La Modiste and Le Trottin | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

My mom, in her life as a fashion designer/tailor, often used a Modiste (stylist) for her client’s special requests and employed a Trottin (errand girl) the same as the girl on the Champs Élysée painted by Jean Béraud (below). The woman in the painting is as flirtatious as Carlina, the errand girl working in my mom’s tailor shop. Carlina took that time to run errands as her own playful time to flirt and act coquettish with the guys. Often, she returned to the shop out of tune, with her head in the clouds. My mom used to say she had taken too much sun on her head while she was out. Blessed youth!
(Click on each photo to view it larger).

 

Degas had the deepest admiration for the creative work of young shop girls. In the painting The Millinery Shop (below), Degas is clearly absorbed in the Modiste’s gestures working with colors, textures, silk fabrics combined with straw hats and the gentle touch she puts on each hat decoration. Degas focuses also on the environment in millinery where ribbons, plumes and artificial flowers are laying around in the shop.

(Below: The Shop Girl by James Tissot-French)

In this visit to the Legion of Honor Museum, where Degas, Impressionism and Paris Millinery Trade was showing, I have learned the names of what I wear on my head these days:
Boaters, Boudoir caps, Bowlers, Bonnets, Capots, Peach Basket hats, Gainsborough or Picture hats, Touring hats, Riding hats, Fascinators, are some of the names given to various women’s hat styles in the 1800s. I am not surprised to see many of those hats have passed the test of time and are still being made in our third millennium. Of course, today we wear them for fun and not because they are required to complete an outfit.

 

(Above: Tall Hat from Musèe des Art Décoratifs, Paris – UFAC Collection)

 

In the latest works, Degas placed his attention on skilled women working in milliners under difficult or hazardous conditions, their creativity and hard labor, he depicted their working life. Having reached a certain wealth and not having the pressure to paint for a living, Degas painted millinery scenes for his own enjoyment and never sold his latest work, which was found in his studio when he died 1917.

(Above: hat with a dead awl)

Birds of Paradise, Purple Tangaras with black tail, Septicolor with shimmering breasts and ostrich were some of the tropical birds imported to Paris from France’s African colonies. Parisian hat industry supported a massive trade in exotic feathers from South America and Asia as well. Feather, stuffed birds, wings or bird heads were popular ornaments. To stop decomposition, milliners used arsenic, a new toxic substance unknown to be toxic and dangerous for the workers. Mercury, used to soften animal hair and felting of animal fur, was another hazardous material present in millinery work.

 

At the same time, the artificial flowers became indispensable accessories on chapeau de paille (straw hats) and that industry employed thousands of women. Maison Virot successfully created seasonal hats with intricate flowers even dyed in new colors and hats with velvet fabrics embellished with plumes.


(Above: Capot and Bonnets Hats: Philadelphia Museum of Art – Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George K. Rodgers)

Purple dye color, especially mauve, extracted from mollusks, appealed to the wealthy and soon was established as the color for royals, power and wealth. The use of purple has continued through time. Men’s hats took a small space in this exhibition, even though men, just like women, were not completely dressed without a hat.

The caricatures, just like in any era, makes us laugh and ponder on the futility of our customs.

It is a small exhibition and would have liked to learn more, as the 1800s were a time of novelties, inventions and preparation for modernity. If you have a chance to visit this exhibition, it’s well worth and it includes a few famous impressionists of the era. It will be on until Sept.24, 2017. Ciao,
Valentina
https://valentinadesigns.com/services#fashion-services

 

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is a trained Fashion and Interior Designer, born in Italy in a family of artists. Style surrounded her since the beginning of her life. Her many years of experience led her to offer consultations in both specializations and now she can remodel homes as well as personal images. She is passionate about colors and encourages her clients to express their individual style in their homes and with the clothes they wear. To better help people all over the world she offers consultations online. She is the author of three books. Get your copy of Valentina’s book on colors: ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Décor and Comfort | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind, and heart.
I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of home and sometimes technical information.

**********

One of the fundamental human needs that must be satisfied is feeling good at home. History gave us plenty of examples of how people found domestic well-being through comfortable, multifunctional furniture and decorations, but comfort and décor are not the same things. Décor is the result of what fashion dictates from one year to another or from decade to decade. We are still using Queen Ann style chairs with cabriolet legs because this style chair falls into the classic style, but when fashion dictated to leave the straight legs behind for the curvy and more feminine chairs, it was a fashion fad that was well received and though to last for only a few years, in reality, it has lasted more than a century.

A smoking room is no longer in fashion because it’s not a good custom to smoke in people’s face or fill the rooms with smoke smell, therefore there are no smoking rooms in today’s homes. The same is for library rooms, people still read today but they read on-line and mostly with reading devices, thus there is no more need to keep shelves full of books, or design a reading room around books, magical lights, and comfortable seats. I really miss designing library rooms!
Smoking room and library rooms represented the comfort of behavior in a particular era, the content of these rooms, colors, and style of a décor followed the fashion of the time.

In architecture or in-home décor, often we see the return of a style that we call revival, such as Tudor revival, Neo Classic revival or Gothic revival, just to name a few. Revival style is pretentious and artificial. It is only limited to the style of architectural details or the style of furniture. It has nothing to do with the behavior that characterized those historic periods. Every era has seen modern improvement in domesticity comfort with the technology available at any given moment.
We went from candlelight to electric light, from sleeping the entire family in one room with no privacy and often sleeping in one large bed, to kids’ rooms and parents’ rooms each with its own bathroom. Once the comfort of a home has been improved with modern technologies it is no possible to go back in time to sit on hard chairs without padding, washing clothes by hand or sleeping all in one room.

