Dressed in rubbish

I stumbled on a video of a TED Talk yesterday, and so much of it is how I think too.

I especially applaude this woman’s experiment of wearing somebody else’s rubbish for a whole year.

As consumers, we are buying more clothes, paying them less, with the result of wasting precious resources (water, cotton, electricity…) manufacturing cheap and non durable items, that will end up in landfill much sooner.

Three things I would like you to take away from this video – especially if you won’t have the time to watch it all:

  1. follow your intuition: if you don’t like your job, surely there’s another career where you can make a difference
  2. buy the best: buy the highest quality clothes you can afford, and take care of them
  3. think again before throwing away: if a journalist can were rubbish for a year, maybe it wasn’t rubbish in the first place

How my Saturn return changed my view on fashion

 

If you’re not familiar with the concept of Saturn return, let me tell you about it in simple terms. Saturn is the slowest planet of the solar system­, it takes almost 30 years to revolve around the sun. That means you are around 30 years old when Saturn goes back to the same position it was at when you were born: that’s your first Saturn return. For example I was born with Saturn in Scorpio, and on the 5th of October 2012 the planet moved back in Scorpio: my Saturn return began, and continued for two and a half years, which is the time Saturn spends in each sign.

A Saturn return is supposed to be a strong moment of change, growth, new responsibilities, but to get there you have to endure obstacles, waits, even losses – hence Saturn’s bad reputation.

In psychology it’s called the 30-years crisis: a moment of deep personal growth that often brings drastic changes to lifestyle, family status, career and personal view of the world.

If you trust neither astrology nor psychology, just call it growing up.

 

I knew nothing about all this, until it hit me. I was feeling frustrated and tired, I couldn’t understand why things were so complicated, slow and hard to achieve, I felt out of place, lost.

Then I read about Saturn return and it sounded exactly how I felt. Small consolation, but I think it helped me going through it consciously and patiently.

­

During the process, I ditched some of my old habits and discovered yoga, astrology, spirituality and holistic medicine. I found myself a lot more empathic about social and humanitarian issues, I even became a vegetarian for a few weeks. But the biggest life-changing step I took during that time was to become a mother. And when my boy came, oh boy!, another 360 degrees revolution happened: stronger than any planet, he took my life to a higher and deeper level, and forced me to question everything with a whole new seriousness.

 

When I started this blog, my dream job was being a writer in a top fashion magazine: living and breathing fashion shows, writing about clothes and accessories, working with luxury brands, getting to know new hip designers.

But all of a sudden something in my dream sounded out of tune.

I started putting everything under the microscope. Everything I was so sure about until then, I wasn’t anymore.

There are many aspects of the fashion industry I started to feel uncomfortable with.

Buying expensive garments and accessories every season, for example, is what the traditional fashion industry wants people to do. But I believe people have to make wise decisions with their money, and there are lots of things I can think of that can make you happier than a $2000 pair of shoes.

On the opposite side of the industry there’s cheap fast fashion, which allows you to accumulate large amounts of stuff you will eventually have to throw away, together with a waste of resources used to manufacture something meant to last so little. Absolute disaster. That behavior has already proven to be killing our planet, which is the only one we have so far to live on, and I can’t stand behind this and ignore the consequences.

I also blame Saturn for depriving me of the pleasure I used to feel flipping through the glossy pages of fashion editorials and gorgeous photo shoots. High-maintenance beauty that is only possible if you have the best professionals around you, from hair and makeup specialists, to a great photographer and photo editor. Women and young girls chase that fake perfection through cosmetic surgery, unbalanced diets, high-maintenance beauty routines. And most fashion brands continue to prefer unhealthy-looking bodies to showcase their creations.

I could not go to sleep peacefully with myself at night anymore if I contributed to this on my blog. It’s easy for me to preach that beauty comes from the inside, given that I’m blessed with a healthy, toned and naturally slim but curvy body (thank you mother nature), but I’d rather want my daughter to have an open heart, a curious look, a thirst of knowledge and take good care of her soul, rather than seeing her competing against other girls to get a job as a model.

Not to mention the cost of fashion shows: why throwing away half a million Dollars for a show, when that money could dress hundreds of people, save lives, rescue thousands of dogs, feed a whole village for a month, start many small businesses in remote areas and change the life of many?

 

But despite my new believes, I still have a passion for beautiful fabric, for well-sewn and perfectly fitting garments, and unique handcrafted pieces. This I know for sure.

How can I reconcile these two natures: the yoga-pants, chakra-balancing-meditation me, and the high-heels, eclectic-outfit, fashion-obsessed me?

One of my new favorite magazines is called Living Now. I could get it for free at the health shop near my house, and I loved its inspiring stories. It’s on there that I read an article about your two natures: heaven and earth, yin and yang. Even his Holiness the Dalai Lama loves his collection of Rolex watches even though he is beyond question a spiritual lighthouse on the planet.

This article explained how normal it is to have two different natures inside us: a mundane one, and a more noble, spiritual one. They may seem in contrast with each other, but they can live harmoniously in us, if we find the way.

After a completely black-or-white approach, I decided I should try to make peace with myself, and find a balance. And that’s when I consciously rewrote my fashion blog pillars.

 

I believe in careful buying: be wise with money, buy the best quality you can afford, stick to what suits your style and body shape, and only buy what makes you feel beautiful.

Borrow clothes and accessories from friends and family, and share yours with them: this way you will be able to vary your look without overspending, and be ready for a special occasion without buying something you’ll only wear once.

