Thursday, 17 September 2015

Wuthering Heights: a violent, unmissable love story

The Fashion Talk

Today I thought I would post something not necessarily related to fashion, but something that I still wouldn't dare say not related at all. When I was in London for my fashion journalism course indeed my teacher told me these sacred words: fashion is not only clothes, it is culture and travel and creativity. I wrote it down on my notebook, fairly I'm still wondering if it was my inner conscience or his actual voice because that's in a nutshell my chief belief and life motto.
When I say culture, the first thing that comes to my mind is reading, which I consider the main remedy to every mood swing or to any uncomfortable emotion. Reading is always how we learn, more than in school and more than at work, because books teach us how to value our ideas and how to think critically. What is that to be called, if not the most important quality to be a virtuous and reasoning human being?
I am a big fan of the English Literature of the 19th century and there's honestly not a precise reason for that: I think it's just pristine and magnificent, still so natural and effortless, pure and uncontaminated by the greedy and fast-forward, commercialized society of nowadays. I love it, I just love it and can't help reading anything that I bump into from the English Romanticism to the Decadentism (Wild is such a remarkable artist for instance).
What kind of sucker for English Lit hasn't read Wuthering Heights before she turned eighteen? (raises a hand shyly and really embarrassed).
Well, that's it: I had never read what I now confidently want to refer to as "THE masterpiece. I don't really know how I never came across it and I don't want to blame myself too much because I had obviously heard of it, but never dived into it. That was mostly because I was expecting one of those romantic Austen kind of novels that I know so well and that I consequently don't HAVE to read, since I've done so much of that kind of reading (I think I read all Jane Austen's books, I'm pretty addicted).
I couldn't have been more wrong: Wuthering heights is different.
It's powerful, dangerous, cruel and crude, unbelievably harsh and unexpected. It's not just a love story; the general plot you hear is "Catherine loves Heathcliff and Heathcliff loves Catherine", but there's way more than that. Love is seen as an overly strong passion, as a mind blowing and destructive explosion of negative and bleak feelings.
Their love is not pure, it's not pristine, it's just not dim or sweet... it's out of the ordinary, trenchant and scorching, it's a story of hate and revenge. And, trust me, the continuous description of the sublime but still suggestive moorish scenery does not help. I kept shivering for simply how strong this book it. I read this book in a gulp, and then I was so pleasantly yet shockingly striked by it that I read it again, because I think to get the depth of such a masterpiece you can't just read it once.

"My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff’s miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it.—My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being. So don’t talk of our separation again: it is impracticable".

This scornful and frantic words are confessed to the housekeeper Nelly by Catherine in confidence and in the name of a dated affection, but Heathcliff's words on his love are even more full of rage and desperation:

“Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living. You said I killed you--haunt me then. The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe--I know that ghosts have wandered the earth. Be with me always--take any form--drive me mad. Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!” 

And this terribly painful and ravishing, pitiable love is so strong that ends up leading to madness. Pathos and Thanatos are just unbelievably close in this passional book:

Her presence was with me: it remained while I re-filled the grave, and led me home. You may laugh, if you will; but I was sure I should see her there. I was sure she was with me, and I could not help talking to her. Having reached the Heights, I rushed eagerly to the door. It was fastened; and, I remember, that accursed Earnshaw and my wife opposed my entrance. I remember stopping to kick the breath out of him, and then hurrying upstairs, to my room and hers. I looked round impatiently—I felt her by me—I could almost see her, and yet I could not! I ought to have sweat blood then, from the anguish of my yearning—from the fervour of my supplications to have but one glimpse! I had not one. She showed herself, as she often was in life, a devil to me! And, since then, sometimes more and sometimes less, I’ve been the sport of that intolerable torture! Infernal! keeping my nerves at such a stretch that, if they had not resembled catgut, they would long ago have relaxed to the feebleness of Linton’s. When I sat in the house with Hareton, it seemed that on going out I should meet her; when I walked on the moors I should meet her coming in. When I went from home I hastened to return; she must be somewhere at the Heights, I was certain! And when I slept in her chamber—I was beaten out of that. I couldn’t lie there; for the moment I closed my eyes, she was either outside the window, or sliding back the panels, or entering the room, or even resting her darling head on the same pillow as she did when a child; and I must open my lids to see. And so I opened and closed them a hundred times a night—to be always disappointed! It racked me! I’ve often groaned aloud, till that old rascal Joseph no doubt believed that my conscience was playing the fiend inside of me. Now, since I’ve seen her, I’m pacified—a little. It was a strange way of killing: not by inches, but by fractions of hairbreadths, to beguile me with the spectre of a hope through eighteen years!

