautifully packed. Two are the options the long thin phial, that also can be used as pen thanks to its unique shape and the pot-bellied old-chemister inspired flask both specifically designed to enhance the [natural] beauty of the content.
Well, not, this is not a post I’m going to write in French, even if I’m very very very tempted. But I try to stay true to myself so it’s going to be in English even if this magazine is the most quintessential French thing I saw in the last couple of years. So I’m going to write a (virtual) post for a real magazine, still printed on paper.
After years of flipping through the pages of un-cool-agerave-cool magazine I already know what to expect:
impossible standard model on the cover
200 pages of ADVs
the director’s usually quite lame editorial
some pages focused on “what’s new”
an interview with the “hot” model/artist/director/celebrity
a service of some kind of general interest
3 fashion services (one of which with all the advertisers) featuring ridiculously styles & extra-thin models
the beauty pages
the “cool” home page
the kitchen pages
100 pages of ADV
So, bumping into something so new and so refreshing gave me hope for the future of magazines, that are all going to die if they don’t realize that they are old and boring and so far from everything real (and interesting) with their (polished and empty) contents. As a matter of fact reading an article on “how to save 100€” between the interview of Matt Demon and the AD of the new Chanel fragrance will not help me to feel any closer to what they – at the end – promote. So, next time I’m not going to buy you, dear old fashion magazine. I’m going to buy Paulette!
For the first time I felt, ehm, represented. The magazine define itself as “partecipatif” aka made by readers. And this is true in the most nice and cool way: all the models are real people and everybody is welcome to submit illustration, news, ideas, video, pictures. I guess making a comparison will be better than 2.000 words. Paulette is to the magazine world what GIRLS is for the TV series. True, real, unveiled, brutally honest, funny, quirky and utterly kawaii!
Plus they are independent. They don’t have a big publishing company to cover their (big) production expenses (right Vogue, Elle, Marie-Claire?) so they started to raise the money for the “paper” launch in the most 2.0 way: first Facebook, then the online edition, then the first number made with the money of pre-subscribers, then the second printed issue thanks to an internet found raising campaign.
I can only wish them the best of luck. Paulette really deserve it!
P.S. Plus I secretly covet to be their cover girl, and that’s why I wrote this post.
So a couple of days ago was gala night at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. For those out there who still don’t know what the Met ball is, here’s a straight forward definition: “a useless socialite themed event (this year is Punk: Chaos to Couture in New York) where stars, fake stars, wannabee, third list starlettes, untalented socialites, and their mentors (a.k.a. fashion designers) gather together to prove the world that even US has “grand soirées” and “royals” like Europe. And since Americans don’t shine for good taste (or taste at all) they invented a new job: the stylist, a person supposed to help them pick the right dress. As results, instead, we (European) get a red carpet full of crap. And good business for a lot of our designers since most of the gowns are Italian or French. Thanks Met ball, you are just fresh air for our economy and our laugh.
Everything. According to Murphy’s law “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”, and that is exactly what happened last week. Like the entire universe wanted to send me some sort of signal. It all started with a visit to an optician shop with my hubby. He was trying on a new pair of specs (thanks Tom Ford!) and accidentally hit my hand, I dropped my loyal iPhone 3G (that happily survived two intercontinental movings, a home renovation, a gigantic numbers of flights, billion security checks, several falls) and the screen was then cracked. I couldn’t speak to him for a good 1/2 hour. The day after we left home for a business trip. We found ourselves trapped in three (I mean three!) piles-up, we arrived at the meeting two an half hours late. Then, when the moment to go back home arrived, the car broke. At 220 miles away from home. On a National Holiday. So checked into a (design) hotel (at least), trying to enjoy the unforeseen night out. Right that evening I started my period. Oh yeah.
Universe: what the hell are you trying to tell me?
