Archive for April, 2012
One of my favorite pieces of clothing, a constant companion right after I graduated college, was a vintage tailored tux jacket that I found in a thrift shop! Black silk with a shiny satin lapel – I adore how some men’s outfits look so sharp and elegant on a woman!
How I loved to wear this with a crisp white button up, a pair of dark blue jeans and but of course, black heels. I remember thinking, the only thing missing were an elegant pair of cuff links! Sure there are (and were) lots of beautiful vintage cuff links – but in my mind they were distinctly masculine – not a lot of room for the imagination to kick in.
Now 20 years later, I have found a pair that could easily work into a feminine outfit without taking anything away from the fact that they are a mans attire. A mix of polished and brushed stainless steel accented with a Swarovski Crystal from Nomination, a renowned Italian fashion Jewelry designer. If I only still had my jacket !
It’s not only the jacket that is missing . . . I think someone purposely hid it in the “trash” pile while I was sorting my closet . . . I even had the perfect shirt with the holes for bling. Again, I believe some sneaky sister pilfered this during my many trips abroad. Not that I didn’t get my fair share of “goods” out of their closet when they left them unattended.
Now that there are oceans dividing us . . . and at least 20 cm and 20 kg. . . its a lot harder to “acquire” something new. But jewelry is always a safe bet when we can, never need to worry about bust size, pant length or who is going to get the last slice of chocolate B-day cake with the butter cream icing because earrings, bracelets and necklaces don’t care about those things.
We are seeing it all over the fashion scene, the use of leather to accent clothes, handbags, and leather jackets and what’s more its the creative use of leather that is so much fun. Several designers have been showing a wide selection of bags and jackets and throwing in variations on the theme with elaborate corsets, harnesses and masks, a little beyond my comfort zone, but if you are looking at fashion it is hard to ignore.
Italian designers in particular have been playing with using leather and lace – well actually its more like lace made out of leather. Caterina Lucchi and Pierotucci have spiced up their collection with some lacy accents. In particular, a designer leather jacket created for the Spring / Summer 2012 collection which uses a leather lace trim reminiscent of the eyelet fabric with a 1950′s vintage inspired daisy design.
Usually the Italian cut in a jacket can be a bit demoralizing since they usually nip and tuck where an American, Brit or Aussie would rather insert a pleat or dart, however this particular jacket is cut true to size. You could even say it has a tendency to lean a bit more towards the ego stroking. A model at 5’7″ 160lb can easily fit into a size 46 leaving plenty of room for a cashmere sweater or tee underneath. What’s fun about this jacket is the simple cut is softened by a feminine touch of frill around the edges.
Also very noteworthy are the unique Caterina Lucchi handbags created by a designer straight out of the central part of Italy. One of her newest trends is leather totes and clutches with a mix and match of washed leather and varying leather lace designs. Her bags are normally large, bulky and ornate while always maintaining a feminine flair to them with pastel colors, tassels or in this case, a patchwork of lacy leather designs.
And as for the his, we are seeing lots of leather accents on the runways. Though we haven’t quite reached leather lace on the jackets, designers like YSL are showing wool and tweed jackets with contrasting leather sleeves, collars, edging and shoulder or yoke patterns. Especially noticable are the two tone jackets, where the sleeve is black or dark brown leather and the body of the jacket is in a softer, paler shade of woven material. However if we want to find the lace, there is a new look with Campomaggi where they are offering a stark contrast by adding some frills. They are using laser cut leather lattice (say that 10 times fast!) on their men’s totes. The rugged washed-leather body of the bag and the over sized metal accessories (all or which are traditional characteristics of Camomaggi) are offset with the two exterior pockets covered in leather lattice lace. I find it rather surprising that they have managed to add this touch without detracting from the distinctly masculine feel that distinguishes the Campomaggi style. Though perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised, Campomaggi has had an enormous success with their bags and this is just another example of offering the public not only a style that is out of the ordinary but also catering to those addicted to the trendy market and who require something new to ohhh and ahhh about.
The Pierotucci Italian Leather Factory proudly carries on the Florentine tradition of designing, assembling and selling handmade genuine Italian leather bags, jackets and accessories such as wallets, gloves and belts. They are based in Florence and surrounded by the beauty of the Chianti vineyards, the perfume of delicious food and a culture rich in art and craftsmanship.
