Saturday, September 29, 2007

MILAN - RTW S/S 2008

On the Armani runway. After the Giorgio Armani fashion show, it is customary for Mr. Armani to pose with all the models for the photographers. It is here that he receives and is photographed with the celebrities, who watched the show from the front row. The Spring Summer collection, entitled South was inspired by the slow mood of the languid southern Italian summer. A gentle and relaxed sense of time and a yearning for a life more closely tied to the rhythms of nature; fierce light and deep shadows that alter the intensity of colors, reviving beige putty, earth grey and transforming blue into lava black, with the dark green palms, stylized and enlarged to create abstract patterns and geometric motifs.

VIP lounge - Giorgio Armani. Producer and actor, Samuel L. Jackson arrives with his wife, Latanya Richardson Jackson in the VIP lounge before the Giorgio Armani show. Jackson has just finished filming Iron Man with Hilary Swank and Terrence Howard, whilst his wife is appearing in the films All About Us and Blackout.

VIP lounge - Giorgio Armani. Socialite and Jewelry designer, Osanna Visconti di Modrone talks to actress Lucrezia Lante Della Rovere. Osanna is wearing her latest creation a bronze bracelet, whilst Lucrezia is wearing a Giorgio Vigna silver ‘stone’ necklace.

Detail. Chocolate covered Chinese gooseberries, one of the many delicious goodies to tempt the celebrities with their champagne.

VIP lounge - Giorgio Armani. Two times Oscar nominated director, producer and writer Spike Lee. Lee was in town meeting with the Maestro for talks about costume design for the film he’ll be shooting soon in Tuscany. The film will be called, Miracle At Saint Anna.

VIP lounge - Giorgio Armani. Actress, Anna Kanakis who latest film is called La Terza Verita or The Third Truth is wearing a Giorgio Armani men’s smoking suit. “I like the ambiguous look; it’s very Julie Andrews in Victor Victoria. That was my mood today.” She explained.

Swarovski encrusted minaudiere.

Shoes by Giorgio Armani

VIP lounge - Giorgio Armani. New York photographer, Roxanne Lowitt has always been behind the scenes at fashion shows around the world taking candid photos of models, celebrities and designers, she is an institution in the crazy fashion world. Here she is photographing the beautiful Roberta Armani who like the perfect hostess is receiving her uncle's guests in the VIP lounge before the Giorgio Armani show.

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MILAN - RTW S/S 2008

Prada flagship store – Galleria. I hadn’t been to Milan for nearly three months so one of my first priorities was to see friends for coffee and catch up on what’s going on. After a first stop at Sissi, famous for its Sacher tortes, for an espresso with financial communication consultant, Giannino Malossi my second stop was in Corso Monforte for another coffee with Rita Airaghi. Rita was Gianfranco Ferre’s right-hand, she now works on the committee of the Poldi Pezzoli Musuem. And, the last caffeine fix of the morning was in the Galleria at the flagship Prada store, with Marina Prada. Marina, a very old friend oversees all the Prada stores in Milan. She was wearing Miu Miu.

Vip Coffee at Prada. For special customers, coffee is served in Royal Copenhagen porcelain white cups, with a tiny blue rim around them. The tiny, tiny cookies are especially made for Prada and, I must say are quite delicious, they melt in your mouth.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Contessanally appears in Vogue Japan

Contessanally is HOT in the October issue of Vogue Japan. Vogue Japan’s editor, Yaka Matsumoto interviewed me and published photographs taken from the Contessanally Biennale blog (scroll down to see all the Biennale blog). The interview, in case you can’t read Japanese, is about how the art and the fashion worlds intermingle and overlap. I would formally like to thank Yaka for the story. Grazie mille.

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Venice - Palazzo Hopping

Palazzo Papadopoli – The Gucci Group Award Dinner: table settings. The two very long and narrow tables looked spectacular in the salone of the piano nobile of Palazzo Papadopoli for the Gucci Group Award dinner. The minimalist table settings in white with black candles worked well with the opulent moldings and affreschi of the salone overlooking the Grand Canal.