Hands down this is an unmissable masterpiece of literature, so powerful yet so passionate, so violent but deep... the book that should be in everyone's heart.
Have a good evening everyone,

Books addicted (Camilla) 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015


The Fashion Talk

This summer I spent most of my time on an airplane or in my car, which sounds pretty exciting if you are a travelling lover like me or if you think that spare time is actually only aimed to go and see for yourself what's out there. Or you may be one of those less curious couch potatoes that love a good lie down session on their sofas... either way, I hope you can agree with me when I say that reading is the best companion for boredom and excitement. Reading indeed is not meant for a particular mood. It's for everyone and for everything and that's why I love it so much.
This summer I read a lot of books, from some good old English literature with Dickens and Austen (I'm such a sucker for those) to some complicated essay on Islam religion to fashion biographies and magazines of all kinds. Quite diverse, uh? But again, that's what I love so much about reading, that you can just find books in all shapes and colors and pretty much about any topic you want.
One of the books that I enjoyed the most, as far as fashion's concerned, was Christian Dior's biography, the VogueOn Edition, which I strognly suggest to anyone with an interest in getting a culture in the fashion world or simply curious to know more about a designer that changed the world with its creations. At the end of the day we all know that Christian Dior is a massive icon in the society of the fifties but also still today in fashion runways and high couture.

They say designers are born to be so and effectively Christian is worth the compliment, since he never studied anything regarding fashion... to be fair, he never cared at all about fashion either. Christian was a french overly shy and puffed teen who didn't love to make friends and spent a lot of time with his family, filled with entrepreneurial spirit and business-minded people. Christian was different and, as he himself said, his awkward looks never helped.
Since his first step into the adult world, when he was still a teenager, he showed a great passion for art and paintings. His dad severely insisted he would study Politics, but Christian's artistic spirit made him quit. When he was in in his twenties, Dior started to make acquaintance with a group of musicians, writers and composers of the time. By the time Dior was in his mid-twenties, being a painter seemed his chosen and assured career.  His dad helped him open a modern art gallery in Paris, after his son had promised the name of the family would never appear on the gallery's door.
All seemed to be going well, until in 1930 superstitious Christian accidentally drops a mirror; this action was perceived by Christian as a most unfortunate event. Indeed a bleaker period starts for the young artist: his mum and brother died, his sister was momentarily in jail, a big economical crisis and general depression spread through Paris, the luxurious capital of France. All fashion and well living ideals are overturned. France drops in probably one of the darkest periods in its history.
Dior had to close his gallery, his dream seemed to slowly fade away.
And that's when fate made him a designer: one day a friend of his told him that an old maison in Paris, the couture house of Philippe and Gaston, was looking for a stylist to help modernize and revitalize their house. Dior declined. Later in the day he happened to meet his friend again and they randomly encountered again a few days later. Dior was too superstitious to decline again, he thought it was his calling. And that's how he started his shimmering career with the now so famous "New Look". Superstition pushed him to start, and maybe hope to earn some money as well... but certainly at first passion did not encourage him at all.

This book taught me something: in art, intuition and talent are the key, you can't really learn how to do it, but you can improve or learn how to stand out, how to use your inborn abilities.
Christian Dior was a painter and he probably never thought he would become such an icon in fashion, but he did.
I'd suggest anyone with a vague interest in fashion or art to read his inspiring biography and be as amazed as I was by the elegance and originality of such innovative creations by someone who never even had an introduction in the fashion industry.
To draw my conclusion, don't give up: if you are a student, a lawyer, a housewife, a whatsoever... wait for it, in a couple years you could be the next Dior.

As cheesy as it sounds,
Never say never,

Tuesday, 1 September 2015


The Fashion Talk

Yesterday I was reading Italian Vogue and I bumped into this new Christopher Kane's collection that shocked me at first and then made me realize that it actually looked dazzling. 
I've always loved Christopher Kane for his utterly original voice. His looks are aways bold and most of the times described as sexy, but this time they were definitely more than that: sexual is the right word. The totally original work of Christopher Kane aimed to highlighten the human carnal desire through explicit images and lacy lady-like ruffles.

