Category Archives: Fashion

Walking on Water



What better way to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Fendi fashion house than to create a runway on the water’s surface of the incredible Trevi Fountain in Rome! Many large corporations (and among those, many fashion houses) have taken on the costs to restore Italy’s monuments and treasures. Fendi’s project was the Trevi Fountain – and to commemorate the end of the restoration as well as their 90th anniversary, they put on this incredible runway show!


Watching the models stroll across the fountain on a sheer runway truly looks like they are walking on the water’s surface. The backdrop and the fashions are one of a kind – absolutely a phenomenal sight to behold. (Photos are from PanoramItalia)

Air Travel Turns Glamourous Once Again


What do you get when you combine the wow of Italian style to the glamour of air travel in the 1960’s? Voila!


And boy, is it something – I can only imagine how much fun it must be to wear these adorable (and so stylish) outfits while working! It’s like playing dress up every day!

“Made of Italy”, Alitalia’s new campaign slogan, is truly all about Italy! It’s been busy  reviving its image – and after its merge with Etihad – it has lots of capital to do it! They have re-vamped the food, the coffee, the fragrances, and even the chair design to reflect everything Italian. And these new uniforms are the face of that change.

Ettore Bilotta, a Milan high fashion designer, is to be credited with the new fashions.


“Being given the opportunity to design the new uniforms for this much loved Italian symbol was very exciting and gave me the opportunity to create a special collection which symbolizes Italy and our pride in Alitalia as its ambassador to the world. Alitalia is one of the most recognized arline brands in the world and I had to deliver something truly special. Working closely with Alitalia on every aspect of the design process was crucial. This ensured the whole project was created, managed and completed in Italy by Italians, and to showcase the arts, culture, people, design and landscapes of this great country.” He chose the fabrics from Tuscany and the silk from Como – but the best part is that everything is that he chose to manufactured everything within Italy! The uniforms are made in Puglia, the leather gloves and purses in Naples, and the shoes from Le Marche! How nice to keep everything in Italy, like it should be! Even his inspiration for the design of the hats was inspired by the terraces of the Cinque Terre !

Cramer Ball, Alitalia’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are introducing a new look which captures the spirit of Alitalia today as it continues on its journey of renewal and growth. In doing so, we also celebrate its illustrious 70 year history. Our aim was to create a stylish collection which would represent Italian excellence around the world. This is a country at the forefront of global style and design. The new uniforms complement the renaissance of the Alitalia brand and the rejuvenation of its aircraft fleet and products for its customers.”

In boca al lupo, Alitalia! We can’t wait to see the changes this July!



Royal Wedding on My Lake



Even though this wedding took place last July (and I didn’t receive an invitation but we won’t mention that!), I was reminded of the occasion by the post in Donna Moderna yesterday when they announced that the bride, Beatrice Borromeo, may be expecting her first child.

Congratulations to the lovely couple – they will definitely have beautiful children! After all, she is a Vogue model and a distinguished journalist while he follows in his father’s business pursuits and dabbles in car racing. And their families are quite beautiful, too!

But I wanted to reminisce about their gorgeous wedding day, with all the festivities happening on my beautiful Lago Maggiore! I love referring to Lago Maggiore as my lake, but in reality, nothing of it is mine except for my roots and memories! Most of it belongs to the grand Borromeo Family and it’s because of this, that this wedding was so magical and grand.

The bride and groom, Pierre Casiraghi, both descend from some of Europe’s most influential families. Her family is one of the most aristocratic and noble families of Italy and are the owners of the Borromeo Islands right outside of Stresa. My blog post about them is here if you want to know some of their history. He is the grandson of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco, and the youngest son of Princess Caroline of Monaco.

The couple celebrated their civil ceremony in Monte Carlo a week before the religious wedding in Italy. At that ceremony, the bride wore a gorgeous gown by Valentino. But for her ceremonies in Italy, she opted for gowns by Armani.


The private religious ceremony and luncheon were celebrated on the tiny private island Isolino di San Giovanni.



This island (which I never knew even existed) is one of the Borromeo Islands (which include Isola Bella, Isola Superiore dei Pescatori, and Isola Madre) and not open to the public. In fact, I wasn’t even able to find any pictures taken on the island itself.


From here, the party headed over to the Rocca D’Angera, an old fortress sitting on top of my future summer home, Angera! (It’s nice to dream, isn’t it?)



This fortress is visible from so many parts of the lake and I’ve seen it countless times. Back in the day, it was a scary place, but now it’s become a doll museum and a venue for some of the most elegant weddings ever! My mom actually attended a wedding here many years ago and she said it was gorgeous!


