Coco Chanel

Hello everyone,

Prima di tutto, buon 2017 a tutti! Che sia un anno meraviglioso, pieno di progetti e passioni. Non posto sul blog da qualche settimana, essere a casa mi fa perdere il conto dei giorni e mi fa diventare davvero pigra. Diciamo che mi sono goduta le feste in ottima compagnia di famiglia e amici e adesso sono pronta a ricominciare con tanti nuovi progetti e opportunità. Mi sono ripromessa (ancora una volta) di scrivere sul blog con costanza, almeno una volta a settimana. Lo scorso term universitario è stato pesante, il prossimo che arriva dovrebbe essere più clemente e quindi concedermi un po’ di ‘spare time’ da dedicare ai miei interessi.

Oggi voglio riprendere la mia rubrica sui libri: l’anno scorso (ancora non mi capacito che il 2016 sia già volato) mi ero ripromessa di pubblicare un post riguardante un libro ogni due settimane. In realtà non è andata proprio così, ma non è mai troppo tardi per riprendere le buone abitudine. Quindi in questo post, come avrete già intuito dal titolo, voglio parlarvi di un libro illustrato che ho letto tutto d’un fiato: Coco Chanel, un’icona di stile di Megan Hess, una fantastica fashion illustrator. Hess ha realizzato tre libri legati alla moda, tra cui appunto Coco Chanel. La copertina bianca, semplice e con il ritratto di Coco mi ha subito colpita in libreria, così senza pensarci due volte l’ho acquistato e sono rimasta davvero soddisfatta dopo averlo concluso.

Coco Chanel è un’icona di stile da sempre, da quando nel 1910 apre il suo primo atelier come modista a Parigi, in Rue Cambon 21. Da quel momento fa molta strada fino ad arrivare al grande personaggio che conosciamo noi oggi come esempio di bon ton e stile.

Why I love the book:

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  • La storia incanta ° Il libro racconta la storia di un’icona di stile, di una donna forte e indipendente e di una lavoratrice instancabile e perfezionista qual era Coco. Ogni amante della moda conosce spizzichi e bocconi della vita della stilista, in parti letti su riviste di moda, in parte ascoltate in televisione. Ma pochi sanno delineare con precisione e chiarezza i momenti importanti della vita di Chanel. Il libro della Hess parla con semplicità e fluidità della vita della stilista, senza caricare il lettore di notizie aride, ma usando brevi e coincise descrizioni. Inoltre il libro è diviso in tre sezioni ( La donna, il marchio e la leggenda) che permettono di apprezzare al meglio e fissare mentalmente gli avvenimenti importanti della vita di Coco.

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  • Le illustrazioni ° Megan Hess è a dir poco bravissima nell’illustrare Coco e la sua storia. I personaggi somigliano a figurini di moda, sempre perfettamente abbigliati e ricchi di particolari, ma con un tocco di estro; il logo di Chanel è ripreso quasi in ogni pagina, come una vera celebrazione del marchio e la figura di Coco è bella ed elegante ad ogni tocco. Inoltre, mi è piaciuto molto l’uso sapiente dei colori: le illustrazione sono per la maggior parte in bianco e nero con dei tocchi di rosso, beige e rosa, colori spesso utilizzati dalla stilista. Sfogliare le pagine dona una sensazione di pace e bellezza fuori dal comune.

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  • Le citazioni ° Dopo ogni numero di pagine ci sono delle citazioni di Coco stessa, legate allo stile e all’eleganza, un modo per sentirsi più vicini alla designer e seguire alcuni dei suoi consigli più azzeccati. Una delle mie preferite recita: ‘Per essere insostituibili bisogna essere originali’. Nulla di più vero e Coco è sicuramente riuscita nell’intento.

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  • Il blend ° Con il blend intendo il blend di moda, beauty e determinazione che condiscono le pagine del libro. Si parla di Chanel stilista e quindi della sua passione per la moda e la sua lungimiranza in un campo che all’epoca era dominato da fronzoli e gran fiocchi, ma si parla anche di Chanel N°5, il suo celeberrimo profumo (che tra l’altro è davvero buonissimo e lo consiglio a tutte!) e della personalità di Coco: precisa, determinata e perfezionista. E’ bello appassionarsi ad un personaggio conoscendo tutte le diverse sfaccettature e non solo quelle prettamente legate al lavoro.

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  • Il dopo e Karl Lagerfeld ° E’ interessante sapere cosa successe dopo la morte di Coco, come la sua casa di moda è passata di mano in mano fino ad arrivare nelle mani miracolose di Karl Lagerfeld. Sicuramente un noto personaggio nel mondo della moda, conosciuto per la sua stravaganza, ma soprattutto per il suo stile moderno e in grado di cogliere l’essenza della maison Chanel con innovazione e gran gusto. I due non si conobbero mai, ma Lagerfeld considera Coco ‘lo spirito della donna moderna’. E possiamo affermare che in effetti è proprio così.

