Saturday, August 30, 2008


Contessanally featured in Elle. The Contessanally blog is featured in the September issue of Elle Italia. In a story inspired by my jewelry blog of last year, the story is entitled Natural Born Chic. Luca Lanzoni writes about young aristocratic ladies of style and heiresses who design elegant and cosmopolitan collections. Two of the jewelry designers featured in my blog, Isabella del Bono and Osanna Visconti di Modrone, are included in the story. Thank you Luca for such a nice mention.

The cover. Elle Italia – September 2008
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Friday, August 29, 2008

VENICE: Valentino: The Last emperor - Film and Party

La Fenice: The World Premiere of the Movie “Valentino: The Last Emperor.” A standing ovation for Valentino Garavani after the showing of the film Valentino: The Last Emperor, at La Fenice, opera house, during the 65th Venice Film Festival. Matt Tyrnauer, who directed the movie, followed around Valentino for two years. The movie is a realistic and often amusing insight into the world of Valentino, his forty-five years in Haute Couture, his lifestyle, his dogs and his love for beautiful things “I love beautiful women, beautiful dogs and beautiful furniture.” Valentino confesses.

Liz Hurley, Natalia Vodianova, Valentino Garavani and Eva Herzigova

Marta Marzotto, Carlo Giovannelli and Elsa Martinelli

A detail: antique crucifixes and Madonnas.

A detail: the gold leather clutch with a skull clasp.

Simona Ventura

Elisabetta and Ferruccio de Bortoli, Albertina Marzotto and Inge Feltrinelli

Lucilla Bonaccorsi di Reburdone, Matteo Marzotto and Luisa Beccaria

Alessandra Facchinetti

Afef Jnifen
Giancarlo Giammetti and Valentino Garavani

Natalia Vodianova, Tamara Beckwith and Eva Herzigova

A detail: a back view of the red carpet.

Giancarlo Giammetti and Liz Hurley

Natalia Vodianova, Carlos Souza and Eva Herzigova

Marina and Carlo Ripa di Meana

A detail: hat by Grimaldi and Giardinia

Justin Portman

Eliana Miglio

Cornelia Brandolini d'Adda and Lapo Elkann

Gabriel Garko

Marina Cicogna

The Vogue Italia and Vanity Fair party at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection: Following the world premiere of the movie, Valentino: The Last Emperor, directed by Matt Tyrnauer, Vogue Italia’s editor in chief, Franca Sozzani and Italian Vanity Fair’s editor in chief, Luca Dini co-hosted a magical candlelight gala dinner for Valentino in the gardens and the rooftop of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

The host and hostess: Franca Sozzani and Luca Dini

Jane and Philip Rylands

Can you guess ???

Carla Sozzani and Kris Ruhs

Luca Stoppini

Daniela Giardina and Guido Torlonia

Antonella and Ginevra Boralevi

Paola Gradi and Allegra Donn

Sergio Salerni

Franca and Carla Sozzani

Gabriella and Attilio Codognato

Manfredi Bellati, Franca and Piergiorgio Coin and Inge Feltrinelli

Sophie Hackford and Fatima Bhutto

Eva Herzigova and Liz Hurley
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Paris in August - Musee du Quai Branly

Musee du Quai Branly. The Musee du Quai Branly was recently built on one of the last available sites in the heart of Paris on the Quai Branly, at the feet of the Eiffel Tower by the 2008 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, Jean Nouvel. The building resembles a long bridge, partly covered in wood, with suspended “boxes” which stretch into the trees. It is protected from the noise of the quays by glass palisade. To reach the museum you must cross un-dulating paths of what seems to be untamed greenery, designed by vertical garden designer, Patrick Blanc. The arts of Africa, Oceania, Asia and the Americas are beautifully lit and exhibited inside. The museum is also an educational and research centre and a public living space all in one. Though architectonically, I don’t think the building will stand the test of time, the permanent exhibition is certainly worth a visit, especially if you are interested in ethnic art and cultures.

Musee du Quai Branly – Oceania. Funeral masks from Papua New Quinea. The Asmat Papua tribe on the south east coast of New Guinea, perform a funeral ceremony called Jipae in order to drive out the soul of the dead person, which may wander around the village. The soul of the dead person is represented by one of his relatives wearing a mask like this one. The man in mask dances throughout the night until sunrise and then he is attacked and expelled by the village men.

