Fashion And Food | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

One of my friends in my homeland Italy sent me a piece of news with a comment:
“Valentina decorates her home projects with colors of food and the fashion industry is putting food on clothes”.
Are fashion designers tired of seeing model as stick figures or finally they have realized that good food emanate good energy and vibrate positivism?

There is nothing more perfect than nature. Getting into the habits of cultivating own food, which is possible even on small patches of dirt, balconies, small patios or terraces and then cooking the homegrown food is the quintessential of health, fun and alignment with the Universe. Colors of natural food are vibrant, dynamic and alive. If we put natural food in the mouth why wouldn’t we want to wear their colors? The natural and positive vibrations will double for sure.

You might want to click on this link to see a roundup of fashion collections and the food that have inspired different designers in various years of this decade. In this site there is fashion by season, by recipes, by colors and designers.

“Who said there are only colors? There are also the nuances.” ~ said Diana Vreeland, editor of American Vogue in 1969.
That’s right. Have you ever looked at the peel of red onion? Outside is red-purple and inside is almost pinkish. The colors of fried onions in a tempura batter with sage leaves range from beige, golden beige, pale yellow, gold, silver sage and white. This poor specialty was Armani’s inspiration in designing the perfect 2014 shimmering collection inspired by fried tempura onions. Onion is such a poor ingredient with a not so high reputation that often disgusts a few people, but when cooked can give an aura of elegant sophistication.

The colored pasta Marelli – produced in Puglia, the southern Italian region where I come from, inspired Missoni soft colors for 2014 Spring, while Marc Jacobs for his 2011-12 collection chose stronger and more vibrant colors from the multicolored pasta that marries well with four types of cheeses pasta dish. This multicolored pasta inspired him to combine bold colors, just like the pasta dish combines the strong flavor gorgonzola with three other cheeses.

One of my favorites is Balmain 2013 black and yellow ensemble with similar colors in the tasty dish of Linguine with lemon and cuttlefish ink. This is a dish for fine palates and food connoisseurs.

The friend who sent me the flavorful articles made another question:
“In which location would you enjoy eating the plate of Linguine with lemon and cuttlefish ink and which wine would you choose? He suggested Amalfi Coast as a location where to taste Asprino d’Aversa; on the beach of Ragusa, Sicily, drinking a Grillo; in Salento on the cliff of Otranto, Puglia tasting a Verdeca wine.

Well, with these good suggestions from my Italian friend, I will go look for cuttlefish (ink is so very easy to extract from it) and will hand-made the linguine.
It’s more difficult to talk about hand-made pasta then actually make it.
Create a great weekend. Ciao,

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val StandingValentina Cirasola has been in business as an interior designer since 1990 improving people’s life by changing their spaces. Often people describe her as “the colorist” for a reason. She lives in a colorful world, wrote a book on colors ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors and loves to color her clients’ environments by creating the unusual. Her deep interest in food led her as an autodidact in the studies of food in history, natural remedies, nutrition and well-being, then finally she wrote two books on Italian regional cuisine. Find Valentina’s three books on Amazon:


Shoes Tell Your Story | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

A jazzy music from the ’30 was filling the air of San Francisco’s street the other day. As I got closer, I recognized the music of Duke Ellington playing from of a boom box sitting on the pavement next to a shoeshine stall. I looked around and suddenly I was catapulted in a different time in a different country.


Photo by John Thompson – Wikimedia Commons Public Domain – The Independent Shoe-Black by John Thomson, 1877.

The colors of the street turned sepia colors and I was a girl in Italy walking together with my father, in a time when men took a great care of their exterior appearance and just like women, men too went into extensive hours of grooming to achieve a polished look. In my vision, shoeshine stalls were at almost every city block, ice cream vendors screamed to have the best ice cream of the entire city and bicyclists filled the streets with only a few cars, but the sound of San Francisco’s cable car returned me to reality. The magic of being in another era lasted a few seconds.

The street shoeshine stalls are disappearing in Italy too, as people find more convenient to polish their shoes at home. However, there is a majority of people in Italy still cleaning their shoes before leaving home. Italian people wear leather shoes more often than tennis shoes and the “dandy” affected look is still very much a high game in Italy. To have dirty shoes is a sign of sloppiness and uncaring to make bella figura, the Italian art of looking good in the eyes of others.

Kids shined shoes of American GIs during WWII out of necessity to make extra money. Italian film-maker Vittorio De Sica took inspiration from this new street activity to produce a film called Sciuscia’, which was the word kids shouted to American soldiers to attract their attention and let them know they were open to shine shoes. It was the way English sounded to them Shoeshine – Sciuscia’. They served only men and continued to these days.

An Italian shoeshine is a colorful street character. The man who wants to shine his shoes will be asked to sit on the high chair while the shoeshine will sing at him some Opera Aria or any well-known pop music, otherwise the two men will start talking about politics and sport, two favorite subjects men talk about in the street with strangers. A shoeshine might not be a highly educated person, but can speak four or more languages easily. At times, I heard them babble in Japanese, Chinese and Arabic, aside from the common European languages they have mastered well and mostly learned in the street from tourists. Rest assured that at the end of his service, the shoes are like brand new and the customer leaves amused.


Every home in Italy owns one elegant wooden box with all the necessary items to shine shoes beautifully and if not they have the basic creams and brushes lose in a drawer. I have a cedar box my mother left me and every time I go out the door, I polish my shoes and remember.
Now, it’s September and as every September it’s time to go through my shoes, get rid of the pairs I don’t want anymore and polish all the winter shoes. My shoes are well kept and someone else will have the chance to enjoy them the second time around.