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Il weekend si avvicina e io vi consiglio di immergervi nella lettura di questo fantastico libro, magari con una tazza di tè fumante e una coperta fluffy, mentre fuori il freddo non dà ancora tregua e noi aspettiamo impazienti la primavera.

Buona lettura e buon weekend,

Giulia

Details are everything

Hey lovelies, this week has been pretty weird, in the sense that I spent more time at home than at work because I didn’t feel too well. As I told you, I had my wisdom tooth removed and it’s been pretty painful all week long. Anyway, now I feel better and I wanted to write a post about details. Yep, you heard right, details! I am a huge fan of details, of those little elements that seem to be so small, but in reality they make the real difference.

When I was young and I had to write some essays for school, I usually wrote very short sentences like “The house is pretty” or “The dog is barking” and that was it. When my mum checked my homework, she always tried to make me write more, to make me enrich the sentence. So “The house is pretty” became “The big house at the end of the street is very pretty because it has many decorations around it”. You get what I mean? She made me add the details to the sentence because they were meaningful and the real key to a successful story. So, my essays were longer, better and most importantly, more detailed.

As I grew up and my essays grew longer, I started to understand by myself the beauty of details. I started to look at things under a different light, to appreciate the small things around the big ones. In this post I want to make three examples that exemplify the value of details. They are very simple and I’m sure everyone knows what I’m talking about, but  what works for me is to read something I already have a knowledge of, in this way I can fully reflect on it. So, let’s start!

The first example is linked to my beloved art. I love paintings, I love walking around museums and art galleries, I love standing in front of an artwork and simply stare at it. And it is exactly while I’m standing in front of a painting and my mind is spinning and wandering that I notice small but essential elements: the small black ribbon around Olympia’s neck in Manet’s painting, the black train in most of De Chirico’s works or the colorful brushstrokes in Van Gogh’s self-portraits. All these elements have specific meanings that allow you, the observer to understand the story and link the information about the painter, his life and the painting itself. Moreover, in art also the colour plays a symbolic role: red represents the human passions while white is a symbol of purity. Only by carefully observing the artworks it is possible to detect all these small details that make the difference, that make the artwork an amazing artwork. I want to close this first example with another painting by Jan Van Eyck: the Arnolfini Portrait. Here, a couple of lovers is elegantly posing in front of the painter, but the interesting detail about the whole composition is the small mirror that reflects the back of the lovers and other two unknown people. Who are they? What are they doing? Details are made in order to challenge us, the observers and to make us think about the artworks, about the artists and above all, about life, our life.

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Van Gogh Self Portrait with Grey Felt Hat

 

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Van Gogh Self Portrait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Arnolfini Portrait

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Detail of the Arnolfini Portrait

The second example is connected to fashion. We’re in the right week to talk about fashion and so I wanted to take inspiration from a beautiful dress I saw in magazines some years ago. I am talking about a Chanel dress which is part of the Resort Collection of 2013. I literally love this dress because it’s simple but at the same time very chic. And here it’s visible the importance of details again: the white dress would be insignificant without the beautiful red details that seem to create a majestic belt around the model, as well as the elements above the shoulders. It’s simplicity with a touch of class.

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Chanel Resort Collection 2013

Another interesting example which is more up to date comes from Moschino fashion show. The designer managed to recreate a very funny detail: do you girls remember when we used to play with paper dolls and in order to dress them up we had to bend the little white paper edges around their bodies? Well, he used the same idea to design the new collection. In this case, this little detail, the white paper edges, recalls a specific period of life, the idea of childhood, when everything looks possible and funny. Details, even if they are very small, can recreate atmospheres, underlining the real meaning of something. By looking at Moschino’s dress we could have imagined that it was linked to fairy tales, princesses and this type of world, but only thanks to the white details we actually see what the desired outcome is. And I think the idea is seriously brilliant! It immediately reminded me of my happy period of life, when I used to spend my long afternoons playing with my paper dolls and making up stories. Oh, the beautiful life!

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Moschino Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Show

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Moschino, Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Show

Finally, the last example is pretty general: by looking around us, we can find many different places where there are interesting details. Mostly, when we travel or we’re discovering a place, we are more attentive to catch details. They can be decorations on the street, patterns on the facade of a building or simply the drawing on a tablecloth of a restaurant. The common denominator is that, no matter what they are, details impress us and beautify the world, every time. By walking around Rome, I found interesting elements I wanted to photograph as well as by visiting the Triennale in Milan, because they were something peculiar that I wanted to remember and use for future projects. Inspiration comes from everywhere.

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I guess that’s it about details. Hope you appreciated it and now I’m gonna enjoy the last remaining hours of a lazy Sunday before Monday comes up again!

Have a nice evening!

Giulia

 

The Millinery Shop

 

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The Millinery Shop by Edgar Degas

Good morning guys, as you can see I’m already back trying to keep my promise of posting more regularly. Yesterday here in Milan there was the VFNO but unfortunately (as every year) I couldn’t go because I was sick (I had my wisdom tooth removed last week and it still hurts so much!). So, rather than complain and feel sad about it, I decided to share with you a beautiful painting by Edgar Degas which I think relates to the ongoing Milan Fashion Week.

