Julie Adams (a fashion photographer) and Emma Scott (a writer and designer) have a shared love of Italy. And so together they bring to you beautiful, heartfelt, inspiring and often unexpected stories from people all around the world, and their 'affair with Italy'.

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Current Competition

For the chance to win a beautiful coffee table book and poster that accompanies the comprehensive landmark exhibition 'the Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014' currently showing at London's Victoria and Albert museum - we'd like you to share your most glamorous Italian moment!

All you need to do is:
1. Make sure you are an AAWI subscriber. You can subscribe for free on this site.
2.  Instagram your 'most glamorous Italian moment' to  #Anaffairwithitaly @anaffairwithitaly with a few words describing why this moment was 'Glamorous' for you.

Winner will be announced on 28.7.2014.


Competition Winners

Month Name City
Jan 2012 Annie Melbourne, Aus
Feb 2012 Mel Sydney, Aus
Mar 2012 Abigail London, UK
Apr 2012 Michael Dhaka, Bangladesh
May 2012 Suzi Melbourne, Aus
June 2012 Christel Tweed Heads, Aus
July 2012 Linda Chicago, USA
Aug 2012 Amanda Melbourne, Aus
Sept 2012 Paddy Melbourne, Aus
Oct 2012 Mary Ipswich, Aus
Nov 2012 Shelley Preston, UK
Oct 2013 Pina Italy
May 2014 Leilani Columbus, USA

 

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A Florence Morning Limited edition print by Julie Adams, Photographer
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Travel Tips

John Voigtmann
Contributor: John Voigtmann
Favourite place in Italy: Salina
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An authentic gelato and granita experience A customised van on the streets of Modica Alta
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Food & Wine

Join An Affair with Italy and some of the best chefs from around the world for unique culinary experiences – superb food and wine, and incredible company.

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Rosita Missoni - Matriarch of the Missoni Brand

'We have always been inspired by a combination of colour and shapes within flowers. Flowers inspire the fantasy of our world. My husband was always a very good artist and used these inspirations to create a system; when knitting the fabrics every single thread had a number that corresponded to a colour and then the kind of yarns he wanted to use. He created a language of his own.'

To me, flowers are home. My earliest memories are of following my mother on Sunday’s as she meticulously nurtured our beautiful garden. She would explain the different varieties, what time of year each would bloom, what kind of conditions each would need to flourish. There was so much patience and appreciation. Today, as a designer, flowers continue to be a huge source of inspiration for me, not only because of the beautiful memories I associate with them but because of the way they express infinite combinations of colour, texture, shape and scent.

I have always adored Missoni design, but when I discovered that Rosita Missoni, matriarch of the eponymous Italian fashion and homeware brand, also has a great love of botanicals, I was more than inspired to meet her.

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Rosita's Italian tips:

1. WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN ITALY?

Venice is magical from all angles; from its precious Palazzi to its Lido, its several markets such as the one in the Rialto where you can buy fruit and vegetables; to its many surrounding islands such as Torcello, Murano, Giudecca. You not only have architecture to explore, but also many exhibitions, from paintings to other subjects.

2. WHAT HOTEL WOULD YOU RECOMMEND IN VENICE?

I would recommend hotel Cipriani alla Giudecca, it has a big swimming pool and is good for families.

3. WHERE WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO EAT IN VENICE?

Trattoria Alla Madonna is a great restaurant and don't forget Harry’s Bar for an aperitivo Bellini (also the restaurant is very good but a little expensive). I would also suggest Do Forni, not far from Piazza San Marco, and Pasticceria Rosa Salva for its Venetian specialities such as  “gialletti” e “budini di riso”.  Un Fritolin is a good restaurant for a quick lunch. You will find dishes such as "baccala mantecato" or "sardelle in saor" at Trattoria Aciugheta in Campo Santi Filippo e Giacomo. But also out of Venice I would suggest in Burano Trattoria al Gatto Nero and in Torcello the Locanda Cipriani with a excellent Venetian cuisine.

4. IF SOMEONE HAS A FASCINATION WITH BOTANICS AND FLOWERS, WHERE IN ITALY WOULD YOU SUGGEST THEY VISIT? IS THERE A FLOWER SHOW OR FESTIVAL THAT THEY MUST SEE?

Places like the islands of Lake Maggiore, such as Isola Bella, or the beautiful Villa Taranto in Pallanza is famous for its botanical gardens. Near Venice, you can dedicate a tour to the Palladian Villas on boats, to visit their fascinating gardens and precious architecture.

5. IF YOU WERE TO GIVE FLOWERS FOR A GIFT, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FLOWERS OF CHOICE?

Depends on the season: Anemonys and in the springtime and Tulips.

6. WHEN IT COMES TO DESIGNING YOUR HOME, ARE THERE ANY GREAT ITALIAN DESIGNERS THAT YOU HAVE AN AFFILIATION WITH? OTHER THAN MISSONI HOME, WHO WOULD YOU SHOWCASE IN YOUR HOME?