Feet are the end of our body and often are not the prettiest part. They support the weight and the beating of the walk. We make them swollen and tired, the least we can do, is to make them look good. Shoes tell the story of who we are and men with polished shoes have my attention! Ciao,
Open this link and scroll down the page to find my Fashion Services

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val WorkingValentina Cirasola has been a lifetime designer in fashion and interiors. Her extensive knowledge of colors and materials led her in both directions successfully. Vogue Italy and many prominent publications in California featured her work. Among designing and remodeling homes, designing custom-made furniture and writing books, Valentina is now teaching etiquette, table manners, table setting and life style. Check out her latest book Red-A Voyage Into Colors on the subject of colors, available on

Daydreaming On The Orient Express | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


In a few minutes, the doors of the most famous and chic train in the history will start its journey through Europe countryside and I will be on board. Handsome men in starched uniforms greet me with big smiles making sure the accommodation in my private cabin is just right. All the passengers are treated with white gloves, whether they are royalty or restaurant-car conductors, so much elegance, so much mystique here.

I see Agatha Christie, Miss Marple, and Hercule Poirot boarding the train. Is a murder going to happen tonight while I am on the train? Resolving mystery in thriller films has been one of my specialties.

I asked Agatha Christie where she gets the inspiration for her thriller books and she said the plots come to her at such odd moments when she is walking along the street, or examining a hat shop. Miss Marple looks like a sweet grandmother, one of those grandmothers we know in the country.

In Venice, I spotted a lad dressed in black boarding the Venice Simplon-Orient Express. He appears unaccompanied, his walk is distinctively elegant, but an aura of mystery surrounds him. Will he be involved in the murder? It’s all to be seen, but in the meantime, I want to know him. Of course, someone who is open, friendly and comes to me saying “Hi, I am so and so…” could not attract me, instead, those who have a mysterious and distant look attract me.

The smell of the Mahogany inlaid wood inebriates me, or wait, perhaps it’s the smell of fresh flowers everywhere filling the wagons with expensive perfume scents. No, I know what it is: the popping of the champagne in the silver bucket polished to perfection! I can ask for champagne anytime and anywhere on the train. Bell stewards with white gloves will respond to any request all hour of the day.

Where is that lad? His piercing green eyes are dangerous. For a moment he took off his dark sunglasses and I saw the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea in those eyes.

I am looking at my cabin, no details have gone unchecked, I smell luxury and comfort. The Venice Simplon-Orient Express reflects the current deco period style. Will I ever have a client who likes to decorate a house in the deco period style? Or am I going to be stuck in the Belle Époque? I know the deco period is modern and graphic, the only sinuous lines are the representation of lilies flowers on furniture, lighting, door panels, glass, and accessories. Flooring often is checkered or made of mosaic, strong and vibrant colors characterize all floors in this roaring age. Black is the common denominator that unites a home décor in this style as well as fashion.

The Gatsby’s are on the train too. This will be a load of fun! Zelda Fitzgerald is so beautiful and “all over the place” exactly how people who know her have described her. It has been said her talent lays in drinking and there she goes with her first morning glass of champagne!

The Venice Simplon-Orient Express licenses its name from SNCF (French railways), the trademark owners. It will take us from Venice to Paris and London. To some people, the Orient Express is synonymous with this modern decade of 1920-30s traveling in style on the route between Paris and Constantinople and to some others, it simply evokes memories of past steam engines and luxury carriages. To me, it means venturing, replicating, and creating in homes a dreamy setting with this fantastic train décor.

But wait where did the lad dressed in black go? We could pop a cork together. Ah, he is there at the piano bar I can see the large silver buckles on his black shoes, he is entertaining Madame Pochette.

What a fabulous woman she is, petite, and full of spunk! She created extravagant pochettes (clutch bags) in her life, they were true work of art. Great fashion designers requested her pochettes for their fashion collections, but she created them as her fantasy dictated and that was it, never bent to any particular request. One day she opened her Bohemian guesthouse in Cannes that she called Madame Pochette. Her guesthouse attracts high calibers poets, painters, musicians, lovers, and politicians with all the best intrigues one can weave in a juicy novel.

(Photo credits to Simplon Orient Express)

Chic people mingle around in the train, women dresses are so elegant, black tie is required for dinner at night and a musician shows off his pianist skills with the music of the modern Jazz Age of Gershwin, Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, and King Oliver.

Enrico is the name of my mystery man; apparently, he is Italian, apparently looks like a man who makes an art in wasting women, apparently his voice is suave and hypnotic, apparently is so easy to fall in love with him. He is like an octopus, once his tentacles brush against a woman, they feel enveloping, but an hour later he strikes his final grip that will take a breath away. No, I don’t need this kind of man, but before I could say no, we are already dancing the tango, wait, should we not be dancing Charleston?

The sound of a cellular phone brought me out of trans into reality. The music in the piano bar was playing, but Enrico was not there and neither were the Gatsby’s, Agatha Christie, Miss Marple, nor Hercule Poirot. I was day daydreaming on the Venice Simplon-Orient Express this April 2013 and this is my story. Ciao,

I was serious when I was wondering if I will find a client who wants to decorate in the deco period style.

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

QueenValentina Cirasola, is the principal designer and owner of Valentina Interiors & Designs. She is a trained designer and has been in business since 1990. She works all over the world through Skype line and in the traditional in home consultations producing concepts for remodeling, restoration of historical dwelling, upgrading, décor restyling and home fashion. Vogue magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work. She has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15 and has been interviewed on various Blog Talk Radios. Author of three books all-available on

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