According to the show notes, the dynamic zigzag that bifurcated a sheer lace dress represented the current of an electric orgasm. The last pieces were made of whole panels of Swiss Lace depicting tangles of nudes, of men and women caressing and embracing each other. The same writhing figures were traced in glitter on a sheer tulle dress that, in silhouette at least, was otherwise as high-necked-and-below-the-knee proper as any church dress.

When I first saw the last out-of-the-ordinary dresses, they reminded me of fascinating canvas that you could see in an art exhibition, because that is the kind of runway masterpiece that you wouldn't want to see on the streets. At first, I thought it was utterly beautiful and my eyes beamed with joy, because sometimes sexuality is just fascinating. Those soft curves on the sensual lace, the clever contrast between the length of the dress and the explicit images depicted on it, the warm colors on the back ground and the colder colors of men and women... there was a lot to admire. But then, after my first idealization of Christopher Kane, I faced up to reality and realised that I was not looking at a painting. I was looking at a dress, at something that's made to be seen on people, of something that is theoretically an utilitarian work. I can't always be positive or objective about fashion, so I'll be honest: I thought that was too much. But then I couldn't stop to admire how interesting it was to look at such innovative pieces of art. 
What I started to feel towards the collection became a bit controversial.
I always say that fashion is art, but to be more precise I'd have to say that part of it is. In fact fashion can be seen in different ways: if I was asked what I'd choose for a night out with my friends between a sweeping grand Dior multicolor dress or a Top Shop outfit, chances are I would choose the latter. Now, I know this is quite a confession, but I'm not ashamed to say it and to be honest I think most of you could easily relate. When I say I love fashion, the majority of my friends imagine me being a frivolous and silly mean girls kind of shopping freak with no brains... actually, to be fair I am all but a trend addicted. To me fashion is beautiful and it's a thunderstorm of feelings and a bursting explosion of colors and materials and curves and cuts and culture. Fashion is art, like the one you see in an art gallery and nothing less than that.
When I say I want to be a journalist, I don't mean showing my outfit of the day or telling people what to wear according to the last trends in LA, I mean writing about new collection, about culture, about lifestyle... I mean Vogue, I mean Porter, I mean all of those wonderful magazines opening up about the real passion and clever minds hidden behind every single garment. 
Going shopping and dressing well or constantly trying to catch up with new trends don't do for me, but that deserves to be called "fashion" too, only it's a different kind. Catwalks are to be looked at, ready-to-wear is to be literally worn.
And I honestly reckon that we must keep that in mind when we judge a dress or an outfit we see on a runway... most of the times it's something that we wouldn't wear, but so what? It looks gorgeous anyway, it's art walking down the runway, it's a walking painting, it is an explosion of feelings and personal touch and beauty. I love it, I really love it. 
And that's how controversial fashion can be: it's something on the streets, but the whole opposite on the runways, and just like that we humans are simple and comfort-seeking on a daily routine, but hoping to feel amazed and astonished while we watch a catwalk. 
New, shocking, different: again, that's what a greedy societies really wants.


Monday, 17 August 2015

FASHION TRENDS: Animalier excess

The Fashion Talk

Fashion goes in a circle and trends keep coming back and then fading away at the speed of light. 
In the 80's, years of rebellious behaviours and revolutionary desires, the animal print is a big part of fashion, with its reckless audacity. 
After a time where elegance and femininity are the key, in the 70s and 80s a bleaker period for fashion starts: all the ideals of sense of fashion are suddenly overturned. Women start to highlighten their  curves with tight leggings and mini dresses, men get crazy with fancy suits and jackets all printed in animal patterns... that is the chief novelty, THAT is what the youth want, desperately trying to seek more attention than ever with their bold style. And animal prints are apparently bold enough: it can be snake, tiger, leopard... the crazier and more over the top, the better.
And now more than ever in fashion we find ourselves in front of a big battle: bon ton/sixtish feminine 
vs hippie/showoff. 

In 2015 flared trousers come back to life for high couture designers, especially in the mix-and-match version and preferably in leopard or tiger print. If you are that kind of person who loves to seek attention with his outfits, then this is the year for you. 

