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Today’s edition of Stylish Simplicity highlights the ERES bikini.

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Work it J.Lo 

Photo. Vogue June 2012

This French brand has some of the most beautiful bathing suits on the planet… classic and well made.

I never wore a bikini until I moved to Italy.  NEVER.  I grew up seeing magazine covers constantly saying, “Get A Beach Ready Body!” or tabloid headlines that screamed, “Worst Beach Bodies!”   In Los Angeles many of my colleagues gleefully ripped celebrities to shreds, calling them fat and what not.  Celebrities who were no larger than a size 4.

What’s the point of starving oneself for the season?  What happens once the summer is over, back to bad eating habits? I blame the Puritans for this madness.

The first time I went to the beach here I was stunned by the variety of shapes, sizes, and ages wearing bikinis and Speedos.  Italians were chilling, just doing their thing.  I stood out with my very sensible one-piece for a woman of a “certain age.”

How do my friends in Italy get ready for beach season?  They put on a bathing suit and go to the beach.

I’m not sure what made me decide to take the plunge and finally buy my first bikini.  In the fitting room, I told the saleslady there wasn’t enough coverage on top. She looked at me like I had two heads.   She said that’s the way a bikini was supposed to fit.  I was skeptical.

The day came when my Eres bikini and I went out in public.  The world didn’t stop spinning.   The Italians couldn’t care less.  The only reason I stood out is because I was one of the few people of color on the beach not selling a trinket.

Now my sensible one-pieces (which actually made me look heavier) are sitting at the back of my closet.  To me function is just as important as style.  A two-piece is more practical than a one-piece.

I wish I could go back and talk to my critical younger self. I’d tell her to get a grip, just go to the darn beach, and enjoy herself.

Today is Festa della Repubblica in Italy.  It’s similar to July 14th in France or the 4th of July in the United States of America.   It’s a three day weekend.  While most of my friends went out of town, I stayed behind in the city.

I’ve just returned from checking in on my Anguilla project.  Before I left, the weather in Rome was awful… constant rain and chilly.

Now, summer is here.  The days are getting longer and folks have busted out their white jeans.

I used to avoid white jeans because I thought my thighs were too “thick” for them.  I now know it’s all about the cut and what I’m wearing as a top.

I love this summer look.  It’s so stylish and simple.  Below are five favorites:

The one, the only, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.

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The lovely Garance Doré photographed by her man, Scott Schuman (aka The Satorialist).

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Zoe Saldana.  Really like the color of her blazer.

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Photo: trendmill.com

Geraldine Saglio from FRENCH VOGUE.  Those shoes!

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Photo: gastrochic.com

Molto chic.

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Photo: thebestfashionblog.com

When certain people get on their high horse and say they never watch reality TV because everything sucks, in my head, I’m rolling my eyes.  That’s similar to saying they don’t read novels because FIFTY SHADES OF GREY was terrible.

As with any form of entertainment, there are great reality shows and then the ones that are pure garbage.  Regarding the latter I’m not talking about the ones that are so bad they’re good, but are truly awful.  They’re either boring or showcase the worst stereotypes of the protagonists.

I tend to watch shows where people are making something or doing something, like TOP CHEF, PROJECT RUNWAY, CAKE BOSS, MASTERCHEF ITALIA,  ONE BRYK AT A TIME, CERCO CASA DISPERATAMENTE,  (hmm lots of cooking and decorating shows), etc.

Since SKY Cable dropped the E! channel, my reality show intake has dropped.  That channel used to air most of the Bravo shows.  Tears.

THE FACE, the USA version, started airing in Italy a few months ago on Sky Uno.  I missed the first few episodes.  During one rainy (basta!) Sunday afternoon I happened to catch two episodes and I was hooked.

The format of this show is brilliant.  The wanna-be models are broken up into three teams with one of the supermodels coaching them.

