Lace and Pearls | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

Girl-Pink-Green-1aWelcome to my Friday Fashion episode.
I have been away from this column for a while, trying to detox from the Internet. While I was in that mode, I studied trends and customs of our society. I found new treasures on my way. The South of Italy strikes again. Yes, the fashion capital in Italy is Milan and everyone who wants to make a mark converges there, but in the deep south of Italy, in small country towns there are people creating distinctive and original fashion.
(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Bracelets

 

Mixed(all photos are property of Lace and Pearls)

This is the case of Diamante (Diamond), a small quaint coastal town in Calabria home of “Lace and Pearls”. Does it sounds like a good title for a Victorian novel? It is in fact a brand jewelry made with Soutaches and cabochons. Soutache braiding has its origins in Russia and Eastern Europe, when dresses were highly decorated with silk ribbons, strings, rosettes and lace.

Blue Necklace

Rosangela Manca, the designer of this new fashion jewelry revived the art of braiding Soutache cording and completes each intricate piece with pearls and semi precious stone. Her creations are sold in prominent perfume and jewelry shops on the Italian peninsula.

Parure

 

Mixed2

The designer’s tagline says she “await us in the magical world of Lace and Pearls”. Perhaps we should pay a visit to her shop on the Tyrrhenian Sea. The weather is warm there, food is good, people is friendly, Diamante it is a vacation destination, combining business and pleasure is perfect.

Just a note: in Diamante town, a chili peppers festival takes place in the summer…. Very hot stuff.

diamante_lungomare

(Diamante, Calabria – Italy – Photo found on http://www.hotelroomsearch.net/city/diamante-italy)

Fashion services, image consulting services, and wardrobe restyling services are available with me. contact me, I am here to help. Ciao.
Valentina
https://valentinadesigns.com/services#fashion-services

 

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Val:FarfalleStampValentina 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. To better help people in 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/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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Another Couturiers Left This World | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

Girl-Pink-Green-1aThey make us dream, they make us stylish, beautiful, sexy and they live us with huge memories.
Micol Fontana left us today at 102. She is one the three Fontana sisters, acclaimed fashion designers-couturiers since 1930.
(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Micol Fontana(Micol Fontana) © AP

Who cannot forget the controversial dress Anita Ekberg wore in Fellini’s film “La Dolce Vita” ? It was the perfect dress for that film, which epitomized the decadent lifestyle of the rich, high-living society and jet set.

anita-ekberg-in-fellini-films-best-photos-from-la-dolce-vita
(Photo above: Anita Ekberg in the bath scene in Trevi Fountain Rome – film “La Dolce Vita” – Getty Images)

Ava Gardner wore Fontana sisters’ dress in the film “Barefoot Contessa” and many of the Fontana’s creations off the screen.

TheBarefootContessa

The gracious Audrey Hepburn in the role of a runaway princess who fell in love with a journalist in the movie, “Roman Holiday” also wore Fontana Sister’s creations.

 

Roman Holidays

(Image Credit: Rare Audrey Hepburn)

The list of famous people, nobles, royals, presidents’ wife or daughters and Hollywood actresses the Fontana sisters dressed in their career is very long, even Alitalia flight attendants and official hostesses at the UN proudly showcased Fontana’s fashion on their bodies. In my many years of traveling, I have always thought the Alitalia flight stewardess are the most elegant of all the airlines’ employees.

The Fontana sister’s stories, like most fashion designers, started in the mother’s tailor shop or home-based alterations business. From Traversetolo, a small Italian country town between Parma and Modena, where the three sisters inherited their mother dressmaking shop to Rome where they opened the first atelier, the only desire was to dress the aristocracy, the rich and famous. Their adventure started at the break of WWII, but the war didn’t stop them from pursuing their dream. They chose Rome as their base while everybody preferred to open fashion houses in Paris, the three sisters defied and resisted boldly that market. They knew the aristocracy could not resist their sexy clothes and so they made it happen.

sorelle-fontana-atelier-micol-zoe-giovanna

(The three sisters Fontana: from left Zoe, Micol, Giovanna)

Many museums around the world featured the Fontana sisters’ fashion during their career, the awards and articles written about the Fontana abounded. The three sisters Zoë, Micol, and Giovanna possessed glamour and created sumptuous dresses with a special attention to women bust, their dresses were easier to wear than their French competitors.