Among big famous designers I love especially Gio Ponti. My chairs in my Milano, Sumirago and Sardenia homes are Hans Wegner design; and my preferred couches are Antonio Citterio from B&B; but I also like the Kartell chairs.

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Posted in 'Designers' on Monday 14th July 2014

Culinary powerhouse unite in celebration of the AAWI Travel Directory Launch

'With Cira and Ormeggio at The Spit'

On Wednesday night Julie and Emma from An Affair with Italy were thrilled to host a special evening to mark the launch of the An Affair with Italy Travel Directory. The night was an intimate evening on the water at Mosman, in collaboration with Cira (Council of Italian restaurants in Australia), an organisation at the forefront of promoting the values of authentic Italian cuisine in Australia, values that An Affair with Italy shares and cherishes.

Four of Australia’s most revered chefs (Alessandro Pavoni from Ormeggio, Giovanni Pilu from Pilu at Freshwater, Sandro Di Marino from A Tavola and Gabriele Taddeucci from Balla) joined forces at Ormeggio at The Spit, each bringing their Italian regional heritage to the table through the creation of an indulgent degustation menu. The menu was a celebration of the rich diversity of Italian cuisine, showcasing four of the many regions featured throughout the new An Affair with Italy Travel Directory, a treasure trove of information on where to stay, eat, drink, shop and play in Italy; a user-friendly encyclopedia that brings the hidden secrets of Italy, as divulged by the inspirational personalities profiled throughout the magazine.

Each of the chefs introduced their culinary creation and delighted the guests with insight into the regionality of their food and secret travel tips of their region, that only a local would know.

The very talented artist Monique Lovering, generously devoted her time to creating a stunning largescale artwork that became the centre piece for the room; a metaphor for the eclectic nature of the regions of Italy. Monique lived and worked in Palermo for two years, so had some wonderful stories of her own to share.

"We are so thankful to all the beautiful creative spirits that came together for the evening to help create what can only be described as a remarkable evening, a night Julie and I will always cherish. And we hope that the An Affair with Italy Travel Directory becomes a great tool for anyone when planning their next Italian adventure." Emma Scott, An Affair with Italy.

“An Affair with Italy is a beautiful read. The travel tips are spot-on, authentic and useful. I’m already planning my next trip using the new Travel Directory.” Nic Cerrone, Jeweler.

“Despite being Italian myself, I always recommend An Affair with Italy to friends planning a holiday as I feel it’s the most precious advice I can give them for an authentic Italian experience.” Laura Fantacci, international magazine editor and founder of www.wearingittoday.co.uk

Visit www.anaffairwithitaly.com, click on the Travel Directory tab and register your details to access the insider’s guide on where to stay, shop, eat, drink and play in Italy.

Special thanks to Cira, Ormeggio at The Spit, the chefs Alessandro Pavoni, Giovanni Pilu, Sandro Di Marino and Gabriele Taddeucci, artist Monique Lovering, Cerrone Jewellers, Velluti's, Aqua Panna, San Pellegrino, Euro Concepts, Godot Wines, Peroni, Moofish, Toby Peet Photographer and Bly Carpenter.

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Posted in 'Business' on Sunday 22nd June 2014

About Antonio Berardi

  • I was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England
  • I have Sicilan heritage
  • I developed an interest in fashion at a young age. As a nine-year-old I saved up to buy an Armani shirt with leather gusset shoulders
  • After finishing high school I attended Lincoln College of Art and Design
  • I began working as an assistant to John Galliano
  • 1990 I was accepted into Central Saint Martins College of Art and design at the University of the Arts, London
  • In 1994 my graduate collection caught the attention of Angela Quaintrell, a buyer for London fashion holding group Liberty. With financial backing from Liberty I produced my first fashion week collection in 1995
  • Kylie Minogue modelled for my first collection week show
  • Some of my most noteable dresses are a coat illuminated with light bulbs that lit up to form a crucifix, the trompe-l'oeil corset dress in a black-and white colour scheme, featuring lace detailing, worn by Gwyneth Paltrow in November 2008 at the premiere of the film Two Lovers

Antonio Berardi & Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou - Fashion designer and creative director

'From an early age I was aware of fashion, my family and I would go back to Italy, to Sicily, every year for 2-3 months and we had a special wardrobe. We needed clothes for church, we had to wear suits and we had to have the right shoes. We would wear linen and colour, which you didn't wear in England. I was made aware of the idea that when we travelled we never knew who we were going to bump into, so we had to look immaculate, even going to the airport. And you did it not just for yourself, but for your family, it was a status thing.'