Moving to US can be a trauma for many Italians, especially when breakfast time comes along as Doria, Colussi, Mulino Bianco, and Pavesi are unknown here. You may find yourself wander aimlessly long the aisles of the local supermarket, where you can find the most complete selection of cereal boxes you can ever imagine but where the “frollino per la colazione” is simply missing. So I went back to the basic re-starting eating simple wholegrain bread, butter and jam –thanks The Garden from the botton of my heart and thank you Whole Food as well (all organic, you won’t know what Food&Drug Administration consider legal to eat). When my pangs for a “frollino” take over me I simply go to the Chelsea Market where I can buy imported Plasmon, Pan di Stelle, and Atene cookies for astonishing prices. Or, when I’m too lazy or just to far I indulge in a cookie there’s another problem: they are so big (fat and chunky) they can’t simply fit any bowl. So here’s a selection of design mugs that I have found over the years to solve this unbearable Angst.
Going to Design Week this past week sounded like a good idea. Even fun. Lots of cappuccini and cool places to visit. But now that I’m sitting in front of my mac with a massive headache, matted hair and the impression I haven’t sleep for an entire week, suddenly an horrifying thought: “OMG I’m not in my 20’s anymore, I can’t going around party after party all night long.” The recovering is going to be really long (10 days?) and quite elaborate: detox drinks, early night at home, relaxing massages, huge quantity of moisturizing and the secret weapon against dark circles*** unless I shell out ($33) and get to myself this great Oh Kit, What Have I Done? hangover kit, I’ve just red about.
Inside a bonanza of tricks:
an eyemask, an aromatherapy shower burst
Does My Nose Look Big In This Eyemask. Padded with soft black toweling back and black elastic strap
Well, well, well it seems that the entire universe has come to Milan, a city that happens to be remotely likable and very much alive only in these days. For a very interesting young and dynamic coffee brand [MOGI caffè] I’m currently covering the Design Week, shooting and posting on FB and Twitter the atmosphere into the cafés I am visiting, so in these days there’s a lot of testing coffee-making skills of all the baristas working on pop up-skimpy-but-cozy coffee kiosks. And there’s a lot of caffeine flowing in my veins but after the pick reached its maximum high I crumple and I just need to rest. But Design Week doesn’t often offer quiet spots where to rest your flesh so you have to find the right place exactly where you are, but I’m a natural cool hunter and the Kitchen Library it’s exactly what I was looking for in Ventura / Lambrate. There you can find everything to fullfil your tired body and your overexposed eyes: a reading lounge featuring some iconic Karimoku New Standard products variations made especially for the occasion and a temporary library with a special selection of books, curated by Fortino Editions Miami. And last but not least the edible food installation that the collective Arabeschi di Latte is so great at. This light kitchen is a quiet and recreative retreat from the exuberant Design Week. To rest and read.
To me Donna Bell‘s bakery it’s not just a place where to go when I’m feeling under the weather to splurge with some great dessert. This place makes me feel welcome. Even if I don’t know much about the whole “Southern-thing”*** I know that as soon as I walk in to the shop I suddenly feel happy. Perhaps it’s because of the Raspberry White Chocolate Toasted Almond or the Whole Wheat Caramelized Onion and Rosemary biscuit. Or perhaps it’s because it’s I know Darren (& Matthew) and I know how much love, passion, hard work and true love for good food he puts in it. And these days that it’s something!
***(Southern hospitality is a phrase used in American English to describe the stereotype of residents of the Southern United States as particularly warm, sweet, and welcoming to visitors to their homes, or to the South in general.)
And yes, it’s Pauley Perrette (NCYS) on the picture with the guys…
Loo, lavatory, bathroom, toilet, restroom as Italian living abroad you’ll understand master wich word to pick (when you have to ask where to go when nature calls) only after many many many years. As a matter of fact this unsolved question may put you in the middle of very embarrassing situations, resulting the classic Italian who’s barely able to articulate some foreign words. Thank God now, there’s a place in London where you won’t be secretly laughed at when the matter comes up. The final solution we (Italians) were waiting for: a hidden espresso bar in abandoned toilet. Yes, you are reading well. The place’s name is the Attendant and you may fall down in it, when sauntering in the über cool neighbourhood of Fitzrovia. The former Victorian Gentleman’s convenience is now a modern espresso bar serving incredible coffee, English-style breakfast (porridge, anyone?), sandwiches, cakes, teas. Here the original porcelain urinals, produced by Doulton & Co in 1890, have been plugged, cleaned and converted into an inspired seating line. The old attendant’s office, complete with payment window, has been turned into a little kitchen. An old hand drier even sits above modern banquette seating. And if you don’t feel like climbing down the stairs you can always push the street level buzz, someone will come up and serve you. Espresso!
