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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

...Always in VOGUE...

Ciao a tutti!

Here I am, back to the report of my little trips around Europe...
Some weeks ago we've been talking a little bit about Italy, my beloved home country, but now let's move Norther to one of the most various and incredible towns in the entire world.

LONDON is famous for its multiple suggestions, which I had the chance to appreciate at best because of my amazing guide, who is also one of my best friends and who is studying International Relations in the city.

She brought me around to see what you would never ever see as a tourist.
Still, I am sure we didn't see all as it's absolutely impossible...
...London is so big, no, it's HUGE, and even if you live there it will take you years and years before being able to say that you actually know it.

But being with someone who has been living here for months helped.
I must say that in general staying in London gave me several different feelings...

First of all the curiosity that living in such a enormously multicultural metropolis gives you, and which vastly becomes a little obsessive, finally turning into anxiety.
Everything around you is so different, so amazing and so interesting

everybody is running, no one is talking if not at their phones, not a single person seems to be enjoying the fact that they live in such an amazing place...

In a word, even if I recognize the marvels and the charms of London, living there for a week was enough for me to understand how much I LOVE Dublin.
The smaller but happier Dublin, when people smiles to you in the streets whenever you make eye contact with them, and say "sorry love!" if they bump in you by mistake.
The easier Dublin, where taking a taxi to come back to college after a night out doesn't affect you monthly budget and where taking a walk means that you can move all around the city centre and still come back home without taking a metro or die for tiredness...

Anyway, this post is not about my affection for Dublin!
But you'll be surprised to realize that is neither about London..
Well, maybe just a part of London, the lovely Notting Hill, where everything began.

I'll start from the very beginning...
Although being with a london-based friend brought my mates and I to many alternative places, there are some things that you just HAVE TO do if you step in London:
one of these is for sure taking a look at Portobello market, in Notting Hill.
That's what we did, and overcame the shock we had coming out from the metro station (what are these horrible buildings?? Where are the little white houses with the blue doors????) we started a relaxing walk around the streets of that delicious part of the city, maybe the only one where you really have the feeling of being somewhere else, in a place where you CAN relax and just walk without taking on the phone...

Well, while walking I was randomly looking at the windows when something stroke my attention:
a little book shop, which was also selling some old issues of world's best magazines.
On the window, all in front of me in their vintage splendor, many issued of Vogue coming from all around the world.
Some of them were relatively recent (90s) some other interestingly old (70s)...

When I saw that great show in front of me I just couldn't help but run into the shop and look at them closer.
The incredibly snobbish and fake-intellectual guy at the desk accepted to show them to me without the plastic which protected them and I started asking for prices.

I knew that they were too expensive, even if my ability with math is even worse than my capacity of playing american football...
but at the same time I KNEW I could't leave that place without buying one of these magazines.
That was definitely something I wouldn't be able to find in my lovely Dublin (not sure of that actually, but it was the best justification I could find myself before taking out the 18 pounds from my purse!)

So I did it.
And I swear, very few other shoppings I've made in my life made me happier than this one.
And believe me when I say that I shop A LOT! 

The issue I got was the oldest one available in the shop, directly from 1971, and it's AMAZING! 
The pictures, the models, everything is so different from todays issues, which are much more similar to a "normal" magazine, if that makes sense...

In the past, Vogue was not only the best fashion magazine, title which it still preserves today, but also a sort of catalogue where to find the latest creations of some of the most relevant artists of our century.
It was showing us the history while happening, as it portrayed some of the tendencies which became actual pieces of history.

Today finding something new is much harder, and that's why looking at that 1971 issue, we have the feeling that many of the clothes showed are still in fashion, still in vogue.
That is not an illusion! They ARE in vogue, as the new ones which are coming out in the latest collections are nothing but a new way to present them. 

Actually...clothes are not the only thing which sometimes become a CLASSIC and I realized it looking at the adds (VER FEW! Other big difference with the newest issues...)

Another great thing of this old Vogue and which would be good to adopt again for todays issues is the fact that even if Vogue has its own redaction in many different counties, in the past issues they used to give a sort of panoramic vision about what was going on in the capitals of fashion as well.

We are looking at Vogue UK, which is undeniable, starting from Princess Anne's face on the cover, but inside we read also about the new tendencies of Rome and Paris.

And British fashion is not loosing anything because of that.

Why don't they do it anymore?
Maybe because now you can find Vogue Italia in Paris or Vogue USA in Milano?
Why should you buy another magazine if you know almost everything you need to know in order to have general idea?

Yes, this big focus on a single type of fashion smells like a marketing manoeuvre to sell more magazines.
It's actually predictable, as it's so hard to preserve that aura of gravity when we speak about the crisis of the market and the influence of Internet where you'd be able to read the exact same things without spending a single cent.

But I still prefer the amazing sensation that holding a Vogue issue, old or new, gives you.
And like me, many other people feel the same, all around the world.
That's why Vogue will always be different from any other kind of magazines, and in some years another person will stop into a small shop, get the 2012 issue, hold in her hands and be extremely proud of that.
Maybe, she'll write something about it... 


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Vamonos, vamonos, vamonos a bailar!

Hello everybody!

I know I promised you to bring you with me through the various memories of my little trips around Europe, but today I would like to make a brake in the road of memories because I just a can't help but telling you about the concert I've been Sunday night.

First of all I must specify that it was my very first time at the Olimpia theatre of Dublin, but I am sure that it's not going to be the last one, as the location was absolutely fantastic...
It reminded me about the old-fashion theatres I am so used to see in Italy, with all the red velvet and white decorations...

When my room mate proposed me to go to this concert together in October I was pretty sceptical, as I haven't really heard about the musicians before, and I just thought "wow!" when she told me that we should have get the ticket at that time, if not they were all going to be gone soon...