Of course, nobody would watch a show that was all about rainbows and unicorns, so yes there is drama.  Naomi played to win and Coco and Karolina sometimes seemed like they didn’t know what hit them.

The UK version, which is currently on the air, is a little different.  Erin and Caroline give Naomi a run for her money.

I don’t understand why Tyra fired noted photographer™  Nigel Barker and Miss J.  I was so glad to see Nigel on the USA version of THE FACE.

Could someone please hook up Miss J. with a show?

 

 

 

Before my first trip to Italy, nine years ago, I had to cut my vacation short.  The production company I worked for decided to shut down, permanently, two weeks before Christmas.  Happy Holidays everyone!

I was going to scrap the entire trip but my family was very worried about my mental state and insisted I go.

I decided to travel to only one city for just one week.  I narrowed down my choices to Rome or Florence.  One of my good friends in L.A. is a hardcore Italophile.  She proclaimed that I was a Rome person and should save Florence for another trip.

I’ve been to Florence twice. The art is stupendous and the city is beautiful.  Yet each time I felt anxious and couldn’t wait to return to Rome.  It’s not as if Rome is a laid back place.  However, Florence is a much smaller city and cannot handle the hordes of tourists and study aboard students.

Well, I need to get over it because I must see the new Portrait Firenze.  The architect/interior designer is Michele Bonan.  I’ve written about how much I LOVE his work, especially, the newish J.K. Place in Rome.

The hotel is owned by the Ferragamo family (the Lungarno Collection) and is located in the heart of the Historic Center. It has only thirty-six rooms and killer views of the Ponte Vecchio. It’s scheduled to open this spring.

I could think of worse places to have an aperitivo.

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This bathroom! The double shower heads, the warm marble, the tub, everything.

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Sigh. No words.

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Yes, please.

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Photos: Lungarno Collection

Everyone (who is everyone, really?) says print magazines are so over.  Dead.  Morte.  It’s all about the online space.

Sorry, but I still adore magazines.   I prefer to hold a magazine in my hands rather than read the same content on the computer/iPhone.

I’m very curious about the new magazine, PORTER, from the online powerhouse, Net-A-Porter.   They didn’t have to create a print version of the magazine.  I’m glad they decided to.

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It’s interesting that PORTER will shoot clothes by designers that are not available on Net-A-Porter, such as Chanel.   To me this (along with feature articles about traveling, design, the arts, tech, etc.),  sends a clear signal that PORTER is going to be a proper magazine, not just another venue for online shopping.

It will be sold in sixty countries.  While the company is based in London, the magazine is written in American English.

Given the consistently awful news about the state of print media, I’m excited to see Net-A- Porter take this risk.

I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

We are smack in the middle of the Hollywood awards season.  For fans of film, and/or fashion, these are glorious times.

Every season, a few people really stand out.  Some, unfortunately, stand out for all the wrong reasons and then there are stars like Michelle Dockery and Lupita Nyong’o.

These two actresses have been killing it on the red carpet.

I wasn’t surprised to find out that they share a stylist, Micaela Erlanger.  This has been a break out season for her as well.

I love that both woman wear clothes that fit their personalities.  Sometimes on the red carpet it looks like the clothes are wearing the star.

While it’s true most of the clothes are borrowed, there’s still no excuse for ill fitting garments.  One thing I’ve noticed with both Michelle and Lupita is the fit of their clothes.  Perfection.

How beautiful is this Oscar de la Renta dress?  On someone else it could’ve seemed too old fashioned but Michelle’s make-up and accessories keep it fresh.

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  Photo: OscarPRGirl

The detailing at the neckline and the color of this Gucci dress is stunning.  It’s a great color for Lupita’s complexion.

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Photo: E! online

I’m very curious to see what they will wear for the Oscars.

I recently saw Blue Jasmine.  Cate Blanchett is so outstanding, you forget the plot holes in the movie.

I haven’t seen all the other Best Actress nominees’ performances yet but if Cate wins the Oscar I wouldn’t be surprised.