April 25 in Italy is celebrated as the Festa della Liberazione – or rather the anniversary of the day Italy was “liberated” of the nazi-fascist occupation. This event was courageously fought for by persons of every age, creed and economic possibility uniting provinces and regions in the name and honor of their country.
When I first came to Italy, I must admit WWII was only a long list of dates and a series of cliff notes but upon my arrival 20 years ago the events of this traumatic moment in history were still very much present and on certain occasions I felt as if I was breathing history. My arrival in Italy was not to some large city like Milan, Rome or Florence – I was dumped in the countryside. The poetic, romantic and green countryside where by chance the partisans where particularly strong and where the foreign liberators were seen almost as saviors. Ignorant of the part the partisans played along with the United States and Great Britain in this liberation, it took just a few years of learning the language, meeting the people and being my naturally inquisitive self to discover the hardships, the reality, the togetherness and the drive which pulled an entire country through tragedy, massacres, political and religious persecution and horrors. Somehow things just came alive to me when I asked – why is that building riddled with holes and received the answer oh that was machine gun fire from the Nazis … yikes, you realize how not so far off things were.
So even though I am not an Italian citizen and though I am not one to dwell on the disasters of the past, I find that I celebrate this holiday all the same, not because it means a day off of work but because it means honoring people – of all nations – who believed in freedom and achieved it. I see it as a sign of respect for all of those persons who gave of themselves for something that they felt to be right and true.
Thank you! Thank you for your actions then, 67 years ago, and thank you for your actions today, to all those who still strive to uphold freedom.
and why should it? A luxury item like a designer Italian leather jacket should always be a perfect fit. Our experience in Florence and with our online shop is that each geographic location hosts distinct differences not just in styles and colors which are pleasing or hot – but also in fundamental body shapes. So though everyone may just adore a cut when seen on super model Vanessa Williams, the hard facts are that the cut is not suited for every body and nationality.
Our designer recognizes this fact and has taken our 2012 Leather Jacket Collection one step closer to satisfying you and you and you and even you! He evaluated the possibilities of new models by calculating how many in our leather jacket collection were for the petite cuts as well as the full figure or plus size – and he did this for both mens’ and womens’ designer jackets.
Its highly frustrating when searching out the “perfect” item, but always seeing it displayed on someone else’s “perfect” body shape and to answer this demand, he took our collection to the next level. The standard leather jacket sizes are always available – however they have been selected with styles which can accommodated everyone’s taste and size no matter how many inches more or less.
What’s the major difficulty that one runs into when fitting leather a jacket to a client? Well, most people have a size fixed in there mind (for example in the States I am size 12 however in Italy I average more like a 46 … OK sometimes its even a 48 … but if I were in Japan I’d be a 17). However, what is important to realize is that hand made leather jackets from Italy are cut and then assembled individually – its not a production line concept. What does this mean? – It means that it is more important that a potential shopper look at the cm or inch measurements next to the models then it is the standard sizes. These measurements on a leather jacket are much more accurate and will more likely assure the shopper of a perfect fit. When looking for perfection, have your body measurements handy and if possible, even the measurements of another jacket that fits you well. Thought not seen here another good measurement to have is right around the waist – going directly over the belly button, especially if you are looking for an hour glass shape to the jacket.
When buying your designer leather jacket on line, don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. You need to remember the photographer takes the photos to show the jacket at its best, but this doesn’t always mean that the shots show a jacket in all of its sizes. Ask them to send you a live shot of the jacket, so you can see a real person (and if possible have them match your body measurements) so you can get a “real” look at your new purchase.
If you send your height and body measurements, Pierotucci.com will find a similar model (in house of course) and then send you a photo of the jacket, so you can truly appreciate the end results and save lots of time and money by getting the best fit first time around.
In the end, its really not about making the jacket look good – but about making you look good in the jacket.
A man that has touched all of our lives, in fact so many times a phrase will be used in normal everyday conversation which can and should be credited to William Shakespeare. I remember studying his work while at college (it was a REQUIRED class but quickly became a DESIRED class.) By the end of the semester I was captivated by his incredible wit, his playfulness and extreme talent. And now today 23 April, many are celebrating his b-day and/or the anniversary of his death (both on the same day), so I thought I would just do a refresher course by searching out his name. I always find it amazing to discover how many of his scribbles have become one liners and have infiltrated our everyday conversation and culture … so many of them have become household words!!
Here are a few that I remember. Do you have anything to add to this list?
If music be the food of love, play on.