Micol Fontana-fashion and art(Micol Fontana-fashion and art)

The inspiration for their fashion came from eighteenth-century style and designs of the early Renaissance. Between Parisian haute couture and the originality of the Italian fashion, the three sisters made American women really enamored of the feminine dresses.
Some people cannot be repeatable. Ciao,
Valentina
https://valentinadesigns.com/services#fashion-services

 

Copyright © 2015 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Val LeopardValentina 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. To better help people in 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

Flirtatious Clothes | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

Girl-Pink-Green-1aIt’s Friday Fashion at Valentina’s design. Do you agree that if we don’t dress for work or to cover our bodies, clothes should be flirtatious? I think so. You should dress first for yourself to look good for YOU because you like who you are, the way you are, then you should dress to please others whose compliments will boost your self-esteem. If we dress well and combine clothes elegantly with whimsy, people will notice it. Believe it, doors will open!

Every season I follow various fashion designers, everyone has his/her own interpretation of each upcoming season and they are fun to watch. For the next Fall 2014, I choose the line of an Italian designer Giambattista Valli. I find it very fresh, whimsical and wearable. The story of the scarf on the models’ head is the designer’s fantasy. He envisioned hard-partying women who the next morning wakes up with a huge headache for drinking too much the night before, takes the white napkins wrapped around a champagne bottle laying in the bucket and ties it around her head to go for a walk in the garden. All right, the story is pretty, but we don’t have to wrap our head in a kitchen napkin to go out the door, as you see the models in the slideshow. I imagine most of us have a different life than a fashion show.

 

(Photo credits are given to the respective owners)

I love the soft line for a whimsical look, the vertical stripes for elongating the figure and the transparency for flirting. I love the short pants underneath some of the transparent floral dresses with a cute jacket over it. I think the cascading flowers over the legs gives that effect of “now you see it and now you don’t” that is really sexy. My favorite is the Capri striped pants with the long skirt wrapped around and open in the front. It is smashing, a bit retro 1950s and I will do it.

If you like this look and without taking anything away from the designer, can you make adaptations to some of your clothes to achieve this look? If you have a long skirt, can you lift a corner of the skirt up to a certain point, pin a large brooch and expose part of your leg? Go ahead be flirtatious with clothes, it is in our nature and I can help you with that. Ciao,
Valentina
https://valentinadesigns.com/services#fashion-services

 

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Cappello GialloValentina Cirasola is a trained Fashion and Interior Designer, working in the USA and Europe. 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. To better help people in 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

Something Up The Sleeve | Valentina Cirasola |Designer

Girl-Pink-Green-1aToday has been a day dedicated to the beaux-arts and creative arts. We are approaching the studio of an inventor of Interactive Fashion Art.  I was told it will astound us when we get to see what it is. The designer in person greets us at the door. His studio seems very industrial, but he doesn’t, he is fashionable and well polished. The door is sticking and the wind blows it open a few times. This going back a forth to close the door is giving me a little more time to observe his gestures. He is a smoker and very coquettish in his movements. After a brief introduction, I got him to talk about his invention, as matter of fact, he is wearing it. He is Gianfranco Nicastri.

His invention consists in a removable card 2” x 1″  of painted art taken from a canvas insert inside the wrist cuff of a shirt. Basically, a canvas has a few slits here and there where a 2” card is inserted. Both the card and underneath the card area are painted twice with the same details. When one card is removed the canvas area underneath is fully painted and doesn’t look bare naked. The painted card is then inserted into the opening of the shirt’s cuff fabricated with an open frame made just for this purpose. Only one wrist cuff of the shirt hosts a painted card. Women and men’s shirts carry this detail.

At first I thought the system is a bit fussy, taking the card out of the painting and putting in the shirt, then one must remember to take the card out of the shirt again before taking it to the dry cleaner. Will people remember to do all that in this busy life we live? Then I remember we are in the south of Italy, people here know how not to get stressed out. Like all the new things it takes time to digest it. However more I looked at it, more I liked it. It is different, snazzy and why not wearing a piece of real painted art?!  The shirts with the insertable cards sell on Gianfranco Nicastri’s site – www.nartist.it

Women purses with this technology apparently are being snapped up, he can’t produce them enough and jeans are still being perfected. Gianfranco has adopted the system of Interactive Fashion Art on upholstered chairs with arms and it looks so artsy. The insertable card is larger, almost as if the entire painting is done directly on the piece of furniture. Hopefully, we will see these inventions all over the world, as it seems they are already going. Traveling is the only thing you buy that makes you rich and we are learning so much on this trip.  Ciao,
Valentina
https://valentinadesigns.com/services#fashion-services

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Val:FarfalleStampI am writing a travel diary of my last trip to Puglia with an American group and sharing with all of you my notes of feelings, observations, food-wine tasting and experiences that have changed the life of people traveling with me. The trips I organize are made for people who want to live it up in Puglia! Check out my books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Bread In Style | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