When something has served its purpose, or doesn’t fit anymore, or it’s been sitting in your wardrobe for too long, consider re-using it for a different purpose or donating it to a charity.

And as for fashion brands I write about, I will favour companies that have a sustainable conscience. I can focus on the good, I can give space to who is doing well and trying to change the business, and in that way I’ll be doing it myself too.

I have also decided to include in my blog home styling and kids decor, with bits of my everyday life. This is more in line with my new sense of style and ethics.

Although there’s still a lot of work, in my opinion, to make fashion sustainable, I believe I can give my unique contribution to the world in this area.

And similarly to the famous Elsie De Wolfe quote, this is my new motto: I aim to spread beauty and style to make our lives even better while being respectful towards people, animals and nature.

 

I am going to make everything around me beautiful.

Academy Awards 2014 – My Oscars fashion

The Oscars night is more of an Oscars morning, if you live in Australia.

Hollywood’s Sunday night is Sydney’s Monday morning, so the best you can do is to keep an eye on a website covering the event: the arrivals on the red carpet, the show, and the winners. Unless, of course, you plan on catching the replay on TV, in which case you need to stay away from it all.

And then there’s the fashion. It’s the moment for designers and stylists to shine. Who cares about the actors, when we can comment on every single choice of outfit like a panel of experts!

Well, it’s easy to judge somebody else’s job, but how would I go?

Find here the two looks I’ve created for the night. And don’t even worry about the price tags:  when it’s for the Oscars, it’s all borrowed!

 

Best Female Actress in a Leading Role:

Oscars outfit in black and gold by StylingNotes

Aurelie Bidermann gold cuff bracelet; Jason Wu gown; Giuseppe Zanotti heels; Hedone Romane earrings.

 

 

Best Female Actress in a Supporting Role:

Oscars look red and gold by StylingNotes

Kennet Jay Lane ring; Bottega Veneta clutch; Gianbattista Valli gown, Casadei heels.

September: magnolia look

magnolia

 

This look was inspired by the beautiful magnolia trees in bloom in my neighborhood.

An all-natural palette of green, white and pink, combined with layered textures and simple tailoring.

 

elena scarmagnan

Flavio Castellani tweed crop jacket with chain detail; Topshop tank top; Zara light-quilted skirt; vintage green suede bag; Il Laccio heels.

Gala Trend Launch at Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival Sydney

It all happened inside the beautiful Sydney Town Hall building. Think red carpet, photographers, guests, drinks, sponsors, waiters, models, even shiny confetti shot from cannons. Most of us watched the fashion through the screens of smartphones that shined in the dark like high-tech candles. A lot of twitting and instagramming.

And then, of course, there were clothes.

I noticed the persistence of some trends already seen on both catwalks and streets in the past few years: lacy dresses, crop tops, stripes and sacred-images prints.

But these were my favourite stand-out trends:

Ethereal beauty

Designers know exactly how a woman’s body is, and those who enhance it with beautiful flattering designs have all my praise. Impalpable, transparent and floral always add another level to the natural beauty of a woman.

Sculptural neoprene

Among all the designers who used neoprene, the award goes to Toni Maticevski, who made the most of the material’s properties, still keeping elegance and feminine silhouette in focus. He didn’t upset proportions and never cut the figure in awkward segments, creating structured waves, volumes, and unpredictable red-carpet elegance.

Surprising tailoring

Contemporary cut-outs, rigorous shapes spiced up by a crazy pattern, and all the well-balanced contemporary classics.

An Australian in Italy – chronicle of a shopping holiday

sottolombrellone

A trip to Italy is for me like diving in a second life, where everything is familiar and doesn’t require much effort.

Every time I go back to my home country I seem to realise something new – which confirms the theory that you need to distance yourself from something to really see it.

Lessons I’ve learnt this time include:

Italians really are a bit crazy and unpredictable behind the wheel – including those grandmas driving at 25km per hour no matter what, and the younger ones who don’t see any problem in overtaking 3 cars at a time;

Italian families are so close together that everyone gets a say on any topic –  whether your latest purchase was worth the money, where you should go for dinner and where you should park your car before going to the theatre;

something must have seriously changed in my style if some Italian shop assistants spoke to me in English as I entered their shops.

My holiday in Italy also implies meeting friends for dinner and drinks, catching up with local culture and music, and enjoying the beautiful urban landscape that I miss so much: villas, castles, Roman monuments, and all the ancient details that make such a gorgeous scenery.

And, of course, there’s the fashion, and the shopping opportunities I make sure I don’t miss.

Here’s what inspired me this year, and what I bought.

garden door

Door to a public garden in Torri del Benaco

Il Laccio leather sandals

Il Laccio leather sandals

case

House with staircase in Verona

boats

Boats at Bardolino port

White cotton tank, TFR cropped jeans, Diesel scarf.

White cotton tank, TFR cropped jeans, Diesel scarf.

spiaggia

On a private beach in Riccione, sunbeds are aligned and ready for the next morning

Kontatto maxidress

Kontatto maxidress

gelato

My cone of “bacio” ice crem, at Gelateria Patagonia

IMG_5249

Walking over the beautiful Castelvecchio bridge in Verona

Neoprene clutch (at Il Laccio Verona), Zara maxiskirt

Neoprene clutch (at Il Laccio Verona), Zara maxiskirt

statua

Opera props stored in front of the Arena of Verona

Flavio Castellani jacket; Il Laccio high-heel sandals

Flavio Castellani jacket; Il Laccio high-heel sandals

tramonto

Sunset on a private soccer field