Unbridled Luxury | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

Girl-Pink-Green-1aWelcome to my 2015 Friday Fashion and everything stylish.
During the past holidays I left the Internet for a couple of weeks to detox from electromagnetism and got a chance to watch the world and T.V. One night on PBS there was a story on Asprey, a luxury store in central London on Bond St, the epitome of luxury goods that attracts the wealthiest people in the world, nobles and royals alike. All jewelry is made on the upstairs quarters where a hand full of artisans work on exceptional masterpieces that only the most fortunate people will wear. There, also they produce stunning gold or silver figurines that will embellish ice buckets and many other home décor objects silver salt and pepper figurines in the shapes of awls. The price is £7,000 British Pound each and they will make a stunning appearance on someone’s dining table in Houston, Texas, so it was said during the show.

The store doesn’t care to sell mass-produced luxury goods, there, everything is hand-made keeping an old fashion business alive in a modern world. Asprey became its activity producing elaborate dressing cases and not as a jewelry store, but during the course of the century jewelry became the most important part of the store trade, their clients come from all over the world to buy into the British luxury.

Asprey has occupied the same site on Bond St. for over 160 years spread over five Georgian townhouses. It was recently renovated for only £50 million, just a snip!!! However, the new open space and the glass ceiling make the store look grand, modern and inviting. This is a place where no price is showing in the windows. The old adage goes like this:
“If you have to ask how much something costs, you probably can’t afford it”.

In the T.V. story, something really struck me. It was the handbags private collection, made exclusively for Asprey in crocodile, with 18 Kt gold clasps encrusted with diamonds. The lowest price of the stunning handbags started at £33,000 and went up to £80,000. The price wasn’t necessary based on the size of the bag, a simple pavé bag could have been easily priced at £80,000.
Asprey’s clients buy exclusivity, knowing there is only one in the world of that particular item they want. That’s what the sense of luxury is all about.

A lot of planning went on behind the scenes. Asprey planned a month to sell all the handbags by inviting royals and wealthy people of the Middle East to a lavish tea. The store management was sure some of the powerful clients would have bought at least 3 or 4 bags each. However even Asprey sometimes can go through miscalculation of sales like many other stores. After two weeks into the private collection show, only a few women accepted the invitation and purchased a few handbags. Until one day a visiting Middle East Princess responded to the store’s invitation, requested the store to close the doors to the public and purchased 12 of the most beautiful handbags, I would say one for each month of the year.

The private collection was a great success and the store employees can rest assured their jobs will be still there one more year. It would be hard for the salespeople to come down from that high pedestal if the royals and wealthy didn’t shop there anymore.

Hey, if we have to dream, let’s dream big.
Happy 2015 all the way through and I wish many beautiful things will happen to you this year. Ciao.


Copyright © 2015 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

10626547_10203527385518761_5878448476892428943_nIt’s my hope that through my writing and stories I am enriching your aesthetic sensibility towards design, style and inspiring you to live in beauty. I have loved my profession as a fashion/interior designer since 1990. I am here ready to offer consultations on-line if you need or in the traditional in-home consultations. Check out my latest book on colors ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w


Things That Changed Me| Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

I don’t know what triggered the memory of London trip to come to my mind this week, but it was sweet and nostalgic. I arrived in London in the early ‘80s all dressed up like an Italian model, constricted in the latest fashion trend dictated in Italy, soon to find out that London is about freedom of expression. Something I was not familiar in Italy, my homeland. If fashion for instance says this year the color black is in fashion, like an army of obedient soldiers, everybody will wear black whether it looks good or not, then black will show up even in home accessories, kitchen ware, (I hated the black plates when they were indeed in fashion), bathroom and bed linens, illumination and everything else.

In London all this doesn’t exist, everyone wear what they want. Carnaby St. was the center of revolutionary fashion from Mary Quant’s mini skirt we are still wearing today 50 years later to the underground music of the Rolling Stones when they played at Marquee Club and where the swinging London lived fun days. I shopped in Carnaby St. and got rid of my traditional clothes forever!

I was pleasantly enthralled with the street life and entertainment I had never seen in Italy up to that moment, except for food markets. At Covent Garden, the man in chains was really intriguing. In a minute time and without anybody’s help he untangled himself from the chains he had wrapped around his body. Street players and minstrels filled the air with fun, laughs and madrigal music from ancient England. Life in London was much more colorful in my eyes than the life I was accustomed to in Italy. Oh, how I loved the freedom in London!

Nowadays in Italy many things have changed, there are a lot of street events, entertainments, art exhibitions, music, flea markets, you name it they have it. The city administrators  have realized that creating street events would increase store sales and help growing the economy, thus copied our neighboring countries and made their own street fun.

Back in England, one night at 11:00 o’clock, I crossed on a pedestrian zone with a red light. All of the sudden I heard the whistle of a Bobbie who scolded me for crossing with the red light. Where did he come from? The street was deserted, I was the only one there. I did it many times in Italy even in the traffic and nobody cared, I could not understand why I deserved a ticket and a ticket I received.
Upon my return home, trying to tell my co-nationals in Italy to respect city rules, to respect city vegetation, learn to eat different food, or dress to suit own personality was a huge undertake.

I traveled England by sleeper train from London to Scotland stopping at major places. Going toward Scotland, I fell asleep passed my stop and I didn’t get off at Inverness. When I woke up the train was at a full stop in a station.
I didn’t know where I was, for sure I must have ended up in the wrong place, I thought. The train keeper came and offered me breakfast. I was at the last station where I needed to be, they let me sleep for a while and then woke me up with breakfast of my choice. I was mesmerized of the gentle treatment I received from British people.

The England trip opened up my mind. It was my first time visiting an Anglo-Saxon country, up to that moment I had traveled in Mediterranean countries similar in customs to mine, where life is laid back, tomorrow is a better day, rules are merely suggestions and dressing up, no matter how beautiful and elegant it may be, it is always very constrictive. I was forever changed and I welcomed the changes.
What experience changed you? Ciao,

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved Val Leopard

Valentina will host one or two trips a year to Italy with the intention of showing Italy with the eyes of a designer born in those parts and let people experience the ”wheel of emotions” don’t even know exist. She will take her groups to the non-commercial Italy, areas not beaten down by massive tourism. Valentina will guide the tours through art, architecture, food, shopping and special adventures organized for people who want to live it up! Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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