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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

THE City

Little records of my wondering around during my last day in London,
going from Tower Bridge toward the Market in London Bridge, then up the Thames until the Tate Gallery and up St Paul until Covent Garden…

…down Trafalgar square until Victoria where I met with Fran in the pub Alessia works in, right before to leave for the airport where I spent the night as I hate so much having to wake in the middle of it to take a bus.

It was a great week.
It's strange to think how big, chaotic and difficult London used to seem to me when I was coming here for the first times, and how right now it almost feel like home or at least as a place I would like to be home for a while because of the emotions it gives me.

I've learned that wherever you are in London there's always: a Starbucks to crash if you are tired and need a treat;
a Tesco where to buy food either on the way home or if you are rushing somewhere;
a tube station where you can go home from.
And realizing that made me understand that maybe there's no city which is too big or too hard to live in: it just depends on you, how you feel about it and how you manage to compromise with it in order to enjoy it.
Because there's a lot to enjoy, a lot.
Compromising was never something I liked to do, but right now I could accept this compromise with London, just because I think it's worth what I could get back from it.

We will see what happened, nothing is said,
but you stay tuned!

Fashion Week End

One of the highlights of my trip to London was definitely going to fashion week end at Somerset House with Fran and Alessia.
It was much less mad than the actual fashion week, but I thought that the initiative itself was absolutely brilliant: giving to everyone the chance to experience a bit of fashion week with simply purchasing the tickets (even the most expensive one were quite affordable!) all with goodies bags, catwalks and the chance to actually shop the collections and see the pieces from a very close distance.

Moreover, both days of fashion week end were packed with conferences and talks given by people of the industry on various topics.
Also, with additional 10 pounds, you would have been able to see one of the best exhibitions I've seen in a very long time Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! , an exclusive record of Isabella Blow's brilliant carrier as fashion editor and mentor of designers such as Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy, plus some of the most extravagant pieces from her own wardrobe.

A very enjoyable experience in the marvellous scenario of the actual Fashion Week: Somerset House.

The hair guru

When I attended the shooting that Nina Athanasiou did in the White Rabbit studios in London back in November I was so impressed by the skulks of each and every single member of the team that day.
But probably the one who impressed me the most was Diego Miranda, hair stylist and creative director of Joes salon in Chelsea, who has moved to London after 7 years in New York City and who still has people flying over from LA just to have their hair done by him whenever he goes back to the big apple.

Looking at Diego working he somehow reminded me of when I was a kid and I used to to with my mom to her hair dresser in Milano, the only person allowed to put his hands on her head and who she worked with many years at fashion shows.
The way in which that person touched, moved and did things with the hair I couldn't even understand how were happening was just incredible.
Looking at him I knew that what I was doing required skills and was not just a matter of attitude…

Well, when I saw Diego working, I could recall the same feeling of mystery: I had no clue what he was doing and how he was doing it, and yet it looked fabulous!

But also, he added something more to the allure that old-style great hair stylists have.
Maybe, the fact that he is himself a very cool, stylish person was the bit that made everything he was doing not only professional, not only perfect but also fresh

Chatting a bit with him and getting to know something about his story, I just knew it was not enough to satisfy my curiosity about him. That's why I decided to interview him for Flawless, and that brought me to Joes salon in Chelsea, where we had a chat and he also gave me an amazing hair cut which is just perfect for me.
And I mean, perfect… and I didn't even know that! 
And I didn't say a word to him when he asked me what I would have wanted him to do…

I cannot wait to see him published in Flawless, but most of all I cannot wait to go back to Joes not as a journalist but simply as a client and have my hair done again.
Hopefully next time Diego will have time for a drink as well, despite his busy schedule, as I have the feeling that there's still quite a lot to learn from him and his way of living…

On the way to Chelsea

Did I tell you I like to walk around when I'm in London?

Well, I really do, even tho sometimes I don't really realize how big it is and how distances are much more spread than in Dublin where I am used to walk everywhere.

That's why when I feel very tired at the end of the day I ask myself "Why am I so tired? Why do I feel exactly like I was just out of a spin class?".
Well, that's when I should start counting the kilometers i walked during the day!
Or maybe I should't, sometimes is better not to know.

Anyway, on Friday, my fifth day in London, I was going to Fashion week end with Fran and lovely Alessia, but before that I had to go to Chelsea to interview amazing hair stylist Diego Miranda, who I met when I styled Nina Athanasiou's shooting back in November and who I clearly remembered because of how good he was at his job but also because of how cool he himself was: perfect for Flawless and I cannot wait to finish the feature I am writing about him and see it published.