The “Hostess”and her illustrious guest. Christie’s head in Venice, Contessa Bianca Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga, who kindly lent Palazzo Papadopoli to the Gucci Group for the dinner, talks with journalist and author Rula Jebreal.

The Fashion VIPs. The most influential lady of Italian fashion, Italian Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani arrived with her creative director, Luca Stoppini.

The “Host” and his glamorous guests. Contessa Marie Brandolini d’Adda jokes about being “competitors’ with neo-glass designer, Conte Giberto Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga, whilst his sexy cousin, war correspondent, Contessa Ortensia Visconti di Modrone looks on.

The Flowers. Years ago I remember photographing a Gucci party at the Permanente museum in Milan, where the d├ęcor, designed by Tom Ford, was all black and white. Today, following in Ford's footsteps, the white roses look very handsome in the black vases of different sizes in the salone at the top of the grand staircase of Palazzo Papadopoli.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Venice - Palazzo Hopping

Palazzo Grassi - The 2007 Gucci Group Award. And the winner is; Julian Schnabel. The American visual artist was honored for his direction of Le Scaphandre et le Papillion or The Driving Bell and the Butterfly, which also won an award at the Cannes Film Festival. Upon receiving the award Schnabel said “Painting can be compared to life, but is about optimism and faith. Artistic expression is the embodiment of hope.” Mr. Schnabel was also present at the Venice Film Festival with the film, Lou Reed’s Berlin.

Schnabel’s Style: Low Maintenance: silk pajamas, navy Vans sneakers and a plastic Mexican carry all, used as a briefcase.
High Maintenance:
the beautifully cut hand-made blue blazer, pulls the look together.

Members of the jury for the 2007 Gucci Group Award listen to the winner, Julian Schnabel’s acceptance speech. They are; actor and director, Danny Huston, actress and producer Michelle Yeoh and the editor-in-chief of the Style magazine of the New York Times, Stefano Tonchi sit next to Robert Polet, president and CEO of Gucci Group. The Gucci Group Award was established last year, it is bestowed to an internationally-acclaimed artist who has made a remarkable contribution to a film in any capacity within the past eighteen months, as a director, actor, screenwriter, set or costume designer.

The most attractive member of the jury for the 2007 Gucci Group Award was actress and producer, Michelle Yeoh.

Silvia Damiani flew to Venice just for the Gucci Group Award party, not only is Damiani Group's Vice-president beautiful, she is also creative; she co-designed with Brad Pitt the couple’s wedding bands. Gorgeous and respected Palestinian journalist and anchorwoman, Rula Jebreal has been working in Italy for many years, she was at Palazzo Grassi to support her friend Julian Schnabel.

The new director of Palazzo Grassi, Monique Veaute, succeeds Jean-Jacques Aillagon, who is now president of the Chateau de Versailles, chats with her colleague, Berard Emmanuel.

New York based actress Jennifer Missoni, yes of the Missoni clan, wearing Missoni, came to Venice for the film festival with her boyfriend, director, Tommaso Cardile. Jennifer has recently appeared in the TV series, Damages with Glen Close and you can see her in a play off Broadway, this fall, called Angry Young Women.

This group of beautiful young people made quite an entrance when they came in. In the center is Alessandro Possati, creative director of Sete-Cento. Sete-Cento transmits refinement and style in its clothes, reviving the lavish elegance lost through time. The elements in Alex’s designs are derived from the traditions and the rich heritage of Venice. “Today, through our products, we want to bring that little touch of magic that one may sense in our Palazzi, coupled with that allure of its parties and balls.” Alex explains. With Alex are, Alina Suprunoea, Kisha Omer, Irina Pasichnyk and Olimpia Possati.

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Venice - Palazzo Hopping

Antonia Miletto Boutique. Whenever there is an opening at Palazzo Grassi, bi-continental jewelry designer, Antonia Miletto holds a drinks party in her boutique as it is right around the corner from the museum. I really enjoy these casual get togethers, not only it’s a chance to see the gorgeous new pieces in her collection, but also to see friends and meet people from all around the world.