Looking at the beautiful wedding pictures, I was transported back to my favorite place in the whole world – MY Lago Maggiore!



The New Roman Colosseum




A few years ago, I wrote a post on the search for someone to hand over 25 million Euros for the restoration of the famous Colosseum in Rome.  Luckily someone has come forward with the capital:  Diego della Valle, CEO of Tod’s, the luxury shoe manufacturer.


Della Valle is a native Italian with lots of pride for his homeland.  “I’m someone who has had enormous luck in life and when I could give back, I did,” says Della Valle. “This is a monument that not only belongs to Italy’s patrimony but the entire world.” The project began last December and will take about 5 years to complete.  So far, they have begun by removing the soot caused by dust and smog almost 2000 years old.  The travertine stone has been blasted with water at low pressure to reveal the true ochre and red colors of the original Roman stone.  So far, they have cleaned 14 of the 80 or so pillars.  Once this first phase is done, they will continue by reattaching broken fragments and fortifying them with mortar.  The iron bars that dot the surface will be repaired and the metal rails will be replaced with newly forged iron gates.  A tourist center and café will be built underground in front of the Colosseum’s entrance and lastly, in the Colosseum’s cellar, where roaring animals and sword-wielding gladiators were once detained, the brick walls will be restored.

The bidding for the project began in 2010 and the two final contenders were Tod’s and Ryanair!  It’s a good thing that Ryanair did not win the bid because it intended to wrap the monument in advertising banners!  Now that would have been a sight for sore eyes!


Surprisingly enough, this seemingly generous donation elicited a huge controversy headed by the Italian consumer protection organization, Codacons because they disagreed with Tod’s having use of the Colosseum for preapproved corporate events.  Seems to me that if someone is being generous enough to hand over 25 million Euros they should be allowed a little bit of appreciation – a few private corporate events doesn’t seem like much to ask for!  Much better than advertising banners everywhere! This stupid controversy delayed the project for over 2 years, with all those millions just sitting unused, until the courts dismissed the case due to a technicality.  Della Valle wasn’t phased by this, but he did state “…I do believe that something as simple as, ‘I want to give you money, let’s spend it’ shouldn’t be so difficult.  My idea was always to use this [donation] as a restart.  The country is having problems right now. But there is a lot of will and desire to do things. All that’s needed is to show people that things can happen and how to do it.  I see it as an obligation.  Italians who have had success and luck in life should give back to their country.”


This philosophy has elicited a positive response from several other notable Italian companies:  Fendi will be restoring the Trevi Fountain and Diesel will take on Venice’s Rialto Bridge.  Thankfully, there are these very generous patrons who value the rich historical significance of these extraordinary masterpieces and are willing to come to their rescue.




An Oldie…And Definitely a Goody


I can’t believe that I had never seen this classic film, shot entirely on location in Italy, until last week. This movie is always at the top of any list involving movies shot in Italy, therefore it was a shocker that I’d never seen it before! Well, I had to quickly change that by renting it on Netflix! The film I’m speaking about is Three Coins in the Fountain, the 1954 blockbuster!

It’s the story of 3 American secretaries that are sent to Italy to work for an American company…and in the interim, they fall in love!


The story line is simple…the plot is simple…the entire movie is simple…BUT it is amazingly entertaining! It’s sometimes a refreshing experience to watch a happy movie that doesn’t take too much brain power to figure out. It’s simple entertainment and a good way to get whisked away to Italy for a couple of hours, while watching some incredible scenery!


The scenes from Rome and Venice are truly beautiful, and I loved the fashionable clothes worn by the actresses as well…especially that chartreause polka dot dress with the mustard colored belt and sweater worn by Jean Peters in her role as Anita! Can you tell I liked that dress? I would definitely wear it, even in this day!


Great movie! Great scenery! Great fashion! What more do we want in a movie?

Shoe Trending – Italian Style


Last year was the year of the ballerinas!  Everything was flat and cute…and meant for tiny little feet and skinny legs!


Needless to say, sadly I couldn’t wear them.  First of all, I don’t like really flat shoes – I need a little lift to make my back feel normal!  And secondly, I always think ballerinas look adorable on tiny petite girls and I just can’t pull it off.

I’m happy to report that this year’s shoe trends are heading towards the moccasin!  There are so many more variations of these – some with low heels and some with very tall heels – that everyone will find something that suits them!  Yippee!



So, time to go out shoe shopping to keep up with the latest trend!  What about you?  What is your preference and are you happy with the latest moccasin shoe trend?