Indeed next to a more elegant, good-girlish look, a more hippyish and brave one gets a lot of positive feedback in the fashion industry. Prints can be put together in the craziest ways: spots, leopard, stripes, pois... over-the-top is amazing, it looks good in fashion magazines and high fashion runways. Especially leopard prints are coming back, flared trousers with a pair of thick wedges and a tweed coat. 
The absurd love for that out-of-the-standards mix and match culture comes from the 90s at its most extreme boldness, but since high-fashion does not always necessarily look good on the streets or in an average shop, then you can simply soften the whole jungle look with a touch of elegance. 
Since the 60s are always nice to be seen in the fashion industry, even and overall nowadays, a leopard pronted bon ton little dress with a tweed coat, striped if you feel brave enough, can look absolutely great and up to date with the constantly evolving trends and fashion tastes. 
Why not? Leopard, spots, stripes, no rule, all fantasy: sounds perfect, doesn't it?


Saturday, 15 August 2015

FASHION TRENDS: An ultra feminine comeback

The Fashion Talk

"Pink was always underrated, but fashion is smarter than people... we can't help it, what looks good will be back on trend": talking to my fashion expert grandmother, who's worked for Prada, DKNY and Calvin Klein for more than twenty years, is a continuous surprise. Last week I was in Moscow, wandering in complete awe though the corridors of a Russian high-fashion shopping centre, when Prada's glamorous shop window caught my attention. An extremely bright and sweetly elegant bunch of clothes left me absolutely speechless for its femininity, which is not the main thing you expect to see in Prada's collections.
Everything was pink, from leather small bags with simple handles, as the last trends suggest, and arm-long silky gloves to exquisite mini dresses inspired by the 70s risky and edgy look.
Mischievous bon ton and a not-too-elegant or cutesy look is selling itself really well on runways and high-fashion shops'  windows. Two months ago I had read on vogue about a comeback of pink, but it took a while to actually start seeing it on models, magazines and street fashion. This morning I found myself happily diving myself into the September issue of ELLE magazine, one of my favourites for the joyous variety of articles and the quantity of arty images: the whole issue is literally filled up with pink... pink bags, pink accessories, pink coats, pink furs, pink whatever. To me, a comeback of such a controversial hue is quite exciting, edgy and risky: we've been swaying through a period of fashion where women are likely to dress in a more androgynous way, with tight jeans and sporty shoes, or else to show off more vulgar looks with the revolutionary hot pants and crop tops. It's thrilling to imagine (or even hope) that things could go back to a more "sixtyish" look.
As positive as I can be about a dainty, twee revolution, I must say that pink is not an easy colour to wear: it can look overly girly and too feminine for our judgemental society, especially if we imagine women actually going out wearing brighter shades of an already bright colour. A mostly pink outfit can be considered controversial: a feeble shade may look overly soft and tender, whilst a bright one recalls too much of the ideal of the silly teenager too caring for make-up and gossip. Right. Remember how many movies like that we girls watched? Mean girls, for example? Depend upon it, the general hate towards a slightly more feminine colours comes from our culture: remember the mythical Sharpey Evans from High School Musical? Remember how she walked down the school's aisle with that confident and rather odious smile, wearing pink shirts or pink trousers and pink hair bands and ties? I do. And suddenly pink becomes a symbol of too much ridiculous femininity.
Nowadays, women have a lot of power. They study, they work, they run around with kids and a starbucks coffe and their laptop... always working, always thinking, always multitasking without even realising how much the ideal of woman has changed. This is not either wrong or right, it's simply a fact: we really have changed. And that's why I think sometimes it's nice to see a little bit of girlish dainty outfits out there: as much as women look lovely with sweat pants and trainers, they do look quite appealing with a pair of heels and a dress.
So, conclusion is: embrace the trend, be reckless and wear pink. A gentle touch of such a feminine colours can soften a more aggressive look. As usual, balance is the key in fashion.