I’ve never been one of those gal that loves make up, as you remember my past encounters with a make up artist didn’t go well at all (waterproof), but when I discovered PaperSelf a couple of years ago in London, I had an epiphany: finally what I was looking for! Not another sticky glossy, not -again- an eyeshadow you have to be a set designer to perfectly dose, not a foundation that is just making your skin even greasier. I found a piece of art to put on yourself! Minuscules laces give your eyes another dimension, a different allure, the famous “je ne sais pas quoi”. When I first saw them I thought about daydreaming. Your eyes, your face, well your entire self (!) suddenly becomes a fairy, a muse, a pixie. Or –better– those eyelashes actually reveal your superior hidden nature helping you going through the day with an extra magic weapon in your arsenal.
Below a video from another era: Enya – Caribbean blue
I have to admit it I’ve always hated Walt Disney’s cartoon. Ok, to be honest perhaps I had stopped liking “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” after the age of 3 but as soon as my design education started (thanks Dad) I suddentely understood how poor Walt’s design was. At least the one showed to the public, I’m pretty sure he was more refined than that. So when my mother took me to the local library my fav. book were those illustrated by Tina Davis, Tomi Ungerer, Richard Scarry, or Bruno Munari till I had an epiphany with Edward Gorey. His gloomy, dark, spooky yet noble and refined draw captivated me forever. His books were piled on the “kids” section but I was able to get that they weren’t ment to meet the childish needs of fairy tales romance. Exactly as I was able to understood that the Muppet Show was — yes — something for kids at some level but definetely for adults on so many others, as I wasn’t able to get what later I discovered being sarcasm and irony against social mores. So, now when I flip through the pages of The Willowdale Handcar: Or, the Return of the Black Doll it’s clear to me that he was the first one to introduce me to surrealism. And I’m grateful.
If you’re doing nonsense it has to be rather awful, because there’d be no point. I’m trying to think if there’s sunny nonsense. Sunny, funny nonsense for children — oh, how boring, boring, boring. As Schubert said, there is no happy music. And that’s true, there really isn’t. And there’s probably no happy nonsense, either.
Richard Scarry What Do People Do All Day – book cover
Bruno Munari Nella notte buia – book cover
Edward Gorey The Willowdale Handcar: Or, the Return of the Black Doll – book cover
Edward Gorey Dancing cats and neglected murderesses – book cover
A lot of buzz around this show. A lot of hate. A lot of love. To me, this TV show that describes the assorted humiliations, disasters and rare triumphs of four very different twenty-something girls simply means two things: finally a character that is simply human on her being not glossy, skinny, perfectly coiffed, almost photoshopped even in real life. She’s fat, she dresses in a very debatable way, sometimes she’s even ugly. But she’s smart, funny, and quite poignant and at the very end it’s what that matter. And it’s set literally on my stoop. Yep, the show is set in the Brooklyn I know, I love, I live in. I know very well cafè Grumpy were I hang out occasionally (despite their a way too rosted cafè) and I love stay there doing absolute nothing but indie-hipster watching. It’s very relaxing and funny because Americans (especially NewYorkers) are thought not to look at people (you) and mind to their own business but it’s clear that their are trying to understand why a 30 something too well dressed for their standards is doing on their kingdom. Should they be afraid of a rapid rent climbing because of people like me moving into the ‘burg? Well, that is exactly what Hannah (girls main character) would think. Right there. Right now. Since she’s serving me my small latte.
It’s quite funny actually thinking about the meaning of the French title of this great exhibition taking place at the Les Docks, Cité de la Mode et du Design in Paris. I’m starting this post not writing about the great images you can see but about an epiphany I had the first time I red this title.
So, “Mannequin, les corps de la mode” would be roughly translated as “Models, fashion’s bodies”. But my brain, mixing and matching the five languages I know, plus my knowledge of fashion, and what I’ve always taught about models… well, produced something else. Something quite far from what the exhibition is about.
