Tag Archives: Italian fashion

Valentino….One of the Kings of Italian Design

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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.

Fare La Bella Figura

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Looking good…that’s what Italians really excel in!  Making a good appearance is always top on their list – whether it be in the way they dress or in the way they act.  After my recent trip to Italy, I was really inspired by their fashion sense and decided to learn the secrets behind their grace and style.  I began reading up on Italian fashion, and was amazed by the simple tricks that one can learn to “Look Good”!

Now, not all Italian women have perfect figures like the graceful model Elisabetta Canalis (and they don’t have significant others like George Clooney!!).  They are real women with lumps and bumps and curves – some are short, some are tall, some are plump, some are skinny!  But, what they do have in common with the top models is their fashion sense.  They learn to play up their assets and downplay their faults with their choice of clothes and accessories.  Italian women’s shoes are always stylish, and every figure can benefit from a beautiful pair of heels.  Scarves can be used to accent an outfit, and even change it.  Different scarves  give you different looks, even when you are wearing the same clothes!  This is a trick that is very handy when travelling – it is much easier to pack several scarves rather than packing several different outfits!  Jewelry is also a great fashion accessory – but it should be moderated so as  not be gaudy!  And lastly,  a good haircut is essential – we all know the importance of a “good hair day”. 

Because I am a bit curvy, I decided to look at the tips for le donne con curve, or women with curves!  This is what the top designers have recommended:

1.  Wear heels to elongate the legs.

2.  Skinny jeans are always flattering, again to elongate the legs.  I have found a brand at Nordstroms that fit really well.  They are called “Not Your Daughter’s Jeans” and they were a great find!

3.  A beautiful white pressed shirt is a wardrobe essential – it can be played up with a skirt and heels, or downplayed over a pair of jeans.

4.  Skirts should not be too short – knee length is recommended.

5.  Colors should be understated with darker colors at the bottom (skirt, pants)

6.  Undergarments are SO important – good support and good control are very important to making the clothes fit better.  The designers stated that control type undergarments are now very comfortable and stylish, and that   they should be considered to be a part of the outfit!

I have incorporated these fashion tips and have purchased some new shoes, skinny jeans, and some white shirts.  I have begun to wear scarves to enhance the look…and I have to say, that with some stylish sunglasses and my new hair cut, I am making “La Bella Figura” or at least, I feel like I’m making it!! I walk with more confidence and carry myself with style!  Thank you, La Moda Italiana, for all your help 🙂

Fashion House Missoni..and my Dad?

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Haute-couture designer, Missoni, and my dad?  Two very different individuals leading two very different lives….or so I thought until speaking with my mother the other day.  My mom mentioned that a friend of hers had just returned from Italy and she had purchased a Missoni jacket in Milan.  My mom was commenting on how beautiful it was, when she interjected very calmly, how my dad used to wear Missoni sweaters all the time when he was young and playing professional soccer in Italy.  She said….”Well, you know, Ottavia Missoni was a big fan of your father’s, and he would go and watch him play all the time.”  Missoni?  The Missoni?  The high-couture fashion house in Milan?  The one whose clothes sell at high end retail stores like Nieman Marcus?  She assured me that it was one and the same, and she proceeded to give me some history about Mr. Missoni and how he came to start his rise in the fashion industry…and how my dad fit into all of this!

Ottavio Missoni was an athlete like my dad, only he was a track star (she believed).  He was also a great businessman.  He married a woman who was a master of color combinations in knitwear.  The two of them began Missoni with her designs and his business sense.

Missoni gifted my father with several of his sweaters – evidently at the start of his fashion business.  Too bad there aren’t any photos of my father modeling a Missoni sweater – do you know what a gem that would be for me? 

Needless to say, I was amazed to learn of this fashion connection, and am wondering what other secrets my parents are keeping from me about their lives before me!!!