Musee du Quai Branly – Africa. The back of an Akhnif berber cape, from the Aitouaouzguit region. The cape is typical of Jewish or Muslim Shepherds from the mountainous regions of Morocco. Made with sheep and goat wools, silk and leather. The cape is hand-woven in one piece, usually by the shepherd’s wife or mother. The colorful motifs are characteristics of the Akhnif tribe.

Musee du Quai Branly - Africa. The front of an Akhnif berber cape.

Musee du Quai Branly – Africa. An early twentieth century, black and white, pigments and wood Bedu mask from the Nafana population of the Ivory Coast in Africa.
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Paris in August - houseboats on the River Seine

Houseboats on the River Seine – the rental. For a holiday with a difference you can rent luxurious houseboats in the center of Paris moored on the River Seine with views of the Eiffel Tower. A tree-lined entrance to the cobble stone quai gives easy access to the barge and the neighborhood with its variety of shops, boutiques, bistros and restaurants. In the evenings you can enjoy a cocktail watching the beauty of the City of Light float by.

Houseboats on the River Seine – the car. A 1950’s convertible is parked on deck of the Saint Paul. Houseboats anchored on the River Seine house everything from bed and Bbreakfasts to restaurants to private homes or rentals.
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Paris in August - Poilane

Poilane – pain decore. Every month, Poilane creates a theme loaf, which can also be made to order. This seashell inspired loaf-representing August and vacation time is particularly attractive. The Poilane boulangerie is the most famous in Paris. On the site of a seventeenth centenary monastery, in a vaulted cellar, below the store in the Latin Quarter of Saint Germain des Pres, six bakers work 24 hours non-stop. Since 1932, together with the other Parisian store and oven they produces 15,000 loaves of bread a day, which are shipped all over the world. Sometimes people wonder how come the bakery can make so much bread and still remain an artisan bakery. The answer is easy: the same care is taken with each single loaf that comes out of the wood-fired brick ovens. And, each loaf is handmade using the simplest tools and carefully selected ingredients.

Poilane – pain classic. These are the classic Poilane loaves with the P logo branded on the front. The tanginess of Poilane bread is the result of natural fermentation with yeast. Like salt and pepper, it enhances the flavor of the foods it accompanies, like smoked salmon or foie gras and the natural acidity of the sourdough bread stimulates your taste buds, adding another dimension to what you taste and enabling you to better appreciate what you eat.
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Paris in August - La Maison du Chocolat

La Maison du Chocolat. La Maison du Chocolat, was the only chocolate “boutique” open during the first part of August in Paris. It was probably open because it’s a global brand with boutiques all over the world. Established in 1997, world famous, maitre chocolatier, Robert Linxe, was the first to open an all-chocolate store. I was attracted to the window by this colorful display of sorbet and ice cream cartons, which contain the very best chocolate ice cream and sorbets on the market. Especially noteworthy are the coveted dark chocolate noir, the vanilla, the lemon and delicious caramel flavors. New tastes include, passion fruit and mango, raspberry and apricot. All great cool summertime treats.
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Friday, August 22, 2008

Paris in August - La Grande Epicerie de Paris

La Grande Epicerie de Paris - pastries. La Grande Epicerie de Paris is situated inside the department store Le Bon Marche on the rive gauche. As a gourmet food hall it comes second only to Harrods in London, though somehow I prefer the atmosphere here. It is one of my very favorite stores in Paris and I often go there just to wander around and make my mouth water. Especially appealing are all the fresh food and take away counters. “There is nothing as good as the best.” is the motto of all the teams working at the great Parisian grocery store.
Note: this tower of delicious tarts is called 7eme Ciel or seventh heaven and is actually seven little individual pistachio and chocolate tarts.
La Grande Epicerie de Paris – salts. I have a thing about salts and collect different salts from all over the world. I love to put them along the table in little ceramic sake cups, which I buy at Pearl River in New York. Like a magnet I was attracted to the salt display and was pretty impressed, though the selection is more refined and recherch√© at Harvey Nichols in London, the choice here wasn’t bad.
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