The correct translation of “Mannequin” is dummy. The French word for “body” is corp” which reminds me of the English meaning of “corpse”: dead body.
So at the very end, a model is a dummy/dead body. Or, at least, that’s is what my brain tells me.
So, let’s talk about men with skirts. Apparently the only ones allowed to do such a thing are Scottish Highlands fellas, with their rear quilted kilts, often tailored and worn without underwear, as the tradition of a “true Scotsman” commands. But the greedy hands of fashion lately have grabbed this great piece of design forcing it in something that just the bravest chaps can wear. First came Comme des Garçons with its Japanese designer both clueless about how a Eastern man would feel about wearing a, well, skirt, but also confident on that kind of ornament because accustomed of men wearing “froks”. And then came Marc Jacobs, fashion enfant terrible, Anna Wintour‘s protégé, and his very cool and naif way of wearing what is an actual everyday garment (at least it was at the beginning of its story).
Personally I believe that skirts/kilts are incredibly sexy on a man and I strongly support the cause. Amen.
Since a blog is also another place to fill with stuff that I actually love, I want to talk about another great discover of mine. This week the item is a notebook. But this is not just another notebook, this is a fashion notebook for prof.! You can feel like Yves Saint Laurent, Mademoiselle Coco or McQueen scribbling, drawing, doodling while, hem, pretending you are taking note during a class or a boring meeting with your colleagues.
Since we are a cool blog, we met the coolest band of the block: The Charlestones.
Four guys (Mattia Bonanni – voice, guitar, Matteo Peresson – bass, Federico Pellizzari – drums, Gian Marco Crevatin – guitar) at their third album – the recently released “Off the beat” – that have actually have something special to say and sing about. It could be their so brit and charming allure, could be their being so unconventionally Italians, we wanted to meet them.
Here’s the interview, uncensored, with Mattia and Gian Marco.
MirceaKilling: Where did you meet?
The Charlestones: Yeah, we met in high school. Well, three of us. Gian Marco joined the band later, in the first year of college. More details? We were all good in sciences, not much in geographies. I was a kind of genius in maths. (M)
I was good at gym, anyway I just saved them from the abyss (G)
M.K.: How old are you four all together? And each one of you?
TheC.: Everyone the same age, 96 and a half. (M)
M.K.: Any other side project aside from music?
TheC.: Me and the little drummer boy, we study politics (G).
I’ve studied Physics, now Statistics. Then I make biscuits and sell them. Matthew, the bassist, studies engineering. (M)
M.K.: Did you really get the chance to live abroad?
TheC.: I was born in Paris and I lived in for a few years. I’m sure I will come back one day, I hope with the rest of the band but I don’t know if they really want to come with me. (M)
M.K.: Did you attend music school?
TheC.: Not really, I’ve just finished learning all the chords. It took me ages to do it (G) The same for me. My guitar coach lives under a cascade, in the forest, sometimes I met him. D’you know Maharishi. Something like that. (M)
M.K.: How come you are SO Brit (pop)?
TheC.: Well, first of all, far away province is definitely our salvation. Second, I think the right question is: why everyone manage to be just followers of bands such as Tiziano Ferro or Negramaro? There’s no reason. Believe in me, it’s just so much easyer to refuse all of that! (M)
I just saw Oasis on TOTP, they were so… WOW. after that, i get my internet access and that’s it. (G)
M.K.: You guys are indie, Brit, ’60s skinny, if I tell you even a bit hipster will you get offended?
TheC.: Fortunely, we are not from Milan. More important, we make good music. Hipsters don’t do that! (M)
Hipsters just put their asses on a 80’s synthesizer yawning at the microphone, we play really soulful music! (G)
M.K.: What about the future? Hit the Italian market is your target or are you planning to go away, as many other had already done, moving to London, New York, Berlin or… ?
TheC.: I got some friends in London, I really miss them both (G)
I want move to Paris, that’s always my first choice! Our record came out in Japan last August, we hope to land in soon. Then we have fans in Iran, how it’s possible? Put them all together and try to make them fit as best as you can. We’ll try to do it! (M)
M.K.: Are you somehow politically involved? If no: why?