The reason for reviving a style perhaps is the lack of traditions and the desire to experience a nostalgic time. I like the Belle Époque style, but I would not like to live in that time when women swept the streets with their long dresses and horse & carriage was the only transportation for those who could afford it, the rest of the people went on foot. We cannot copy the past and transfer it to our life of today, we can only appreciate it by surrounding ourselves with a few traditional ornaments as an acceptable alternative.

Domestic comfort is found in the feeling of privacy, intimacy, an atmosphere of coziness and accommodating furniture. What we have adopted from the past is the concept of privacy when rooms were small, appropriately sized windows, built-in-furniture, and natural material. In early 1900 with the advent of industrialization, the incorporation of home appliances and modern devices made life more convenient without sacrificing a beautiful décor. This practice goes on today with more advanced sophisticated electronics hidden in strategic places. Most homes of today don’t look industrialized at all and we feel very comfortable using a remote control to lower curtains, turn lights off and get the movie started all with one click.

However, the comfort and coziness of a home don’t come from today’s fashion of making oversize spaces, open floor plans, and super high ceilings. The human soul gets lost in these impersonal spaces. To coordinate all the activities of a family to work in harmony in large spaces is a real challenge and it takes a lot more energy to keep large spaces warm. Kitchen and bath counters should be made in different heights to accommodate the average height of people living in the house and laundry machines should not be placed in the bathroom.
Cooking is intense and tiring work, kitchens should have a minimal walking space between the stove and the rest of the appliances with comfortable flooring.
Bathrooms are rooms for relaxation through experiencing a soothing bath with music, suffused lights, scents, and books without seen dirty clothes and clutter in plain view. Undressing room, once called boudoir serves the purpose of taking off clothes, eliminating the need for a large bathroom floor plan and while one person is bathing, the other person can do small ablutions in the undressing room without waiting.
These are some examples that will provide personal comfort.

Comfort is a very subjective thought. It really involves human physiology and how we perceive our comfort. Ergonomic chairs, versus artistic chairs, bright light versus ambient light, natural material versus man-made inexpensive and easy to care material, oversize furniture versus human-size furniture, the list can go on forever. Comfort doesn’t mean the same thing for all the people. Once we have abolished the feeling of discomfort, then we have achieved Comfort and only a person who knows his/her needs will know how to produce real comfort, not following the style of today that dictates to decorate our home in a certain way.

Should you need a technical eye to pull together a comfortable décor, I am here to help. Ciao.
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValentinaBlueStampValentina Cirasola is a trained Italian Interior Designer in business since 1990. Being Italian born and raised, Classicism, stylish and timeless designs have influenced Valentina’s design work. She will create your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away your comfort. She loves to restore old homes, historic dwellings and she focuses on remodeling. Author of three books, all available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Chaos And Dinner | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Zinzanni advertisement

What a way to celebrate Halloween! Last night and for the second time, I went to a cabaret show at Teatro Zinzanni in San Francisco, the ultimate crazy amusement. Teatro Zinzanni is one in a long line of high-spirited San Francisco theatrical experience.

Zinzanni advertisement

 

The high pace, high energy program evolves in a combination of cabaret, cirque, opera, vaudeville arts, games and dances. There is no real stage, actors, singers and acrobats perform in the middle of the circular room and between tables where diners are sitting.
Guests are greeted at the door by young and beautiful women in fish nets stockings, garter, feathers and corsets. It is a step back in time, a prelude of an exceptionally fun evening.
“The Belle Époque” era, late 1800, is the style of dresses all the staff wears and the high performers are in their stage costumes or the character they impersonate.

Inside Zinzanni ©Valentina Cirasola

 

The interior of the Theatre reflects the same era, with a lot of red velvet upholstery and gold trims, very frivolous, but very stylish and very Moulin Rouge.
Waiters and waitresses, bus boys and girls all serve in costume, dance and sing while they are holding in their hands the dishes full of food to be served at each table. This is fine dining at its best. I especially appreciated the squash velute’ soup with roasted apple slices, dill and a few lemon juice drops. Photographing during the performance is not allowed.
The scenario is happy, up beat and frivolous and the performances take place during the development of a 5-course dinner.

Inside Zinzanni ©Valentina Cirasola

 

The only drawback is that unless you buy the table for yourself and the company you bring along, you will end up being seated with many other people who might not be interested in socializing for the time you must spend together at the dinner table.

 

On my left I had a couple in their early ’50 and a couple in their early ’70 on my right. We made our acquaintances at the table.
The people on my right clearly don’t find life very amusing, because they did not even laugh one time during the show. The show was so funny, how could they not laugh? The people on my right were checking their watch every 15 minutes, counting the time aloud: it’s seven o’ clock, it’s 7:15, it’s 7:30, perhaps the show started past their bedtime and couldn’t wait to go home and get in the sack.

Inside Zinzanni ©Valentina Cirasola

 

My evening was fun no matter what and I really enjoyed myself, but if I had been seated with a crowd more alive, the evening would have been an incredible one.
Perhaps those people sitting at each of my side, deep down inside, wished they could have been as a free spirit as I am.

Inside Zinzanni ©Valentina Cirasola

 

The show at the Zinzanni mirrors the spirit of the city, a magical place that embraces frivolity, fun, intimacy and self-expression.
Enjoy life when opportunity comes, enjoy every moment and don’t worry about people who want to put a break on your frivolity or happiness.

If you have a desire to decorate a home theatre in La Belle Époque style, or only one room, I am here to help you, just leave your name in the box below. I would be thrilled to decorate in such exciting Parisian style. Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer and former Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe since 1990. She blends well fashion with interior and colors the world of her clients. She has been described as “the colorist” and loves to create the unusual. She is the author of three books available on

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

 

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