About Antonio

I aspire to be one of those people who carefully considers their wardrobe choice before walking out their front door, every day. I hate the thought of ducking down to the local store in my tracksuit pants only to run into three people I know. And as I interview the very talented London-based fashion designer Antonio Berardi and his equally fabulous creative director Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou, I am excited to discover that they are also, advocates for a ban on the tracksuit in public.

Antonio and Sophia have been working together for many years. A marriage. And you can tell, there is an intimacy, a shared history of creativity, an unspoken understanding. Together they light up the room. They are vibrant, energetic and playful. It is wonderful to watch.
Sophia was working for a newspaper when they first met.

Sophia: “We were doing a feature on young graduate designers from Saint Martins, a prestigious design school in London, and I had to interview each of the designers. I met Antonio and was struck by his raw talent. We had a rapport and he asked me to come and work for the brand as a creative consultant.”

That was 17 years ago.

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Antonio's Italian tips:

1. WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN ITALY?

My heritage is Sicilian, so I would have to say Sicily. There really is no place like it in the world. My parent’s hometown is in the province of Agrigento, so the area is really my playground. I love Sciacca, a little medieval town, with a little port, and beautiful piazzas brimming with bars and restaurants.

2. DO YOU HAVE A HOTEL THAT YOU ALWAYS GO BACK TO?

Yes, I stay at The Verdura, an amazing Rocco Forte Hotel which I would recommend to anyone.

3. IS THERE A RESTAURANT THAT YOU WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND?

In Sicily you eat well wherever you go, the produce is so fresh and the flavours are unique. A tomato in Sicily tastes like nothing else. Would I recommend anywhere? No! Discover for yourself and you won't be disappointed.

4. IS THERE SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO IN SICILY?

Reminisce!

5. WHERE IN ITALY WOULD YOU FIND THE ANTONIO BERARDI LABEL?

Louisa via Roma in Florence and Corso Como 10 in Milan.

6. IS THERE AN UP AND COMING ITALIAN DESIGNER THAT WE REALLY MUST LOOK OUT FOR?

Fausto Puglisi who is also Sicilian.

7. WHEN IT COMES TO ACCESSORISING ANTONIO BERARDI WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST?

Killer heels by Rupert Sanderson for Antonio Berardi, a pair of 18th century drop earrings, and an amazing perfume.

 

Sophia's Italian tips:

1. WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN ITALY?

Venice for its darkness and mystery and the idea it's a place so overflowing with history, romance and intrigue. It's like a real labyrinth.

2. DO YOU HAVE A HOTEL THAT YOU ALWAYS GO BACK TO?

The Hotel Gritti Palace, for its faded grandeur built in 1525. It is so wonderful, located in one of the huge sites that overlook the Grand Canal. So breathtaking.

3. IS THERE A RESTAURANT THAT YOU WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND?

Alla Madonna, down a tiny narrow road off the Rialto Bridge the most amazing seafood ever and a brilliant traditional atmosphere - fresh fish every day, very unassuming and honest food cooked with love!

4. IS THERE SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO IN VENICE?

Always walk the streets at night when it is deserted, it feels like you have the city all to yourself, you really feel the ghosts of all the lovers that have been there before. I especially adore St Mark's Square when it is flooded or really early in the morning watching the sunrise. Always be there with someone you love, stop in little streets together, such romance in the darkness.

5. FOR THE BEST ITALIAN FASHION WHERE IN ITALY WOULD YOU SUGGEST TO GO?

Anywhere where I can buy authentic handmade lace, tableclothes and linen.

6. IS THERE AN UP AND COMING ITALIAN DESIGNER THAT WE REALLY MUST LOOK OUT FOR?

Unfortunately I feel young talent in Italy face real challenges and hurdles to exist in an environment dominated by the fashion giants. Riccardo Tisci had to leave Milan and work for a French house Givenchy, to get the recognition he deserved. You never know, he may be enlisted in the future to come back to Italy to work for a big Italian house - that would be amazing.

7. WHEN IT COMES TO ACCESSORISING WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST?

You can never have too many accessories, I have at the moment 600 pairs of shoes and counting and about to start a collaboration where I am designing my own footwear and endless sunglasses. I just adore them, they can really change the whole direction of a look. I have quite a fetishistic approach to footwear and really always chose sexy over practical any day.

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Posted in 'Fashion' on Monday 9th June 2014