TheC.: I study politics, I know the rules baby, how can I get involved somehow? it’s horrifying (G)
No, I’m not. I don’t believe in politicians, I prefer to believe in me. Then in Buddha. (M)
M.K.: What do you think it’s missing in the Italian music panorama for a young band such as yours? and in general?
TheC.: Singing your songs in english is not a good idea, it’s like “mmm, ok you re good boys, but, when are you gonna start singing in your own language?” (G)
I just want to change it, totally. (M)
M.K.: What is your most desired dream as a band?
TheC.: Large audience, I mean, we deserve it! (G)
Noel Gallagher saying: “Listen to The Charlestones, buy their records and all the merchandise!”
M.K.: Do you envision yourselves playing at the Glastonbury festival anytime soon? And if that festival is too commercial where else would you like to play? and play with?
TheC.: Glasto is awesome, Coachella too (palms!) (G)
M.K.: What about the girls? Any groupies around yet? (I bet so, even if you deny).
TheC.: If girls love you, it means that you are good in something, that’s what I think. Obviously, that’s not referred on girlfriends, they don’t like what we do! Well, they like it only sometimes. But actually, we have no girlfriends, we love all the girls. (M)
For 2013 I’m gonna love the blondies (G)
M.K.: Who’s your stylist? Where do you buy yours clothing? Any preferred brand? Any hated one? Do you actually go around wearing those (cool) stuff or it’s just for the stage?
TheC.: We go everywhere dressed like that, ca va sans dire! I love 60’s vintage stuff, I do not follow brands apart from April77 (they did al ot of good stuff in the early days (2005/06/07) (G)
My mum is an excellent dressmaker, she has just made this cool sweater. She is a fan of Marie Claire and makes me everything I need (like I actually need something!). Write her, it could be cool for your next stories! Then, if you need, there is the good April77 boutique in Paris. I buy my pants there, my everyday pants! (M)
So girls, let’s go LIKE them on Facebook, or at their gigs (soon) around the world!
So, girls, let’s talk about the menstrual cycle or, as they prefer to call it perhaps for a sort of some kind of Victorian prudery heritage, the period.
I own all the gifts that this miracle can give: painful cramping in the abdomen andalso all of those that precede those days. Yes I’m talking about the PMS: sometimes it scares men even more than the cycle itself, as a matter of fact breast tenderness and irritability reign all over me and around me (poor hubby). Obviously you have to pretend that nothing is happening to you even if what you really would like to do is: kick everybody around, lay down in the bed, wearing a comfy pyjama. Do nothing. Be alone.
And since none of this actually happens you live your life in a state of complete misery. Let’s be honest here: there’s NO fun having every month a painful experience. You don’t feel more feminine. You don’t feel like the Mater Matuta of your own family. You feel like crap. But God exists and I have proof: Le Parcel. A genius service that provides you every month with the right tampons, pads and CHOCOLATE and a SURPRISE GIFT. All in a nice box. On time, right when you need it (but you usually forget to buy, right girls?).
It’s like it’s your birthdays every month!
I am madly in love with this, which is going to be available in Europe by the end of 2013.
Since it’s Christmas it totally makes sense that I’m writing this post. Me, the evil twin of this uncommon duo. The one that is not even Christian. Me, that I remember it’s Christmas just because it’s Holiday. The one that post on her FB timeline the video “Fuck Christmas”. The ateist one. The one that Ms. Serapioni described as “annoying detail oriented pain in the ass”. The one that cares about tomorrow just for professional reasons (such as receiving precious corporate gift from Tiffany, La Perla, Peck and so on). Me.
So, since I genuinely don’t give a damn about tomorrow, but I love you all, I’m going to wish you a warm, wonderful, loving Christmas on behalf of Olivia. Amen.
THIS IS FROM OLIVIA
Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman – Somethin’ Stupid
Don’t you ever think to live like Kate Middleton. It’s not that he’s not your Prince Charming, it’s just that a hipster is not just the cool guy who used to take you out to a steampunk party, to the tweed run bike parade in London “just because it’s fun”, to an endless list of (improbable) events so terribly “avant guard” or – better – rétro guard.
