CHECK OUT today's candid shots of these young Florence trend setters (I snuck a pic of me in there): australiandesignmadeinitaly.blogspot.com
I moved to Italy for
Its impossible for me not to love a city where spending that extra time in the morning to create your daily look is so appreciated. Despite driving your boyfriend mad, he, being European, will not let the effort go unnoticed - nor will the other hundred Europeans you pass as you cross the through the city.
I have found the cliche to be true; if you ever feel rejected, broken hearted, lonely, or simply having a bad hair day, walk down any street in Florence or Rome. Your sure to find a cure in the open and down right blatant attention you will undoubtedly attract from the macho male race that reside in these places.
Tip: If it the attention becomes overwhelming, pick out a nice looking man. The one thing the European's don't tolerate is a woman being harassed. Its sounds like a catch 22, but if you are in the company of a gentleman, the wolf whistling will promptly cease.
Figuring out how to get rid of the gentleman is a different story. But the question is, do you really want to? You are all dressed up and feeling out of sorts; Having a drink and slice of pizza is a win win?! Your in Europe!
The Europeans have this distinct unique way of expressing themselves through fashion. My love of fashion grew out of my sisters garage in Uki, New South Wales, but flourished in international magazines like Vogue and Harpers Bazaar.
I learned to sew in that garage. My sister already had a business creating unique tie dyed clothing for children. My twin sister and I had an obsession with Barbie and had lost our impressive collection when our house burnt down, aged 10. The community came together and we ended up with more Barbie's than we knew what to do with! Kat had the ingenious idea of combining her tie dying with our massive (and losing popularity with puberty) Barbie collection, and thus "Feral Sheryl" was born!
At the time it was all a bit of fun. Designs were glued onto the dolls, along with glitter face paint and hair techno colours, until we were trusted enough to use The Singer - a gorgeous old school sewing machine which we only broke it a few dozen times.
I soon had replaced all my dolls with Dolly, my school books with Girlfriend, and my nursery rhymes with the Spice Girl anthems.
For our 15th birthday I asked my Mum for a subscription to Dolly magazine. I got instead an ex race pony, whom I called 'White Cloud'. I cried for most of the year, and threw tantrums whenever I had to take riding lessons. It was torture having to trade my mini skirts for jodhpur pants, Gel sandals for riding boots, and thats without mentioning my manicure!
Mum questioned her mothering skills, not believing that her decision to raise us in a wholesome Hare Krsna, vegetarian, television-free, wooden house an hour from civilization, would lead to the "shallowest materialistic obsession and career aspiration as Fashion Design".
How could I prove to her, and to myself, that fashion was not just a phase of puberty. Isn't it natural to always want what we don't have? I had dreams of suburban paradise - a brick house with picket fence, pool, friendly neighbours, milk and cookies after school and lets face it, seen as we had to ride the school bus, why not make it a yellow one!
I wanted curly hair and new clothes. I had kinky hair and stained Saint Vinnies outcasts.
My determination to be always right, meant I had to delve deeper and develop my approach to fashion. There had to be more sophisticated meaning to dressing up.
It wasn't hard.
My background being involved Hindu religion taught me that taking care of you appearance was more than just to look good and impress. Everyday Indian women wake up and dress in their finest jewelry and Saris. You can find them doing their housework, head to toe in silk and gold. Dressing this way ensured they would be treated equally despite what caste system they belonged in. The Kenyan Africans are similar, as are the traditional Japanese Geisha's.
For me, it meant an escape from my environment. I could be whomever I wanted, simply by the way I dressed.
We are told not to judge a book by its cover, but how else would we improve book sales? It is human nature to judge. Its part of our survival. Its a beautiful thing when we can look beyond an appearance...
Julian was dressed in a black t-shirt and jeans when we first met. He was confident, articulate and clearly "cool".
Hello Italy ;)
I moved to Italy for Love
... love of Fashion, Food and Italian Men. Or in my case A man, and an Albanian man at that.
I discovered Italy 3 years ago at the end of my marriage. An intensely religious Jewish background, my husbands family sent us here as a last ditch effort to keep our marriage intact.
Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love describes Rome's word as "sex", and although I will later change my mind - this couldnt be further from the word I could describe Rome on that last trip I would ever take with the man whom I vowed 'forever'.
"Despair" seeped in my blood like a plague and threatened to interrupt my holiday plans. But like any stubborn Aries, I put my head up high, and pulled my socks up higher and sauntered through the Vatican, Berghese and Valentino Galleries, husband luke warm on my heels.
We separated 3 months later.
Looking back (at the photos) I have no regrets. In fact it was the best move Ive made. You see I had married a professional surfer and my fashion sense had consequently been severely damaged. It didnt take me long to burn my Billabong wardrobe and squeeze into a pair of my sisters jeans. Its a great thing being a twin and being able to share. I guess I was lucky to have her closet to snoop through. Nothing to brag about though. She had been living in London for 2 years and so thought Sweat shirts and hoop earrings with Victoria Beckham jeans was suitable attire.
A quick escape from my marriage meant a mere couple of suitcases full of clothes, 2 states and a new city.
It was quite a cultural shock moving to Melbourne from the Gold Coast. I had just established myself as a Fashion Designer making wedding dresses and starting from scratch proved to be alot more difficult than it should have. I began teaching Fashion Illustration part time at Thread Den (www.threadden.com.au) and managed Menswear stores full time in the city. For 2 years it felt like I was banging my head against a wall wearing earplugs. My creativity was being completely sucked out of me by the retail job and my design and sewing projects were becoming few and far in between. It didnt help that my friends and family were insisting that I was wasting my life and mishandling my talent, so I decided I needed a change of scene.
I set my google maps to Paris.
Where is a better setting to be re-born as a Fashion Designer than the birthplace of Fashion itself?
June marked D day, so armed with a work visa, travel pack (containing my cutest summer dresses, lipstick and contrasting nail polish) and a couple of girlfriends, we headed for Paris...
... on route Italy ;)