Photograph courtesy Antonia Miletto

The fish. The fish cuff is one of her new designs, it’s in ebony with emeralds set in gold. I love Antonia’s bold and big designs, they make a statement and are very beautiful as well.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007


Campo Santo Stefano. This kiosk in the central Campo Santo Stefano sells items made by male and female prisoners in the jails of Venice. The project named Malefatte, is run by the co-operative Rio Tera dei Pensieri which helps prisoners work inside the Venetian jails, and trains them in a craft, thus forming them for the outside world and society.

Detail: a close up of the T-shirts, bags and accessories made by the Venetian prisoners. Pin It

Venice - Palazzo Hopping

Palazzo Alvera. The last race of the Regata Storica is the most exciting gondolini race where multi colored gondolini boats speed by past thousands of spectators, crowded along the banks, or on floating stands, or on boats moored along the Grand Canal or even better, like us watching from the piano nobile of Palazzo Alvera.

The hostess and the bouquet. Countess Ketty Alvera hosted a gondolini cocktail and dinner party in Palazzo Alvera. The inspiration for the bouquet of flowers on the dinning room table came from the colors, orange and red, of the San Marco flag which hung outside the palazzo, see photo above. The attractive Contessa served a Venetian inspired menu cooked by herself with the help from her staff, like sarde in saor and risotto with zucchini and scampi.

The guests. Set and costume designer, Prince Fabrizio Caracciolo was talking to antique dealer and exhibition curator, Axel Vervoordt. Caracciolo designed the costumes for such films as Valmont, Amadeus and the mini series Noble House. His favorite director is Milos Forman. He loves India and as you can see in the photograph his clothes are Indian inspired. Vervoordt curated the fabulous exhibition at Palazzo Fortuny, until November 5th, called Artempo (see Contessanally Biennale blog, below). The exhibition, which is not to be missed, examines the relationship between art, time and the power of display, representing a breadth of cultures and periods.

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Venice: Palazzo Hopping - lifestyle

Photograph by Manfredi Bellati

The Regata Storica. A view from the Accademia bridge, which was difficult to cross on our way Palazzo Barbaro. The bridge was packed with tourists trying to watch the Regata Storica, one of the most spectacular, picturesque and moving events of Venetian life. Most of the owners of the Palazzos on the Grand Canal give parties, so that friends can watch the magnificent procession of boats.

Palazzo Barbaro: SAVE THE DATE. While the Regata Storica is going on outside, Giusi Conti and our hostess, Franca Coin, President of Venice Foundation, are discussing the details for Lorin Maazel’s concert in the magical setting of the Basilica of San Marco. The concert will benefit the restructuring of the Cupola of Creation. Maestro Lorin Maazel will be conducting the Symphonica Toscanini Orchestra and Maestro Piero Monti will be conducting the choir of the Maggio Fiorentino in Verdis Requiem Mass. On this occasion, Venetians celebrate the traditional feast of the Madonna della Salute, which is held every year in Venice to renew the city’s vow of faith after the terrible plague of 1630. As a sign of gratitude Venice entrusted the young architect Baldassare Longhena with the construction of the Salute church (in the photograph above), most venerated by the Venetians, who every year go there on a pilgrimage by crossing the votive bridge which leads from campo Santa Maria del Giglio directly to the Marian temple. Save the Date: November 16th, 2007 at 9 pm. For more information contact the Venice Foundation: tel. and fax: +39 041 2774840 or

Style1 - Detail: I love the way that Franca Coin didn’t have the coral necklaces restrung with proper clasps, but left them on the original cord.

Contessanally tip: Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Style 2 - Murano bead flowers. Placed next to an important Chinese vase is Franca’s Murano bead flower collection. These antique flowers made from hand blown Murano glass beads where found at flea markets. Franca only collects silver flowers as she thinks they look better in the silver bowl.