If you marry a hipster you have to face the naked truth: he’s never going to fix that thing or deal with the post office or withdraw money because… he’s too busy being cool! So, girl, if you marry a hipster you may want to consider to follow an intensive DIY course program because unclog the sink or paint a wall it’s going to become your kingdom sooner than expected!
And here a über hipster indie pop kult, the Strokes — Under cover of darkness —
Gauche caviar: is a pejorative French term to describe someone who claims to be a socialist while living in a way that contradicts socialist values. Ok, that’s the definition but what if I’m left oriented person – politically speaking – and I like great stuff? Would this definition be appropriate? I found myself wondering many times. Yes, I like cashmere, so? What is bad about it? And no, I don’t like affordable cashmere (this expression is a litotes itself, like the real cashmere can be affordable, ah!) because I may be a Salonkommunist but every time I buy something I actually care about what behind (and beneath) it. So when, let’s say, I buy a pair of Tod’s I immediately think to many friends of mine who work there and I think about how good the big brand treat them with something really close to “real socialism”.
So, voilà a very Gauche Caviar French Singer: Serge Gaisbourg – Chez Le Ye Ye
I know, I’m a bad blogger. Why the three-months silence? Any guess folks? No, I wasn’t on rehab to recover from my macarons/chocolate addiction. I simply had, ehm, a pretty complicated life to deal with. You know, complicated relationship with the husband, changing job, traveling to Paris – London – New York, attending presentation of friends who are (real) writers, those kind of things. And despite all the possibilities that the modern “being always connected” can give (no iPad for me… yet) I never really felt I “had” to deliver a piece or a thought or something because “I had to”. So, here I am, back again, because I sense now that urge that made me wanted to have a blog.
This afternoon I attended a catwalk in a very cute greenhouse. I have to admit I wasn’t really paying attention to the défilé because my eyes were cought by the décor which was already heavily Xmas oriented. It’s just me or in a couple of years the Xmas tales will be broadcasted by the end of September? I understand the economic meltdown and the need to bust the economy but, seriously, how far this Xmas-business is going to go? And more importantly, how can I escape from all kind of fatigues that this holiday involve? Suggestions are welcome!
And today’s song is —- The Charlestones – She Was a Firework
Death, divorce, job loss and moving are the top four stressors in studies that identify what stresses us out in life. I’m not going to tell you, loving reader, which one has recently happened to me but here’s what I’m going throughout.
1. Denial: the “defense mechanism” step. “This can’t be happening, not to me”
2. Anger: the “misplaced feelings of rage and envy” step. “How can this happen to me?”
3. Bargaining: is a step where there’s the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. “If I lose weight, he will come back”.
4. Depression: step with a kind of acceptance with emotional attachment. ” I’m not going to make it without…”
5. Hope: it’s the beginning to come to terms with the mortality, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event. “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”
Morte, divorzio, licenziamento e trasloco sono le quattro ragioni di stress estremo che una persona può subire (o sopportare) secondo i più recenti studi. Caro lettore, non ti dirò quale fra questi mi è capitato di recente. Ti posso però dire cosa sto passando.
1. Diniego: fase della negazione e rifiuto. «Non può essere vero»
2. Rabbia: paura e collera verso tutto ciò che ci circonda. «Perché proprio a me?»
3. Negoziazione: si inizia ad accettare la propria condizione imponendosi degli obiettivi per migliorarsi. «Se dimagrisco sarò più bella e rimpiangerà di avermi lasciata!»
4. Depressione: si capisce che si sta perdendo con un grande senso di sconfitta. «Non ce la farò mai senza…»
5. Accettazione: si accetta la propria condizione e si ricomincia da zero, o meglio si riprendono le redini della propria vita. «Ce la posso fare!Ce la posso fare! ce la faccio!»
So folks, here our first interveiw with a VIP! Hope you will enjoy the humour of Debora Villa, a very popular comedian that recently released the book “Women chasing wolves. Everything you didn’t want to know about women that I can’t help but telling you.” for Cairo Publishing.
Mircea. So, a book. Is this because you still believe into the piece of writing or it’s just a good marketing management of your popularity? And by the way, why the dog Latin chapters’ titles (which are a brainwave if you ask me, graduated in Humane Letters)?