About Ron Robinson

  • I Started my business 36 years ago, 1978 after working for Fred Segal for 9 years.
  • Now own several specialty fashion stores including Men’s, Women’s, StylObjects - Home accessories and design items, LIFE SIZE- Kids fashion apparel. APOTHIA - cosmetics, skincare and fragrance.
  • Launched and aided numerous beauty and fashion lines over the years, from a time they were virtually unknown to their super status today, including Kiehls, Hard Candy, Cross Colors, Aesop, Czech and Speak, Lorenzo Villoressi.
  • Our Los Angeles heritage and store that is iconic in the fashion community for all these years is supported by our many celebrity clients from all fields. We believe all of our customers are celebrities!
  • Developed Apothia fragrances in 2001 by creating “IF eau de parfum”, for our store first. Now a cult favorite in specialty circles worldwide.
  • Eight of the fragrances developed for Apothia, which includes candles, diffusers, washes and lotions, have been voted Interior Scent of the Year by the Fragrance Foundation – the fragrance industry’s equivalent of an Oscar!
  • Had the extreme privilege to collaborate with Rosita Missoni and develop the Missoni Home candle range in 2010 and launched in Paris 2013.
  • For the past 22 years I have worked together with my amazing spouse, Stacy, who is a brilliant business person and responsible for much of our organisation and growth.
  • For the past 20 years we have watched our son Max grow into an amazing young man. He attends school at University of Colorado in Boulder, but is now at study abroad in Barcelona. Our best and most fulfilling accomplishment!

Ron Robinson - Boutique owner at Fred Segal, Los Angeles based clothing retail store

'I arrive to a table laid out with all of my fragrances and all of my candles and I saw little squares of Missoni designs shaped like my boxes. I got goose bumps. I thought I'm not really going to have to pitch here. That's when I first realised that before me was an opportunity of a lifetime. Rosita Missoni came in.'

About Ron

Los Angeles is an intriguing city. To me it’s a modern day version of the ‘wild west’. Anything is possible. People arrive to follow their dreams and make their fortune - movie stars, business people, executives. It’s a remarkable juxtaposition of the established and the potential.

The first time I arrived I was told that you can’t go to LA without spending a morning at Fred Segal on Melrose Avenue - the very hip clothing and fashion retail department store, made of individually owned boutiques each offering their own unique selection of clothing from all over the world, under the Fred Segal umbrella. A maze of captivating rooms. A celebrity darling. I spent a couple of hours exploring everything Fred Segal had to offer - from Apothia fragrances to YSL one-of-its-kind shirts before settling into an LA style salad at the Melrose Cafe to watch the stream of chauffeured cars arrive with the fashionable ready to shop.

6 years later I spend a fascinating morning talking to Ron Robinson, the very likeable character behind the store Ron Robinson at Fred Segal; a walking embodiment of established and potential.

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Ron's Italian tips:

1. WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN ITALY? DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE HOTEL THAT YOU ALWAYS GO BACK TO?

My oldest memories are in Florence, having spent countless visits there beginning more than 30 years ago. I would always stay in the Hotel Lungarno, on the River Arno. Many years ago it was the place that many in the apparel industry would stay. The bar area consisted of a few comfortable chairs and a sofa surrounding a coffee table. Everyone in the industry would sign their names inside the drawers of the coffee table and it became a who’s who retrospective.

2. IS THERE A RESTAURANT THAT YOU WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND?

Is there really any food that’s not good in Italy? I have places that I attempt to make sure to visit, Camillo for Florentine steak and Coco Lezone for lunch.

3. AS SOMEONE THAT UNDERSTANDS HOW TO CREATE A UNIQUE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE, WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE IN ITALY?

Being out on the streets of Florence and Milan all day long, breaking for lunch and continuing till sundown. It’s like shopping on steroids.

4. IF YOU WERE TO BUY A MEN'S ITALIAN SUIT IN ITALY, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?

I buy clothes by feel and fit (ok, sex plays a part as well, I want to feel it).

5. AS A GREAT LOVER OF MISSONI HOME PRODUCTS, WHERE WOULD YOU GO IN ITALY TO BUY MISSONI HOME?

The Missoni Home showroom in Milan.

2 Comments
Posted in 'Business' on Sunday 18th May 2014

The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014

'Victoria and Albert Museum, London. 5 April - 27 July 2014'

London's Victoria and Albert Museum is celebrating the elegance and artistry of Italian Fashion with this comprehensive landmark exhibition, The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014.

This exhibition is a fascinating look at the transformation of post-war Italy into an international emblem of sophisticated fashion and style. With nearly a hundred exquisite ensembles and accessories this retrospective exhibition brings to life the history of a rich and vibrant Italian fashion industry; showcasing pieces by leading fashion houses and designers such as Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Valentino, Simonetta, Sorelle Fontana, Missoni, Marni, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Prada, Versace and Pucci, and the next generation of Italian designers.