Dior, 2015
Prada, 2015

Prada, 2015
Prada, 2015

Have a good day everyone,

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Fashion in gorgeous Moscow

The Fashion Talk

Elegant, charming, spacious and beautiful. If I was asked to describe Moscow with a couple words, these are the only ones I would use. Hands down, the Russian capital was one of the most fascinating cities I've ever visited. Apart from alluring landmarks and that habitual sightseeing that good tourists are always supposed to do, I mostly got excited for life and fashion in the streets. What I loved about Moscow were all of those things that you don't get to learn in schools, those things that academic books won't tell you of.
Cafes, restaurants and both traditional and international shops scattered in airy beautiful streets all around the city make it even more pleasant and walking around elegant and historic metro stations is priceless. The culture, I've always thought, is the most fascinating and interesting thing you can ever hope to learn of a population.
As an aspirant journalist, I've always found it enticing and fascinating to just sit down for a while and look at the constant flow of people in the street. I's wonderful to see everyone in a different mood, walking with a different pace or wearing something that catches your eye. 
By looking at people, what I understood about Russian fashion is that Russian women don't joke around: they dress up, constantly. Even if it's just for a coffe, you'll see those beautiful tall women elegantly walk down the streets with stilettos and a dress, with a pair of tight leather jeans and a silk blouse... no matter what's the occasione, Russian fashion is shimmering, elegant and brave. High fashion and garments are courageously worn on the streets so casually that you feel like they're wearing a tracksuit. Frankly, I had never seen such elegance clothing-wide in any other city.
Plus, you can't walk even forty meters before you see a Trussardi or Bulgari shop. I once decided to go in a shopping centre... I think I had never seen such expensive brands all together in one floor: Pucci, Prada, Versace, Gucci and so on. The funny thing, a lot of people were there to buy and the lowest price I found was probably around two thousand euros for a summery little dress. That was the  equivalent of a Chinese market shirt for me, I guess. 

In a city that would continuously impress me as I was walking down some of the major streets of Moscow, a window in particular caught my attention. I saw a fairytale-kind dress, with a sweeping long skirt and and a fitted bodice... I fell in love, since I've always been a big fan of feminine and elegant dresses, and even a little edgy and lavish sometimes is not bad to look at. The fashion house is called Igor Gulyaev, I had never heard of him before but his fashion house opened recently, in 2009 and inside the shop I was told that it was the fur that made the brand so successful in his first collection. The elegance of his last one especially is breathtaking, every dress is created with attentive care to search the perfect materials and his clothes really bring us back to a time where women were celebrated for their soft features and curves, to that time between the forties and fifties, to the New Look, when fashion for women was all about dresses. Have a look at the link, I think I fell in love like I have rarely before with this designer's peculiar style.

Loved Moscow, loved its fashion, loved Igor most of all :D
Have a good day everyone,


Monday, 3 August 2015

An innovative catwalk

The Fashion Talk

"You don't learn style from watching people on a runway. Fashion happens every morning when you wake up" wise and beautiful Alessandra Ambrosio states during an interview. I couldn't agree more: fashion is everything, from culture to art to lifestyle... and yes, it happens every minute of our lives. Actually, it IS in everything and every second of our lives.
But still, who doesn't love a good catwalk?
Flashing light, colourful clothes, annoying paparazzi and glamorous guests make the fahion world known for its classy runways, making every fashion lover's heart beat fast with thrill and excitement. But in the fashion industry it's hard to stand out: it's all about people and, depend upon it, people want and need innovative.
The world is growing fast, we live in a fast-forward world and must learn to appreciate it instead of passively criticize it: fashion is evolving with us, there's never only one trend, never one model of the year, never one designer everyone admires. As fashion should be, it's currently more than anytime before a reflection of society. Diversity and innovation is the key, you must be creative and catch the attention of the rich lady on the limo and of the man running down the street and late for work. And, trust me, impressing a constantly impressed world is quite a challenge.
A few days ago, as I kept idling wiping my finger down my Iphone screen checking facebook, I finally found something worthy of my real attention.
Russian designer Jana Nedzvetskaya spiced up her fashion show by catching the audience's attention with an unusual way to a catwalk.
Beautiful models literally dropped into the water with flowy, sweeping dresses looking ridiculously alluring underwater. What I loved the most was the way the models just dropped into the water and didn't  simply dive in. It was unexpected, it caught my interest and made me want to search something  more about that collection.
The fabrics looked absolutely ravishing underwater, bright colours gained a powerful lightness and the bodies of the models looked sinous and feminine while elegantly moving underwater.
Lesson for any designer: be new, do something no one's ever done before. Impress everyone. See your clothes in an intelligent way.