Debora Villa. The choice is totally driven by my desire of doing so as everything I do. After the amazing success of my standup, we decided to put into a piece of writing our frenzy, widening chapters and contents. The dog Latins chapters’ titles are written by Antonio Amurri, who previously wrote “How to kill the wife and why.”
Mircea. Throughout the pages of your book, it seems that women are still looking for the Prince Charming to get settled, forever. Is this, still so rooted in our culture? Is all Walt Disney’s fault? And how should we get rid of it once and for all?
Debora Villa. Well, that’s a good question. To be honest I believe this quest is still really part of the culture of Italian women. So chronic that is causing deep, painful and apparently unsolvable frictions between the two genders. We wouldn’t be in such of a crisis if we didn’t have to uproot from our depths those archetypes. But we are working on that and, by the way, men too are tired of being asked and expected to play the knight’s role. Time for the change has finally come… Yes girls, we can!
Mircea. I was really perplexed by your description of the “groper”‘s accident. That is a real sexual harassment why did you write to have acted in such of a bland way? Isn’t that some kind of legitimation for man to “try”, leaving to women only the chamaleon’s strategy: stay still and camouflaged hoping not to be spotted by the predator? why not a public dramatic humiliation of the felon such of a verbal exposure or, why not, an old good fashion slap on his face? Don’t you think to pass a message of tolerance for this “bad habit”?
Debora Villa. Well, in my “real” life I’ve been unfortunate enough to meet a lot of “maniac” and I quote the word since some of them were really sick, and the other part were unpunished pigs believing to own the right to abuse. I reacted as you described and even more! Into the “book reality” I just closed those episodes with a funny line to be consistant with the book tone. I’m an activist, I’ve been supporting a non-profit organization focused on domestic violences and my social and civil engagement is costant.
Mircea. Here in US “How to be a woman” by Caitlin Moran is all the rages. Have you red it yet? and if so, what do you think?
Debora Villa. What a coincidence! I’m actually reading it now! To be honest I just red the first chapter about “Period” and “Pornography” and I found it reeeeeelly interesting! That Caitlin is a great woman. I believe she’s unhinging all the traditional values to set new ones. Can’t wait to read it all.
Mircea. How important is for you to be a comedian as a woman? What’s your goal apart from paying the rent and surviving among “veline” (cheap Berlusconi’s style starlets)?
Debora Villa. I’m from Milano’s suburbia (ghetto). “The Bronx” to be clear. I was lucky enough to have irony and self-deprecating humor otherwise I wouldn’t be alive. I’ve also been lucky enough to make a job out of it, which I love. As a matter of fact I tried many other jobs but I was always ill. I can’t do anything else but this. And it’s not easy, I swear, since I’m not a “daughter of” neither a “protegée.” And I like make people laugh on serious things and on nonsenses. I will do this till I live. Well, I pay back the good luck I had doing a lot of charities so I do TV, radio & Co. but then I work for free contributing to the causes that are dear to me.
Mircea. Wardrobe seasonal changing… Why it’s supposed to be a woman’s thing and why men’s aren’t apparently unable to do it?
Debora Villa. There are things that will never change…
Mircea. There’s this popolar joke on the web “People say that every women’s dream is to find Mr. Right. Bullocks! every woman’s dream is to stuff themselves without putting on a pound”. What do you think?
Debora Villa. Well, I’d say that’s so true!
Mircea. On a recent interviview you said you’d like to travel. That means you’ll come and visit us, brain drain abroad?
Debora Villa. It would be wonderful to be able to travel and bringing with me “the performance”. I’m working on a French translation and I’m considering an English version too… I’m finally open to give it a try and I’m definetly willing to travel around the world.
Mircea. Abroad our reputations as Italian has never been this low, thanks to our politicians that did a great job promoting themselves as womanizer, pharisee, tax dodger, devoted to nepotism and so on (ex. Bossi’s jr. false degree). What do you suggest us to not be ashamed while walking around?
Debora Villa. We have to own it and take control of it! If we are still allowing those people to run the Country, well, we have to say “I’m Italian, I live in the Middle Age but I’m sure that at a certain point the Renaissance will be back. Not that this “Govern of Technicians” is better with its saving banks, politician caste and rich people…
Mircea. Turning the tide: do you have a question for us?