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Posted in 'Designers' on Wednesday 14th May 2014

About Kate Nixon

  • My earliest memories involve furniture, design books and the smell of wood cuttings on the floor of our family workshop in Dalby and then Toowoomba, QLD. I can remember pouring over coffee table books depicting luxurious resorts and incredible architecture, iconic furniture pieces and richly decorated interiors. I loved the stair and ceiling details, the cushion trims and curtain swags, the layering of colour, texture and pattern which to me created such a sense of home.
  • My first job out of school was running a biscuit company. The business grew from a turnover of $200k - $2M in 2 years. I learnt and grew more in those 2yrs as a 17-19yr old than I think in any other period of my life. Cashflow, mark-ups & margins, marketing with no budget and no fear! Fundamentals of life and business which have informed every step since. When someone puts their faith in you it’s incredible what can be achieved. And there’s nothing quite like the school of life.
  • Meeting my husband, Tim when I was 17. I woke up one morning deciding I might learn to fly. He arrived in Toowoomba, a young instructor back from two hard years of general aviation in the Northern Territory. We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary this month and still can’t quite believe our luck.
  • I met Maya Kelett, the then editor of Australian House & Garden magazine, after we were married and moved to Sydney in 2004. She asked if I would be interested in food styling. I didn’t know what that was but ‘no’ has never been a part of my vocabulary and I still cannot resist an open door. Ten years on as a freelance stylist and writer in food and interiors, I have met and worked with the most inspiring and talented creatives, developed invaluable skills in composition, scale, colour and layering and loved every minute. For the last 3yrs I have worked as the Houses Editor for Australian House & Garden with the exceptional editor-in-chief Lisa Green and her handpicked team of talents. It has been a privilege and a joy.
  • Discovering Busatti in 2006 changed the course of our lives like a choose your own adventure book as we made our biggest financial and emotional commitment to date and life has never, will never, be the same!
  • Having your own business is unlike anything else I have experienced in my young career. A rollercoaster of emotions which essentially revolve around your belief in yourself and the product and/or service you are selling. I have never for a moment doubted the Busatti brand, the family or the product they craft. And this I believe, with a healthy dose of dogged determination, has brought us to this point 7yrs on. It is a privilege to be championing a company that stands for workmanship, quality, taste and tradition. Upholding these principals drives their every decision and I believe in the enduring value of life’s essential luxuries. Something to be saved for and cherished, passed down through generations. The imperfections of a hand at work valued more than the perfections of the machine made mass produced.
  • As Tim and I embark on the birth of our first baby next month, I hold onto the Italian way of la famiglia. A life well lived rich in family, friends, music and food where your work is your passion and your purpose.

Kate Nixon - Director at Busatti, Australia and Houses Editor at Australian House & Garden magazine

'Over the years the family have been approached to be bought out by international companies and to Giovanni that's like blasphemy. For him it's not about flying first class and staying in five star resorts and building a lifestyle for themselves out of the business, it's about reinvesting in a product that they believe in. They live a very simple life but a very good life. It's all about friends and family, good food and the Italian way.'

About Kate

A couple of years ago in Florence I was exploring the chic little stores by the river Arno when I stumbled across a lovely fabric store by the name of Busatti. Fine texture, lace work and intricate patterns adorned the shelves and window display. I was drawn to the subtlety of neutrals on white and the handcrafted nature of the fabric. Every piece was a hidden treasure - so much detail to explore. At the time I didn’t know anything about the brand or the eight generation Italian family behind this fascinating story, I just adored the product. I purchased a stunning handcrafted bedspread and had it shipped back to Australia.

Serendipitously, I recently had the pleasure of meeting Kate Nixon, the talented Houses Editor at Australian House & Garden and the Director of Busatti, Australia. Until this moment I had no idea Busatti had a presence in Australia. We quickly bonded over our love for Busatti and swapped our Busatti discovery stories. I had the pleasure of hearing first-hand the story of how a 22 year old Australian girl fell madly in love with the Busatti brand while holidaying in Italy, so much so that with no funds behind her, she then spent the next few years of her life endeavouring to bring the brand out to Australia.

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Kate's Italian tips:

1. WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN ITALY?

I know it sounds cliché but Anghiari, Tuscany. It feels like home.

2. WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO STAY WHEN VISITING THE BUSATTI FAMILY?

We are privileged to stay mostly with the family when we visit but two of the Busatti sons, Livio and Stefano, rent some apartments in the village which are beautiful.

3. IS THERE A RESTAURANT THAT YOU WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND IN ANGHIARI?

In winter I can’t go past the Zuppa di Farro from Cantina del Granduca. Everything is exceptional here.

4. IS THERE SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO IN THE SUMMER?

In summer, sitting in the main square at Café Garibaldi sipping on an aperol spritz.

5. IF SOMEONE HAS A FASCINATION WITH BEAUTIFUL LINEN, WHERE IN ITALY WOULD YOU SUGGEST THEY GO?

You can’t really beat the Busatti mill for a linen enthusiast. You can see the looms still operating in the same 16th century workrooms where the company began in 1842. After admiring the rooms stacked high with bolt after bolt of exquisite linens, ask for a tour and someone will be found to take you down into the bowels of the beautiful old building to see the shuttle looms hard at work.

6. IF YOU WERE TO GIVE A GIFT OF BUSATTI, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR GIFT OF CHOICE?

I think the linen towels with their hand knotted tassels or delicate hemstitching make a beautiful gift but I personally love to give a cushion – risky I know but they have such character with the various Florentine trims, antique buttons, contrast piping and hand finished details we add, so much thought, care and beauty and I love the challenge of pairing them with different personalities.

7. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BUSATTI PATTERN?

Giglio – it is a timeless classic, the damask design dates back to the 1800’s and I have seen it used by the likes of Iain Halliday in a very contemporary setting and Thomas Hamel in a very classic interior. The palette is soft and a little bit dirty. Last month it dressed the table of Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin in an honorary dinner for Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia since 1988. It transcends style, the very definition of a classic.

8. WHEN IT COMES TO STYLING YOUR HOME ARE THERE ANY GREAT DESIGNERS THAT YOU LOVE TO USE (OTHER THAN BUSATTI OF COURSE)?

I love the pared back aesthetic of Georgio Armani and the elaborately ornate Salvatore Ferragamo. Muiccia Prada is another timeless Italian style icon. Busatti has worked with all of these designers over the years.

1 Comments
Posted in 'Business' on Wednesday 23rd April 2014

About Carla Coulson

  • I was born in Sydney and grew up in the NSW countryside.
  • Had a mid life crisis at 35 and left my Sydney business and life to go searching for something that made my heart sing.
  • Fell MADLY in love with Italy and photography and stayed in Florence to study photography.
  • Moved into a big house in Florence with a wonderful women named Popi, learnt to cook and take photos at the same time.
  • Fell MADLY in love with Francesco, a gorgeous Pugliese architect who I was introduced to through friends.
  • Had my first photo story on Naples published in Marie Claire at the end of the year at photography school. Very excited!
  • A couple of years later the gorgeous folk at Penguin published Italian Joy, a memoir of Italy, changing my life.
  • Francesco (then boyfriend) came home with the news he wanted to move to France.
  • Francesco and I have lived and worked in Paris since 2005. We were married in 2010.
  • I talk about my love for photography on my blog Carla Loves Photography.
  • 2013 Penguin published Naples a Way of Love, a collaboration with writer Lisa Clifford.

Carla Coulson - photographer

'I went home and said it's Friday night, I'll call all of my girlfriends and we will go out. I called everybody, no one answered the phone so I thought, 'oh well I'll go home and get Thai take away, like I had so many nights before'. When I picked up my dinner I discovered I had won, they gave me a Christmas present, 'winner of the year' because I had eaten more Thai take away than anyone else in Darlinghurst... I was absolutely mortified.'

Carla

The Carla Coulson we know, a household name in the photography world, is adventurous, spirited and brave. She captures the soul of a place through her visual portrayal of the people and their environment. Truly talented, truly admired. So for me it is a shock to discover that Carla’s path has not always been a happy one, tortured by loneliness and self-doubt.

Growing up, Carla moved around a great deal. Her father was a bank manager with a country posting which meant a move every four years. As a child this was not a problem, however it had devastating repercussions as a teenager. In fact it had a huge impact on the next 20 years of her life.

Carla: “Well, when you are 16 you really depend on all your peers, so when you have that taken away you sort of lose your footing. I had moved that many times so as a teenager I wasn’t really interested in making a new group of friends. I just got lost. I was so hurt by the last move that I didn’t make any effort with people anymore. It wasn’t a nice period of my life, it was difficult.”

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Carla's Italian tips:

1. FOR A FIRST TIME TRAVELLER TO NAPLES - WHAT 5 THINGS WOULD YOU SUGGEST THEY DO?

A) The historical centre of Naples is so rich; this would be my first stop… Walk down the street known as 'Spaccanpaoli' that runs through the centre of Naples. Also stroll down Via Tribunale, Via San Biagio dei Librai and Via Benedetto Croce.
B) The beautiful Monastero and Chiostro di Santa Chiara is an oasis in the middle of Naples.
C) I adore 'Cristo Vellato' (veiled Christ) in the Cappella di San Severo.
D) Visit the 'Quartiere Spagnoli’, the Spanish Quarter, and the morning market along Via Pignasecca.

2. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE AREA OF NAPLES THAT YOU ALWAYS REVISIT?

I love the Quartiere Spagnoli, I love all the little corner markets, the narrow streets, and the buzz that is daily life here. The markets along Via Pignasecca is probably my favourite Italian market.

3. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE RESTAURANT IN NAPLES?

I adore the guys and the food at La Taverna del Buongustaio (near the Pignasecca market). Great friendly service, local cuisine and lots of locals. Oh and you must try pizza as Naples is its home… Sorbillo is great as is Pizzeria Da Michele (they only make 2 kinds but the pizza base tastes like nothing else I have ever tried).

4. ARE THERE SOME PARTICULAR DELICACIES THAT PEOPLE MUST TRY IN NAPLES? WHERE WOULD YOU INDULGE?

It's impossible to not start the day in Naples without a coffee and a sfogliatella (a pastry filled with ricotta, cinnamon and orange rind). It's a toss up between that and the riccia e frolla!

