Italian Summer. Valentino Resort 2021

This is the ideal summer state of mind: Mariacarla Boscono dancing, laughing and sun-bathing at the Italian sea-side, wearing Valentino and being photographed by her friend – and the brand’s creative director – Pierpaolo Piccioli. Italy was the European country that was first tragically hit by COVID-19, and to many it seemed that good days aren’t coming back anytime soon. Now the country seems to gradually revive and the dream Italian summer is back on track. Optymism is winning. “I never stopped working,” Piccioli told Vogue during a Zoom call. “I profoundly love what I do; this is my passion, something fundamental for me – it isn’t just work.” The resort 2021 collection is the byproduct of the time spent alone drawing and painting, while remaining connected with his team. “I wanted to convey spontaneity and truth, even imperfection—but it’s the feel of human imperfection you long for right now,” he explained. “The collection was born out of flat drawings – paper and pencil, no styling, no mood board, just researching on paper shapes that linger in your head. A pure fashion process, as it should be done.” The human quality of creativity is paramount to Piccioli’s practice. He has imbued the rarefied world of couture with emotional values – exposing and revealing its craft and handmade processes, and shining a light on his team of seamstresses and artisans as essential players behind his fabulous creations. This center still firmly holds. “I wanted [to communicate] something even more personal, very close to myself. Conveying a sense of intimacy, a sentiment of individual connection, of emotion. I decided to photograph the collection myself because it seemed more coherent in this moment to send out a message with no filters, no manipulation, no other interpretation or mediation. I didn’t want the usual glamour of a fashion shoot,” he continued. “What I was interested in focusing on was what I’ve missed most in this confinement – the simple feeling of human connection, of shared love and friendship. This is what I wanted to bring about in my images.” Not surprisingly, simplicity is the collection’s key word. “It’s a radical simplicity though,” reflected Piccioli. “I wanted to be even more radical, in that the simplicity I’ve tried to achieve in shapes, volumes, and construction comes at the end of a process of resolved complexities. It’s a study and a project on cut, proportions, balance. Reducing and subtracting to reach the core, something essential and pure – but not more banal. Simple, not simplified.” There’s an ease and a fluidity of movement, a feel for freedom and effortlessness exuding from the lean silhouettes of caftans, elongated shift dresses, capes, and separates. Defined by strong, solid colors inspired by Mark Rothko’s chromatically powerful palette, pure shapes were infused with a vibrant, joyful flair. A few prints inspired by 18th-century tapestries were rendered as inconspicuous abstract strokes of color, as if they were just traces of memories, or shadows of the decorative motifs’ former selves. And what’s more special than a dear friend you’ve known and loved for years? “Mariacarla and I, we go back a long way,” he said. A spontaneous energy radiates from the images, shot by Piccioli in the natural surroundings of his home: a lake where he goes swimming; a sulfur mine where Pier Paolo Pasolini shot some scenes from his 1964 movie Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo. There’s a palpable sense of intimacy and of a familiar bond between photographer and model. Again, individuality and humanity are the pivots around which the collection, which was designed to appeal to both genders, came alive.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Torino Addresses

Here’s my Torino guide I’ve promised a couple of days ago! Hope it will inspire your visit to this delightful, Italian city. Enjoy!

Porta Di Savona

The room is charming if sparsely decorated, with marble floors, paneled walls, white tablecloths, and a little bar with a nice selection of aperitivi. All the dishes you want in the Piedmont are on the menu (the ultimate heaven: agnolotti, vitello tonnato, braised beef, and the best panna cotta ever!), and all taste the way you want them to.

Piazza Vittorio Veneto 2

Palazzo Madama

Having played a leading role in its history from Roman times through to the present day, Palazzo Madama was declared a World Heritage Site with the other Residences of the House of Savoy in 1997. The visit covers four floors, where the centuries-old story of its construction interacts with the collections of the Museo Civico d’Arte Antica, which have been here since 1934. The early centuries of the Middle Ages are illustrated in the Mediaeval Stonework Collection on the moat level, with its sculptures, mosaics, and jewellery dating from the Later Antique period to the Romanesque. The fifteenth-century rooms on the ground floor contain paintings, sculptures, miniatures and precious objects from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, mainly from Piedmont. In the circular room in the Treasure Tower there is a selection of masterpieces, including the famous Portrait of a Man by Antonello da Messina. On the piano nobile, with its stunning array of Baroque stuccoes and frescoes, there is the modern picture gallery with works from the Savoy Collections and an important selection of furniture made by Piedmontese, Italian, and French master cabinetmakers. Lastly, the top floor houses the decorative arts collections, which are a key part of the museum’s assets, with majolica and porcelain, glasswork and ivories, fabrics and lace, jewellery and metals, as well as the stunning collection of gilded, painted and sgraffito glass, unrivalled in terms of its quantity and quality.