Debora Villa. Why don’t you invite me to visit you? whatch out… I may come
Nostalgia, according to the etymology, is the acute pain/desire to go back home (Antient Greek “nostos“: return home + “algos“: pain). Well, despite my living abroad I never felt this sentimental longing. For some reason I’m happier, more relaxed, even nicer to people. Not that UK, USA, or France are the Eden of my dreams but it’s where I feel that anything could happen if I want to and this feeling is priceless as fresh air to me, for everything else there’s Mastercard as they say. Drinking an iced skinny latte*** from the local coffe shop (run by indie guys all tatoo and eco-friendly goods) while strolling down at the weekly market (which, btw, is not full with chinese crap) browsing its hand-made bread, ice bream, cheese, ravioli or clothing is an experience almost too simple and fullfilling to describe.
But back to reality and killing snobbery I recently came across to another kind of bitchiness: the design bitch. She works for a middle weight design brand, she dresses only designer clothing (more likely bought at the sample sales where she is always able to squeeze in), she usually has long bleached hair and has this attitude that she’s right jumping the queue at the aperitivo table because she has business to do after having grabbed two glasses of prosecco–one for herself and the other for the very important person she’s with; so people, you are standing in her way, just move or she’s going literally and phisically to move YOU. Design bitch watch your back! I don’t know how that happened! I never spilled my wine on other’s people cocktail dress! Untill now. God I love design!
*** iced skinny latte: half mug full with ice + half cup of skim milk + 1 shot of espresso. Stir. Ready to drink.
Hey guys, I’m busy. Very busy at the moment, preparing something big here in London so don’t feel neglected as I’m working for you, watching closely Mrs. Windsor-superboring-Kate-Middleton to report you everything I can note. Apart from that, I’m also sick, which is not really nice when you have to meet people pretending to be 100% there. Oh, I noticed that Kim Kardashian has recently gained an editorial on L’Uomo Vogue shooted by Mrs. Sozzani‘s son Mr. Francesco Carrozzini. I don’t know what’s more deceivable: the fact that such a nobody like the Kardashian captured the attention of L’Uomo Vogue or that nepotism doesn’t have shame. In Italy at least. What’s next then? Thanks God Prada doens’t have any kids! Can you imagine? Her progeny could become, I don’t know, President? And what about my (now former) fav. magazine ever? aka Monocle?
I’ve been so peeved recently, I mean, they published on they über cool “inventory” as “indipendent man” to look at Lapo Elkann. Are they kidding? That was personally insulting, like there’s no other young and cool Italian around the world actually worthing the attention of the magazine? He’s the super-and-spoiled (and stupid, the basketball game Toronto vs. Lakers anyone?) son of the Italian dynasty FIAT – Crysler now playing the role of independent entrepreneur who’s started (yes, a start-up, hilarious) a company devoted to design. Is Italian nepotism taking over even the UK straight back?
And with this disturbing question I’ll see you in a couple of days.
So, it took me an entire week to recover from the Milanese design week full immersion. It’s now gia-enormous! Almost impossible to keep track of everything I’ve seen, everybody I’ve meet with, everything I’ve… ehm, drunk eaten. So, one night I had this VIM (Very Important Meeting) and since even my natural glow after a long winter of unnatural light exposure it’s a little bit vanished, I decided to take the risk and go to Sephora to have a make-up on the way. I asked the make up artist, let’s call him mister Blush (how old was he? perhaps 17?), a very light and natural look for a meeting. So, after half an hour of work — and I believe 10 kg of products — he showed me my face: I looked like a business woman who take herself a way too seriously, so I asked the artist to take it a bit off. And he did, I went to my appointment with the neat impression to have on a chalk mask on, and my ability to facial expression was severely reduced but in spite of that (and to high heels) I somehow managed the situation. Later that night, when I was home, I tried to remove it. Well, after half of bottle of make-up remover, billions of wads, and one shower my eyes were still presenting heavy traces of eye-liner that I was unable to clean. So I’ve had a lightbulb moment finally getting what “waterproof make-up” really is. And that was THE moment of my exhausting design week.