That made me curious about these RODRIGO Y GABRIELA that were performing in Dublin and I thought "why not?".
Now I know it was such a great choice, as these two Mexican guys who started performing in the streets of Dublin some years ago are some of the best musicians I've ever been listening to, alive or not.

They started, as I said, playing in the streets of Dublin, as they were living here at the time, and then went back to Mexico, where they made a try with the metal genre...
...not a really good one, thou, as they soon changed completely, landing to this salsa/Latina approach that is absolutely their thing.

Looking at Gabriela's fingers on the guitar is almost hypnotising: they  are incredibly fast!
And Rodrigo's relaxed way to go around the stage while playing has a strange contrast effect with their crazy music which makes you want to dance as you've never done before.

They are great together, a perfect mix of jumps and craziness from Gabriela, and relaxed cool presence from Rodrigo, which influence each other in a perfect way.

They are amazing musicians, but also performers, and they interact so well with the public, as their jokes made everybody laugh, especially when Rodrigo pretended to be Irish, caused to the strange accent that living in Ireland for a long time had given to his English...

But this performance was not only something important for them from a personal point of view, as they both defined Dublin as the city where everything started for them;
it was very special also because it was the very first time they were performing with a band.

The band, composed by Cuban musicians who add an amazing Caribbean touch to their Latina music, is composed by a drummer, a trumpeter, a great base guitar who gave his best at the very end, and best of all, the greatest pianist they could have with them.

His name? Alex Wilson, which you should definitely remember because I am 100% sure that we are going to hear a lot about him in the future... he is just too good not to become one of the musical icons of the century.

But Rodrigo y Gabriela found him, and not likely to make him leave them soon, not for now at least, but they gave him a little bit of space for himself during the concert, to show people what he is able to do.
Everybody was totally amazed...

Sometimes the best experiences you could do just happen without you expecting them, and this concert for me was one of these.
I think that another fact which contributed to make me feel involved in the whole thing was that I was standing right in front of the stage: no seats and no mezzanine, but maybe the sticky floor contributed to make us breathe the Latina atmosphere.

Impossible to stay still! 
Must try it...but for now I hope you'll enjoy a little bit of the rhythm of Rodrigo y Garbiela looking at the videos I recorded for you: es hora de bailar! 

Thursday, 2 February 2012


Hello everybody!!

Here I am again, with another little souvenir from my various trips...
This time I am going to show you something that it's not strictly related with what we are used to talk about, but it's just too beautiful to be left out.

During my first moths in Ireland, going around town and looking at the shops, I discovered myself  being so interested and fascinated by the charity and vintage shops that are all around the city centre.
Must say that these kind of shops are not usual in Italy, where vintage means incredibly expensive and charity is done by selling cakes instead of clothes...

(Temple Bar's vintage, Dublin 2011)

That's why, exploring the various shops in Dublin, I was simply amazed in front of cool dresses for euro 2 or great shoes for euro 5, so amazed that at the beginning I really thought there was something wrong going on... but no!
It was absolutely true, and that's why I fell in love with these kind of shops..

But going back home for Christmas and getting used to the marvellous roads that  around Venice and Milan, I realised how much I missed that concept of fashion: that way to conceive it depending not on the price but on the quality and the beauty first of all.

(Carla Sozzani's concept store, Corso Como 10, Milan)

Different shops, different clothes, VERY different prices, not only for the famous griffes that everybody knows, but also in all the small shops, very Italian, that are still faithful to the Made in Italy instead of various China, India or Bangladesh, and where you'll find actual master pieces, amazing shapes and soft materials, but that makes your wallet cry a lot.

This is the main difference I've noticed between Italian shops and shops all around the world (maybe with the only exception of France...), especially United Kingdom.

But there is a category of shops that stands out of this home-made classification of mine.
There is a type of shop that is simply incomparable with anything else, and that because of the way it is, requests real skills to be build and kept, and becomes itself a very precious piece of luxurious art.

You would be able to find this kind of place only in Italy, and sometimes you probably won't notice it, if you don't pay attention.
It's not the kind of shop which wants to be seen, it doesn't have a huge writing or neon lights as the worldly  known chains used to do...
This shop is small and often set in an historical building, with frescoes, maybe, or where the old style architecture contributes to make everything look even more precious and sophisticated.

As I said, it's not easy to notice, but for an expert eye, it's impossible to step in front of its window without stopping with surprise.
Chanel vintage dresses, old issues of Vogue, French perfumes and diamond jewels, Alexander McQueen's furs, Renee Caovilla's crazy shoes, all disposed together as in a beautiful painting, but it's not an illusory representation of reality.

It's all true, and if you want you can go inside and try that Chanel on you, smell the perfumes, put on some delicious creams and look at the sparkling o these diamonds from a closer distance.

Entering in this kind of shop it's a pleasure to grant to yourself: the owner is often alone in there, maybe helped by an elegant and posed student of fashion, taking care of everything. Her place is her proud, everything inside of it is decided by her, every piece she has found somewhere special and she would be able to tell you its story in detail.

That's what happened to me this December, when I was making a walk with a good friend in the lovely city of Vicenza, and i suddenly bumped into a place like this.

Passing the door I felt like I was going into another place, into another time, where nothing was important anymore but just the beauty of everything around me.
And I wanted it to be all mine...

So if you are planning a trip to Italy and you've in your mind some crazy shopping, or just a day where to loose yourself looking at the shops and what the amazing country of fashion can offer you, don't limit yourself and go only for griffes and chains.

Take a look around you, maybe at that little window at the corner, or in that building which seems to be closed, or inside of that court which seems to host nothing but a lovely garden...
You may find something very, very special...