You would think that if you go to a bread shop is to buy bread and a few other treats available in the shop, but in Italy people want to find style and colors with bread. The shop must be packed with flavors, aromas, inviting atmosphere and fashion. “L’occhio vuole la sua parte” as we say in Italian, basically we eat with the eyes first and if the owner of the shop is well dressed with harmonious clothes and appearance is well put together, the bread products sell even better. This is the case of Patrizia Perrone, owner of Panificio Perrone – Forno di Gennaro, in Matera, Italy. Her newly remodeled shop designed by Italian architect Antonio Di Benedetto at KA Lab is modern and very stylish with a back room for casual eating looking to an open view in the production, because there is nothing to hide when products are made with naturals ingredients.

 

All her products sit on shelves with a suffuse lighting and the bread behind the counter is displayed in an appetizing way. The apron Patrizia wore intrigued me and pushed me to interview her. She started by saying that her company logo is a bread shaped as a woman representing the women running her company. In ancient time only women made breads, but since home stove had not been invented yet, the women took their bread dough to a public oven to have it cooked. A wood stamp with the initial of the head of each family distinguished one bread from another. Artisans carved those wood stamps for breads and in Matera there are still a few artisans continuing the tradition. In Patrizia’s case her breads are stamped with the letter “P” after her first and last name: Patrizia Perrone. The production in the back of the store is highly organized with modern machines programmed to produce breads, focaccia, biscotti and other sweets with ancient formulas everyone is still demanding.

Her apron is not a common kitchen apron,  it is asymmetrical cut at the bottom right; in the back three stripes, one on the right shoulder, one in diagonal on the left shoulder and one in the waist hold the apron together. The white scarf on her head is an old tradition, a form of respect for food, she told me. Before women attempted to work on the dough for bread, cookies or pasta, they closed the hair in a scarf to keep food making hygienically clean. Her natural, earth tones make up is in tune with her natural products and emphasizes her open, glowing beautiful face, framed with a pair of earrings I am sure heritage of her grandmother, a sign that everything here is a tradition and well tied to the territory.

In an Italian bread shop, a visitor notices many things: bread is stylishly shaped, because we eat it everyday, thus must look good on our table; the bread shop must be stylish, otherwise people don’t feel invited to walk in, food sold in the store must be stylishly packaged and fashion…..well in Italy  is a must even when selling bread. Italian style is about feeling good, look good and give pleasure to others. Patrizia by keeping alive the traditions of our land  gave me a great pleasure when I saw the Pannarella my grandmother made sold in her store. The description next to the product says Pannarella is like a canvas to color. Ciao,
Valentina
https://valentinaexpressions.com/trips-to-puglia-2

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val LeopardI am writing a travel diary of my last trip to Puglia with an American group and sharing with all of you my notes of feelings, observations, food-wine tasting and experiences that have changed the life of people traveling with me. The trips I organize are made for people who want to live it up in Puglia! Find Valentina’s books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w 

Italian Christmas Market | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

The first of its kind, inspired by markets all over Italy and Europe, this Italian Christmas Market makes its first début on Dec. 7 and 8, 2013.
A group of Italian women called D.I.V.E., expatriate from Italy living abroad organized the market.

The expositors all expatriate Italian women as well, gifted with unusual talents will present their custom-made creations for the first time. The market is a showcase of “Made In Italy By The Bay”, all items strictly made by artisans to promote Italian creativity. We can enumerate a variety of:

• artisanal Italian gourmet foods
• handmade jewelry
• Italian fashion accessories, luxury bags
• Italian language books
• several unique craft items all made by Italian Artisans
• travel (villa rentals, customized travel and weddings)

• I am one of the D.I.V.E. and will be there showcasing my three books, custom-made crocheted fashion items and personalized trips to the southern region of Puglia, Italy.

The Italian Christmas Market will take place at the Italo-Americano Museum, Fort Mason in San Francisco, CA. Dec. 7-8, 2013. Time: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.

If you are closer to San Francisco, please join us for two days of fun. There will be a storyteller to entertain the kids, while parents shop. If nothing else, being among an Italian community of highly spirited women will put you in a cheerful state of mind. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValOperaStampValentina Cirasola is a trained Fashion and Interior Designer, working in USA and Europe. Born in Italy and in a family of artists, style surrounded her since the beginning of her life. Her decades of experience led her to offer consultations in both fashion and interior. “Vogue” magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work. She also has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15. She is the author of three books, all available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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.
http://www.tasteofrunway.com/

“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 Marellihttp://pastamarella.it/ – 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,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

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

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