Piazza Castello

Parrot & Palm

Probably the most chic boutique in Turin. From selection of niche Italian perfumes to affordable and stylish ready-to-wear labels, this place will charm you with its selection and beautiful, vintage-infused interior. Italians have their style, but in Turin, there’s a sense of non-chalant, born-with elegance.

Via Maria Vittoria 28/G

Da Michele

A treasure trove of taste since 1922, enclosed within the magnificent Piazza Vittorio Veneto and passed down from generation to generation. Daily offers at Da Michele are their unmistakable Pan Pizza and Farinata baked in their wood-fired oven as well as their authentic and tasty home-style cooking which showcases both Piedmont and Tuscan cooking traditions. Drooling.

Piazza Vittorio Veneto 4

Torino Mercato

I always think that in order to disover an Italian city, you’ve got to visit its market first. Looking at all the beautiful artichokes, baby tomatoes and courgette flowers available at Turin’s central market, you can tell this city is worth staying in for a while.

Piazza della Repubblica

Serienumerica

Born in Turin, Serienumerica is a brand that considers the constant research and experimentation its main features. The two designers, Maria De Ambrogio and Stella Tosco, focus mainly on knitwear and leather accessories, working closely with Italian artisans and breaking away form usual schemes, reinterpreting the culture of the product. Serienumerica proposes luxury clothes with clean lines, beautiful leather bags and leather backpacks. Their store is also their studio, where all the knits are produced. You are more than welcome to take a look at it!

Via Bonelli 3

Royal Palace of Turin

Palazzo Reale di Torino is a sixteenth-century palace constructed for the House of Savoy, which ruled Turin until the late nineteenth century. Originally built in the 16th century, it was modernized by Christine Marie of France in the 17th century with designs by Baroque architect Filippo Juvarra. The palace was converted to a museum in 1946 and, in 1997, it joined the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The lavishly-decorated rooms feature 17th-century carved furniture, tapestries, paintings, and frescoes. Visitors can tour the first-floor royal apartments, ballroom, throne hall, gallery, and Royal Library, which displays a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci from 1512. The adjacent Royal Armory features one of the world’s largest collections of weapons – and it’s a visual treat.

Piazzetta Reale 1

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All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Torino

Just an hour-and-half away from Milan, in the heart of charming Piedmont. you’ve got one of the prettiest – and underrated – cities in Italy: Torino (also known as Turin). The first sight: beautiful Baroque buildings lined up, each embellished by quaint signage from bygone decades. Coffee shops with Art Nouveau interiors, red-velvet seats and older ladies with impeccable hair. Townhouse patios with tiny chapels, antique shops with true treasures, palazzos where you can spend hours on looking at all the intricate details… and blooming roses in the parks (yes, in winter). Not speaking of the fantastic lack of tourists, which is really calming if you’re back from Rome or Florence. I will post my favourite places to see and visit in Torino very soon, for now here are some “moments” I’ve captured during our stay in January…

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Italian Goodness. Salvatore Ferragamo SS20

I’m still in absolute awe. Salvatore Ferragamo‘s spring-summer 2020 collection for men (and resort 2020 for women) was the best thing I’ve seen for a while in fashion. It was that good. No fashion show has ever been allowed in Florence’s Piazza della Signoria before. The view had to be really, really impressive, noting that the models walked in front of David. Plus, comparing to other shows we’ve seen this month, this one had a real sense behind the location: Florence is the company’s home. Now, fashion. Paul Andrew and Guillaume Meilland have already proved that they’re a good match for Ferragamo in their previous. But this one was their best. I fell in complete love with all the jumpsuits the designers sent down the runway – especially the one in deep purple, with a zipper and a belt at the waist. The perfect balance between utilitarian and Italian elegance. Something you would love to wear to your vineyard in Tuscany. I adored all the leather pants and shorts, too. The colour palette, mainly mint, lavender and ochre, was a dream. There’s beautiful tailoring as well as pajama pants. While using the so-called “rave” sunglasses sounds like trying too hard to impress the younger audience, here they looked properly cool. Just wow.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Flowers in Bologna

We’ve ended our car trip in Italy with a plate of salami, parma ham, artichokes and cheese in Bologna, where we’ve been to last summer for a couple of days. What I’m definitely adding to my address list in this gorgeous, gorgeous city? Frida’s Flower Store. The photo above says it all…

Via Drapperie 1 / Bologna