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I woke up today to the news that one of the most important fashion designers of our time had passed away.

Despite his five decades in the industry, de la Renta was not one to live in the past.  He made classic, yet contemporary clothes.  It is rare to see a designer dress society ladies, Fortune 500 ladies, movie stars of all ages, and women who are not famous nor rich but love beautiful things.

Born in the Dominican Republic, he apprenticed at Balenciaga, under Cristóbal himself (unreal), and at Lanvin under Antonio Castillo.  I know a lot of people dismiss fashion as silly.  Perhaps some people in fashion are over the top but to me fashion is very interesting because it’s a combination of art, craft, and commerce.

There are so many celebrities out here on these streets calling themselves designers.  Please.

De la Renta was truly a designer.  He made clothes.  Beautifully.

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Mr. de la Renta will be missed.

Dolce & Gabbana have been knocking it out of the park.

I did read one review from a UK fashion critic who complained that D&G were tapping the Sicilian well too often.  She was RELIEVED to see that their S/S 2015 was influenced by Spain.

Hello, Spain ruled Sicily from 1516-1713.  This is still a Sicilian inspired collection.

There were a lot of bold red dresses and fitted black ones, but this black and white dress is one of my favorites.  Of course, I could never wear it as I’m too short and my breasts are too big.  But I love it.

The trim is beautiful.  I could see using something like it in home décor as well.

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Photo: Dolce & Gabbana

Buon weekend a tutti!

As always, one of my favorite shows from this week’s NYFW Spring 2015 was Carolina Herrera’s.

She somehow makes classic clothes that are fresh, not dated or matronly.

To see photos from her collection, check out Tom and Lorenzo.

I’ve been looking at mosaics tiles for a client’s potential bathroom renovation.

I’m curious to know the influence for this dress.  How is it constructed?   Where would one wear a dress like this?   On the red carpet?  Or perhaps it would be prefect for a fashion-forward bride at her high-end outdoor wedding in a French or Italian villa.

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Buon weekend a tutti!

 

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.

Look at that view.  Love the soft relaxing colors.  Those green lamps?  Must track down.

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Sigh. No words.

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I need to be here with my man, enjoying the Franciacorta.

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Pocket doors. Dark wood.  Look at that ceiling.

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Photos: Lungarno Collection

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