Try breakfast at Scarturchio Patisserie and Café. Attanasio, located near the train station, is an institution for sfogliatella where they are made all day and served straight out of the oven.

5. NAPLES BEING RENOWNED FOR CREATIVITY AND CRAFTSMANSHIP, CAN YOU SUGGEST A GREAT SHOPPING EXPERIENCE?

Naples is renowned for its fine crafted menswear so your husband or boyfriend is going to love shopping here! Via Filangeri was voted one of the most elegant streets in Italy and is a wonderful contrast to the chaos of the historical centre.

6. CAN YOU SUGGEST ANY GREAT PLACES TO STAY?

I love staying in the apartments at Napoli Suites. They are located in a restored palace just off Piazza Gesu Nuovo in the heart of Naples. Wonderful.

7. IF YOU WERE TO ESCAPE NAPLES FOR A ROMANTIC FEW DAYS WITH YOUR HUSBAND, WHERE WOULD BE YOUR IDEAL PLACE TO GO?

I gave my heart over to the Amalfi Coast years ago so it's hard to visit Naples without scooting over to Positano. I adore renting a little boat and sailing between the beaches from Positano to Vietri… Heaven! I have always stayed at the budget Pensione Maria Luisa (I like it's honesty) and asked for the 'camera con vista" rooms with a view, that way you can sit on your balcony and see all the way down the coast. It might also be fun to stay at the glamorous Le Sireneuse for a change.

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Posted in 'Photographers' on Monday 10th March 2014

Wanda Jelmini - of Missoni Home, Milan

'Working in a family business can sometimes be problematic because heads and hearts from one person to the next are really different. I'm so emotional and I'm always tending to say the truth, even if it is not so nice, so I guess I can be a bit embarrassing for the family. Sometimes it would have been rather nice for me to shut up. Now at age 53, I try not to say exactly everything I want to say, unless I think it's useful. I have learned to be a little more diplomatic.'

Wanda Jelmini, niece to matriarch of the Missoni brand – Rosita Missoni, sits before me elegantly dressed in an oyster silver silk shirt, expertly matching cotton pants and an iconically patterned blue/purple-paletted Missoni vest. She is regal, yet warm. She is the type of person that expresses herself with her whole body; her eyes, her hands and the way she moves. Her sun-kissed curls highlight an enormous pair of golden earrings in the shape of a lock and key. They are fascinating. She is fascinating.

For the next hour or so Wanda shares with me a little of her world - a world of privilege, a world of glamour, a world of incredible creative talent - the world of the Missoni family.

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Wanda's Italian tips:

1. WHAT IS THE MOST ROMANTIC THING TO DO IN MILAN?

Firstly, I must say that in order to have a romantic experience it is necessary to have a lover!!! And then, the most romantic thing would be to do the 'aperitivo' experience in the Piazza del Duomo, I would say at the rooftop restaurant in La Rinascente. Afterwards, go to La Scala the original building for a ballet (not opera) and a late dinner close-by at Il Marchesino.

2. OTHER THAN MISSONI OF COURSE, WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE BOUTIQUE FOR SHOPPING IN MILAN?

La Vetrina di Beryl shoe boutique in Via Palestro. I'm a shoe-addict! Also 4uattro in Via Visconti di Modrone. I have a friend who has her own atelier and boutique with really lovely things.

3. IS THERE AN UP AND COMING MILANESE DESIGNER WHO WE SHOULD ALL BE WATCHING?

Cannot really say of any designers but some artists/artisans... Gennaro Avallone you cannot miss, he works with metal, Daniele Papuli another one to go and see, working with paper crafts, and my great friend Lacopo Foggini, working with plastics.

4. WHEN YOU HAVE VISITORS COMING TO MILAN, WHAT HOTEL DO YOU RECOMMEND THEY STAY AT?

My suggestion for a spectacular experience is to leave Milan altogether and go up to the lakes: Grand Hotel Et Des Iles Borromee on lake Maggiore, Villa Crespi on lake d'Orta or then Villa d'Este on lake Como. Otherwise in Milan there is The Gray.

5. FOR A TRUE MILANESE EXPERIENCE, WHERE WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO DINE?

Trattoria Della Pesa, nothing more Milanese than that! It's very old but always impeccable food!
Traditional Milanese cuisine worth a try:
• risotto alla Milanese with ossobuco and risotto al salto
• caseula con polenta
• orecchio di elefante cotoletta alla Milanese
• a sweet/dessert is the wonderful Zabaione... Mamma Mia!!!! Just delicious.

6. MILAN IS KNOWN AS THE DESIGN MECCA OF EUROPE, WHAT IS ONE DESIGN EVENT ON THE CALENDAR THAT YOU REALLY SHOULDN'T MISS?