The wardrobe was amazing as well.  I read that the costume designer, Suzy Benzinger, had a budget of only $35,000.  Most of the clothes were borrowed and every time Cate dropped the Birkin (which belonged to Benzinger and cost more than the entire budget) on the ground, people on set gasped.

Beautiful Chanel jacket.  Poor Jasmine.  She was bananas.

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Photo: Collider.com

How stunning is this red Carolina Herrera dress?  Love, love, love, it!

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Photo: indiewire.com

Stylish simplicity in a linen dress by Façonnable.

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Photo: NY Daily News

I have a completely different build from Ms. Blanchett.  I’m not sure how any of these clothes would look on my short self, but I can dream about the accessories.

Buon weekend!

Last week a fantastic Gordon Park’s exhibit opened in Rome. Titled, Una Storia Americana (an American History), this is one of the largest retrospectives of his work.

Gordon Parks was a true renaissance man.  He was a self-taught photographer, musician, writer, film director, and poet.

Parks was also quite popular with the ladies. When he was sixty he met a young aspiring writer named Candace Bushell, who had recently moved to New York City.  She moved in.  She was eighteen.

He became the first African-American to direct a major Hollywood movie and was the first African-American photographer hired by LIFE and VOGUE magazines.  His range of subjects, along his talent, made Parks one of the most important American photographers of the 20th century.  Many of his images are iconic and will be for years.

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I know there is a huge difference between want and need.  Many times I catch myself making statements such as, “that skirt needs to be in my closet.”

Hello, no it doesn’t.  I would like it to be there. That is a want.

I have written before about my lack of clothes for cold weather.  Now that I no longer spend the majority of my working hours in my house writing scripts, I really need to step up my fall/winter wardrobe.  I cannot meet with clients or vendors looking bananas.

Thank god I live in a city that is not as casual as Los Angeles.  If I wear a dress or a skirt to a meeting in Rome, nobody asks me why am I so dressed up.  Sometimes, wait for it, I even wear thigh-high stockings!

There are many things I would like to purchase this year but have narrowed down the list to five.

Long leather gloves. 

I’m thinking black or chocolate brown.  Why does Olivia Pope look so sad here?

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Ankle boots with heels that can handle cobblestone streets.

I have a pair of ankle boots with a narrow heel.  They have been destroyed.  RIP.

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A LBD.

Love the cut of this dress from J. Crew.

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A camel hair coat. 

i do need a new winter cloth coat but I think I can get another season out of my current one. This will go in the want column.  Max Mara’s coats are classic.

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Last but not least, I do need a short winter sports jacket.  I look like the Michelin Tire Man in puffy jackets.  I like the lines of this one.

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What’s on your list?

Dolce & Gabbana had one of the outstanding collections during Milan Fashion Week.  Folks are still talking about the last look.

It’s funny, Dolce & Gabbana is a house I’ve appreciated for it’s tailoring, marketing, and red carpet looks, yet for some reason I never paid much attention to their RTW.

Unlike most houses that are expanding like crazy, especially into the cash-cow lower priced lines, Dolce & Gabbana closed down their very profitable D&G line in 2011.  They said one reason was the desire to get back to basics.

In getting back to basics, they’ve also returned to Sicily.  The island has had a strong influence on the designer’s work (Dolce is Sicilian and the two have a house in Stromboli).

When I finally made it to Sicily, I understood how and why the island drives their creativity.   I cannot wait to explore more of it.

This collection has convinced me to at least think about adding some florals to my spring/summer wardrobe.

I never wear florals.  I like to keep things simple and clean.   I’m short and don’t want to look like Great Auntie Gertrude’s sofa.

This dress is so not my style. I cannot stop looking at it.  Is it the color, the cut?  I don’t know but I’m loving this Sicilian almond blossoms dress.

DOL_2014.450x675Photo: Style.com

Buon weekend!

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