My idea is to share every now and then some paintings or sculptures and write down their description, in this way if you like art (I do!) you can contribute to the discussion and let me know what you think about the artist and the artworks or simply get an insight of the artworks.

So, I wanted to start this little new experiment with a painting I didn’t know much about, so, I have to be honest, I had to search for more information, but I liked it at first sight. Surprise, surprise it’s not the usual subject of the dancers by Degas! The artwork is “The Millinery Shop” by Edgar Degas which is located at the Art Institute of Chicago. As you can see from the painting, a woman, the milliner, is checking on a new hat she’s probably made. She hasn’t noticed we are looking at her from above and she’s completely immersed in her job. All around her there are wonderful hats with beautiful decorations. The three hats in the foreground are quite clear: even though the brushstrokes are slightly undefined, the hats are perfectly recognizable. However, the two hats that lie in the background are less visible for two reasons: first because the brushstrokes are less defined and second because the colors Degas used blend with the brown of the table and the floor.

By a quick look at the painting we immediately catch what is happening, the main scene, while the background is completely blurred. We can imagine there’s a window or a glass door because of the light blue, but we can’t be totally sure about our assumption. And that’s the beauty of art: you need to use your imagination in order to go further and give a sense to what you’re looking at. In the Millinery Shop, Degas focuses our attention on the woman and her hats, her beautiful and refined creations, while the background is less relevant and observers can use their imagination to define it.

The painting was made between 1879 and 1886, a period during which Degas made a lot of paintings portraying the work of the milliners. He was a very refined artist, he wasn’t linked to a specific artistic movement; of course he had some influences from the Impressionists, but he was not a member of the group. He was more conventional, he worked in his studio and he liked to portray the vibrant life of the bourgeoisie.

I have chosen this specific painting because I thought it linked to a fashion theme which is perfect for this week! In the 19th century the role of the milliners had a social relevance: it was chic and trendy to go to the millinery shop and try on different hats, maybe even asking for a personal one. Women from the middle-class loved to buy and wear hats when they went to the city, went shopping or while visiting someone. A hat was an unavoidable accessory for every elegant woman. Moreover, I love the colors of the hats, their decorations and the slim figure of the milliner. It’s a painting that is portraying life, it’s portraying the habits of an entire class and a specific type of fashion.

This is it for now, I hope you liked this very brief insight into Degas’ painting and see you soon with more beautiful artworks.

Giulia

Let’s pack

Hey guys, finally it’s time for holidays! I’ve been packing these last two days because tonight I’m leaving for Croatia. I’ve never been there and I’m really excited to spend a nice week with my boyfriend and friends, relaxing and having fun together.

Since I travel quite a lot I have to pack quite a lot and I became quite skilled handling my suitcase. Usually I fly, so I cannot bring too much stuff and I always have to leave something home. This time, since we’re gonna go by car, I can bring pretty much everything I want and this is really great!

In this post I want to share with you a way for packing in peace because I know that packing is most of the time stressful for many people. But it doesn’t have to be like that, seriously. Packing can be relaxing if taken in the right way. So…let’s start!

First, it is important to create the right atmosphere for packing. Personally, I really like to light up some candles (these days I’m using vanilla candles), put some music on (you can choose on the infinite list on Spotify), prepare a nice smoothie  (mine is a mixture of peach, watermelon and ginger) and get some nice chocolate. In this way, you have a gentle start that gets you into the right mood. Once you’ve done that, you can start with writing a list of things that you want to bring with you. I usually make two lists, one for the big suitcase and one for my personal bag.

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SUITCASE: If you’re going on holiday in summer, always remember to bring suncreams, a swimsuit and sunglasses in your suitcase. Once you have these three items. you’re ready for everything! Mine is quite big for just one week, but I didn’t want to limit myself with clothes or shoes (for once I don’t have to mind about the weight, it’s better to take advantage of it).

 

Now, once we’re done with the suitcase, it’s time to think about your hand luggage. This time I opted for my small Armani bag ’cause it’s very spacious and handy. What to bring with you? First, it is essential to remember the documents and some money. Then, you can start thinking of all other things you might need. In my bag I put my make-up case, a bottle of water, my phone, my camera, all the charges, a book , a notebook to write down all my thoughts and a nice headband. I don’t want it to be too heavy, so I just put the basic stuff in it.
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Well, at this point you’re more or less ready for leaving! Don’t forget to plan your travel outfit the day before, so you don’t panic when you actually wake up and have to leave. I hope you enjoyed this little piece of advice and let me know if you  have something that you always bring with you when you travel. So guys, it’s time to say goodbye for now and see you in a week, with a lot more to tell and share with you. Wish you all a wonderful holiday if you haven’t been anywhere yet and see you in a bit.

Giulia xx