Going to Chelsea I went off the tube in Westminster as it was such a wonderful sunny day (again) that I din't want to miss a single moment of it.
Which I did, as I was out all the day, before walking to Chelsea and then at Somerset House where I spent the rest of the afternoon.

But let's talk a bit about Chelsea, home of one of the TV shows I am slightly embarrassed to watch but which became a drug for me from the very first season, beautiful and extremely posh area of London which looks a bit like one of these nice cakes you see at weddings and celebrations, which everyone is slightly afraid to cut as they look so pretty, but who everyone wants to eat as they are so delicious…

Somewhere I haven't been before but somewhere I will definitely go back to, maybe not to look at flats to rent, maybe not to shop, but at least to have my hair done again from Diego…

Shoreditch and drinks…

After my interview with Seb Winter on my third day in London I decided to go for a drink with my friend Nacer.

Knowing that the average delay when meeting his goes from 30 minutes to one hour, I took my time to walk from Benthal Green station to the heart of Shoreditch, spotting places and people and finally exploring this area which I just passed by last time I was in London as Nina's shooting was in a studio there and where I promised myself to go on a quieter day to walk around and photograph.

So here's a little reportage of the cool place in London, which is already becoming not-so-cool according to Seb Winter, who moved here where there weren't even buses connecting to Central London, but which still looks pretty rocking to me…


@Seb Winter

My third day in London started as most of my days in Dublin usually start: with the rain.

A heavy and stubborn rain that didn't stop for all the morning and made the tube wet and stinky. Thank God there was this wonderful woman who meet me close to Bond Street for a coffee: my lovely friend Taz, who I met when she was working as a make up artist for Nina Athanasiou's shoot for Flawless in London, back in November.
When I saw her again in Venice a month ago for the Venetian shoot with Nina, I told her that we should have met as I already knew I was coming for fashion week.

We went for a coffee and had a lovely chat which was enriched by the fact that she introduced me to her marvellous kids!
Seriously, some of the prettiest kids I have ever seen and so quiet and educated as well!

Meeting Taz was lovely as usual, even tho I could's stay for as long as i would want to.
In fact, I needed to head to East London, to Shoreditch in particular, where I interviewed fashion and beauty photographer Sebastian Winter in his studio in one of the coolest spaces ever: a building where various offices and designers are paired with charities and associations which are given an office space there to organize themselves and pursue their activities.

The studio was lovely indeed…

Do you notice anything weird?
Oh yes, the sun came out again! Which made my walk around Shoreditch in the sunset even more enjoyable…
But that's another story.

Stay tuned!

White wine and zebra

When celebrity photographer Nicky Johnston asked me to join him in his house in Clapton for out interview for Flawless magazine I really wished to know where Clapton was…

Instead, I had never heard about that area of London and when having lunch with Fran she told me that she herself never ever went there before, I started to wonder what would have happened.
But after finding my way to Perou's Bow Bunker back in November I was pretty sure it couldn't have been worse or more hidden than that… would it?

So after having coffee with Luke I went to Liverpool street station to get a train (not the tube, I mean a proper train) to Clapton.
Once I got there I was nicely impressed by the area: very quiet but not dead, beautiful houses and the feeling of being in a very well preserved village where people go to take a brake from the chaos that permeates London.

But when Nicky greeted me at the door, holding a glass of wine and wearing a chilled pair of blue jeans and no shoes, I immediately felt great: I knew it was going to be a wonderful evening, the one I was going to spend with him.
And that's exactly what happened: I had a marvelous time!

Since I began interviewing people for my job at Flawless , this was definitely the best one I've had. Everything just floated and we started chatting and the chat became an interview and the interview became a mini tour of Nicky beautiful house as he showed me the back yard and the dining room and the gorgeous living room where a full zebra skin was ling on the ground as a carpet.
I almost couldn't believe he had one as it has been my dream to have one in my house since I was a kid.
I'm pretty sure I tried to convince my mom to get one when we moved out when I was 17, it didn't happen indeed.

Chatting with Nicky was a wonderful experience just because I happened to be a wonderful person and I really cannot wait to have a chance to meet him again, in front of another glass of white wine and just share something about our mutual passion and plans for future collaborations.

(Nicky Johnston and I in his house in Clapton)