Style 3 - Ashtrays. These 1940’s hand blown Murano ashtrays are an ongoing collection of Franca Coin. Recently, she has been collecting tiny, tiny ones. They look so attractive on a mirrored Murano glass tray. As the photograph of the bead flowers above note the ton sur ton.

Stlye 4 - Garlic. To ward off the evil eye and keep “witches” away a small Murano bowl holds 3 heads of garlic made in metal, resin and terracotta from L’Erba Voglio in Milan. Note the detail of the frame of the exquisite Murano mirror in the background.

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Venice - Palazzo Hopping

Palazzo Giustinian Facanon. It was such a treat to go and see the 360 degree view of Venice from the terrace of Palazzo Giustinian Facanon. As you can see it’s nearly the same level as the bell towers. The owners of the penthouse, Claudia and Armando Sutor pose for us; behind them you can see the cupola of the Basilica and the campanile of San Marco. Both love art and you can encounter them at all the important art openings. Armando is creative director of Cottoveneto, which makes the most beautiful hand made tiles (see below).

The terrace. At dusk the Serena stone sculptures, from the 18th Century blend in with the sky. The palazzo itself is a fair example of fifteenth century Gothic architecture. The Sutors always host a Rendentore party, so that their guests can enjoy the firework display and the unique view of Venice, from the Lido to the airport, from one of the highest terraces in town.

Penthouse floor. The penthouse floor is made from the Cottoveneto line of tiles called, I Sassi del Piave or the stones inspired by the stones from the bed of the Piave, the river that flows through the Veneto region. The floor is a scaled down modern replica of the floor of the Basilica of San Marco. It is very impressive and the patchwork tile design looks great in the “loft” space of the penthouse, which is minimally decorated, with very little furniture, contemporary art and stainless steel details.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Venice: Gallery opening

Jarach Gallery - opening exhibition Disco to Disco photos by Gabriele Basilico and Massimo Vitali – until October 27th. What could be more appropriate than to hold a photographic exhibition called Disco to Disco in the original space of the first dance-hall in Venice? At the end of the Second World War, American soldiers occupied this large warehouse, today the Jarach Gallery, in Campo San Fantin, transforming it into a dance-hall to celebrate the end of conflict and dance the night away. The exhibition shows two of Italy’s finest photographers; Gabriele Basilico with his 1978 black and white photos of the dance halls in the New Italy of Emilia Romagna and Massimo Vitali’s 1997 gigantic color photographs of The Beach and Disco Project.

The publisher and the gallery owner. Charta’s Giuseppe Liverani chats with Jacopo Jarach. Jarach considers himself an outsider in the gallery world. He opened his photographic gallery right next to La Fenice theatre a year ago. This young man is going places watch out for his gallery. During the Biennale he hosted a show of Robert Polidori’s spectacular New Orleans Flood photos.

Mens Body Jewelry. Not only does Jacopo Jarach have a labret, a form of body piercing attached under his lip, he also has, a fascinating grommet or flesh tunnel, which is a type of body jewel composed of a hollow rubber tube pierced in his earlobe.

Dancing Emilia photos by Gabriele Basilico. Gabriele Basilico stands by his beautiful black and white photos commissioned by Modo magazine in 1978, a series dedicated to dance halls. He revealed the phenomenon of dance-halls in a New Italy which was spilling into these “containers” made of colored lights and sci-fi design. “I was fascinated by this Fellini-esque type world.” he told me.

Disco to Disco catalogue. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue entitled Disco to Disco and published by Charta Edition. The text is by Gabriele Basilico and Massimo Vitali, in collaboration with Giovanna Calvenzi.

Venetian photographer. Luca Campigotto is Venetian but he is based in Milan. He likes to photograph landscapes, architecture and industry. His latest book, called the Le Pietre del Cairo – The stones of Cairo – was published two months ago by Peliti Associati, fifty-five black and white photos that portray the pyramids, the souks and the mosques of Egypt. He is currently working on two projects, India and New York City.

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