2013….The Year of Italian Culture in America



This is Italy’s year to shine in the United States with over 180 events planned nationwide.  These events will showcase Italy’s rich cultural contributions to the world from the past, and also bring to the world the “Brand Italia” of the present age.   This Year of Culture was the idea of the Italian Foreign Minister, Giulio Terzi, with the blessings from the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano. The events will involve science and technology, art, music and theater, film and photography, promotion of the Italian language and literature, and showcase Italian design brands, tastes and flavors of Italy.  Among some of the great works travelling to museums, symphony halls, and other venues will be Michelangelo’s David-Apollo, works by Caravaggio and Artemisia Gentileschi, operas by Verdi and readings from Dante and Giacomo Leopardi.  There will also be “lighter” themed exhibits featuring Italian yachts, fashion, wine and food! The younger generation will be priviliged to receive awards, scholarships and university programs.


The Year of Culture will portray an Italy proud of its tradition of art history and its unique past, but who is also looking to the future, relying on 2013 to create and strengthen lasting partnerships between institutions, universities, research centers, museums, schools, theaters and production companies of our two countries.

“The Year of Italian culture in the United States will be an act of commitment to the further strengthening of the old and solid friendship between our two countries,” said President Napolitano in his message of congratulations. “In 2011, the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy, held successfully in the United States, have spurred a significant reflection on our common roots and cultural ideals. 2013 will allow us to look at the present and the future.”

Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, during her last meeting in Washington with Minister Terzi stated: “The best of Italy, which is very much, will be on display for the American public.  I’m glad that this will strengthen our close relationship through art, music, and good food,  We are very excited for the year to begin. ”

So….let the games begin!!  Let us experience all that is Italy!  A bit of La Bella Italia will be there for all of us to partake and enjoy!

Attached is an event calendar so that you can find a little bit of Italy in your neighborhood:
2013 Italian Cultural Events.
Many thanks to the Italian Embassy in Washington DC and the Consulates and Italian Cultural Institutes scattered throughout the country for bringing this very monumental task to life.

Valentino….One of the Kings of Italian Design


I recently watched Valentino, The Last Emperor – a documentary that chronicled “the dazzling and dramatic closing act of the last true couturier’s celebrated career” and touched upon the history of this great designer of haute couture.  Of course, I had always heard of Valentino, but honestly, I don’t think that I ever really knew any of his pieces.  His style was elegant – it was unique – and it was beautiful.  His use of fabrics, and the way he created those one of a kind touches on each of his creations, definitely put him at the top of the fashion design world.  His creations were very dressy and very formal, but also very wearable.  When someone needed an elegant outfit (without regard to price), Valentino could deliver!

The fashion house still exists, but it is corporately owned (and actually has been for a very long time, even when Valentino was still designing).  Among his most notable clients was Liz Taylor and Jackie Kennedy Onassis.  This is the incredible wedding gown designed for Jackie!

The movie touches on the relationship between Valentino and his business and lifetime partner, Giancarlo Giammetti.  The two have been involved romantically and in business for over 50 years, and it was the combination of the two together that created the great Valentino name.  Valentino was the artist and creator, while Giancarlo was the anchor that held the company, and Valentino, to the ground.

My Style Watch!


Whenever I go to Italy, I try to look at the store window displays to figure out what the upcoming fashion trend is.  As usual, the styles in Italy happen first and then they trickle to the USA (even though I’ve noticed that these trends do travel faster than they used to!).  During my last trip to Italy, I visited Milan where FASHION IS KING!  To my surprise, I noticed that the clothing styles were very similar between Italy and the U.S.  Belted tunics with leggings; skinny jeans; long cardigan sweaters – they were all in the windows.  But the two things that did stand out to me were the flat shoes and the large purses!  The trend seems to be getting away from high heels and into ballerina flats.  This does make for walking the cobblestoned streets a little easier.  But, frankly, I was a bit disappointed.  I always like a heel – I think it allows for elegance and grace – and plus, personally, I have a hard time wearing flats.  I don’t get enough arch support and really flat shoes tend to hurt my back.  Being, also, that I don’t have teeny tiny little skinny legs, heels tend to elongate my legs and make them look a little better.  But in Italy, a lot of the women are very tiny and so therefore flats look wonderful on them.  Anyway, the shoes were all adorable in every color and style.

As far as the purses were concerned, BIG purses are definitely in.  I ended up getting one in Milan which is gorgeous.  The leather and color are so beautiful that it is a real pleasure carrying it around.  It is a Carlo Pazolini – and I think it was reasonably priced for the high quality!

Window shopping in Milan is very educational…and very enjoyable.  I could definitely make a habit of it!