Salone del Mobile!!! (Milan Furniture Fair). Milan takes on a different life and flair in these 8 days - sparkling with design, art, architecture and culture everywhere in town, day, evening and night. Anyone can enjoy, not only professionals or trade visitors.

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Posted in 'Designers' on Sunday 23rd February 2014

Linda Rodin - New York fashion stylist and founder of beauty range Olio Lusso

'''I'm very fussy about what products I use and I love mixing things together. I'll buy a perfume and mix it with another. I'll combine two different nail polish colours to create the perfect hue and I'll buy a handbag and change the handle. I like to do everything custom.'''

As the door opens I am greeted by a petite, stylish woman in dark glasses. “What do you think of the black lace over stripes? I really do think it works, I am obsessed with combining lace and stripes.” From the moment I meet Linda Rodin it’s obvious to me that she is a genius at reinterpretation. She is the twist. She finds combinations and angles that, quite frankly, most of us would never think could work. As I glance around her eclectic apartment the evidence is everywhere – her wardrobe that doubles as a fold away work desk, the rose pillows on her bed that have been dyed the perfect shade of blue and her clothes that hang strategically to work like a piece of art.

“I’m very fussy about what products I use and I love mixing things together. I’ll buy a perfume and mix it with another. I’ll combine two different nail polish colours to create the perfect hue and I’ll buy a handbag and change the handle. I like to do everything custom.”

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Posted in 'Beauty' on Friday 14th February 2014

About Ori Kafri

  • I was born in Florence 36 years ago, but my family is originally from Israel.
  • I lived in New York for a year, and soon after returning to Florence, I got my masters in Hospitality Management.
  • In 2003, I opened my first hotel in Florence, J.K.Place; J. K. are my father’s initials.
  • I met my wife almost four years ago and we got married last year in Montevideo, Uruguay. We now have a six-month-old son, Jay Jacob.
  • In 2005, I also started a publishing\editorial business and now we have 3 magazines; Firenze, Capri and Venice city\social magazines.
  • In 2007, we opened J.K.Place in Capri and a few months ago we opened J.K.Place in Rome.
  • We love Florence and enjoy every single day here in Tuscany. Our dream is to one day open a hotel in California.

Ori Kafri - J.K.Place Hotelier

'I love travelling and meeting interesting people. When you go to a restaurant it's not just about the food; it's about the chef; it's about the maitre d'; it's about the people that you interact with. To have all these incredible experiences you need to do a lot of travelling, or... you open a hotel.'

About Ori

When you spend so much time travelling; staying at different hotels; eating at different restaurants and meeting different people, with the distance of time, it often becomes hard to differentiate one experience from another. That’s not to say that many of these experiences haven’t been incredible. Last year however, when in Florence, Julie and I were lucky enough to meet an avant garde hotelier; a creative thinker, by the name of Ori Kafri. With somewhat of a cult following, Ori’s unique approach to hoteliering has resonated with millions of people around the world, including us. Ori Kafri is the founder of J.K.Place, a boutique hotel network that is shaking up the hospitality industry.

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Ori's Italian tips:

1. CAN YOU SUGGEST SOME CONTEMPORARY FLORENTINE ART GALLERIES THAT PEOPLE SHOULD VISIT?

GUCCI and FERRAGAMO Museum are interesting and a nice link between fashion and art.

2. WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN FLORENCE FOR A ROMANTIC DINNER?

Florence is Romantic by definition… I would say that Borgo San Jacopo (at the Hotel Lungarno, owned by the Ferragamo family). It has a small terrace on the water, only one table… very romantic!

3. IF GUESTS ARE LOOKING FOR 'ONE OFF' EXPERIENCES THAT THE GUIDEBOOKS DON'T OFFER – CAN YOU SUGGEST A CONCIERGE STYLE SERVICE THAT MAY BE ABLE TO ASSIST?

Bravo! Concierge is a company that provide unique experiences in Florence. The private visit to the Uffizi on a Monday (the day that the museum is closed to the public) is something extraordinary.

4. WHEN IN CAPRI, WHAT RESTAURANT DO YOU ALWAYS RETURN TO?

I always return to Aurora.

5. HOW WOULD YOU SPEND THE PERFECT DAY IN CAPRI?

Take a boat and stop at Fontelina for a swim and lunch, then a drink at Il Riccio to enjoy the sunset… return to J.K. to get ready to go to Aurora for dinner and Anema & Core to dance on the tables after midnight.

6. ARE THERE ANY FAMOUS PRODUCTS MADE IN CAPRI THAT GUESTS TO YOUR HOTEL LOVE TREATING THEMSELVES TO?

Carthusia and 100% Capri are the most popular “Made in Capri”. Obviously you have the sandals too.

7. WHAT ARE THE MOST PERFECT PLACES TO STAY IN FLORENCE, CAPRI AND ROME?

J.K.Place

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Posted in 'Travel' on Tuesday 14th January 2014