To be or not to be, that is the question
All the world’s a stage
For my part it was Greek to me, which of course we lazily say its all Greek to me
In fact just a little research pulled up this site: William Shakespeare . info
and I quote from their site (but please check them out because the full article is even more interesting):
William Shakespeare Quotes – Plagiarism!
… Other famous Shakespearean quotations such as “I’ll not budge an inch”, “We have seen better days” ,”A dish fit for the gods” are all used frequently and, almost as a parody, the expression it’s “Greek to me” is often used to describe a frustrated student’s view of Shakespeare’s work! Politicians dig deep into their pool of William Shakespeare quotes and quotations such as “Fair Play”, “Foregone Conclusion “, “One Fell Swoop”, and “Into Thin Air “. Furthermore, other Shakespearean quotes such as “to thine own self be true” have become widely spoken pearls of wisdom. So quotes from William Shakespeare have now become household words and sayings – and just to emphasise the point “household word” is also one of the Bard’s ‘anonymous’ quotations!
What a fun coincidence that we just put online a new piece from Nomination Italian Fashion Jewelry, a lovely romantic necklace that has a quote (in Italian, but of course) from on of his sonnets. The Sonnets, published in 1609, were the last of Shakespeare’s non-dramatic works to be printed. Scholars are not certain when each of the 154 sonnets was composed, but evidence suggests that Shakespeare wrote sonnets throughout his career for a private readership. This necklace has a sweet little heart with a Swarovski Crystal and a medallion with a lover’s quote:
Sonnet 24 by William Shakespeare
Mine eye hath play’d the painter and hath stell’d
Thy beauty’s form in table of my heart;
1) Thunderous looking clouds are pushing the sun out of the sky! Its always rather eiry when warm yellow sunlight penetrates through the heavy gray clouds. But let it rain, we won’t begrudge the water reservoir the pleasure of filling up, even if it does mean a possible weekend under the umbrella.
2) Working double time to get all the new products on line in time for our pre-Mother’s Day Sale. Managed to wriggle out a great discount on so many of our designer leather handbags . . . I am beginning to wonder if maybe M & M didn’t have a touch of a fever when they gave the go ahead ! Buy now before they make me change all the prices.
3) Yum, dinner is breaded lamb chops and fried artichokes – gees, when you are about to eat this well who cares if its raining outside. Looking forward to a gorgeous fire, a leisurely dinner, a glass (or three) of a robust Chianti and cuddling up on the couch with my favorite Italian Sweetie and a warm wool blanket for a romantic film, which half of us will sleep right through.
4) This month we have been flying through our stock of Italian leather jackets, looks like the 2012 collection is going to be a roaring success. I have been trying to entice my Sweetie to have a look and pick one out but I think he is waiting for me to surprise him. Won’t he be surprised when the jacket I bring home is for ME and not him.
5) FORZA VIOLA! It’s looking a bit desperate and I think we will need all the help we can get on the soccer field this Sunday. In fact, I have considered taking all the lucky charms off of our FORTUNATA BAGS and bringing them home just to tip the balance of the scales in our favor.
6) I am sitting here counting the minutes till break time so I can dig into this box of dark chocolate covered hazelnuts cookies that I saw at the supermarket this afternoon. I can’t believe I am actually hungry after the Girls Night Out yesterday with my ex-pat colleagues and an improvised Mexican Menu, who knew Chianti went so well with tacos and fajitas. And Bria, that Guacamole was … well, let’s just say I am without words.
It’s not often I am enthusiastic about special offers from my own place of work. I mean I understand it’s not an easy choice to put handcrafted items on sale for wooshing discounted prices. It’s especially difficult when you take into consideration the manual work that goes into selecting the leather, cutting, prepping, assembling, sewing and refining each and everyone of the handbags with a Pierotucci label. The detail seems endless and it is just natural that the producers want the price to reflect the exquisite quality of the handbag. However, it happens that M & M (the bosses) get soft hearts every once and a while . . . especially when we are talking about la Mamma (anyone who knows an Italian Male will understand that the Mother has a special place in their masculine hearts) SO - they has relented for a pre-Mother’s Day Sale.
Since they gave me free reign on choosing the leather handbags (another surprising relent on their part) I turned to my colleagues and we pulled out some of our favorite bags. Why are they favorites? For me it was the simplicity of the designs. I adore a bag that moves from morning to noon to evening without skipping a beat. I want a bag with that’s not bulky, so that doesn’t “weigh” me down. And I love color! I always find myself gravitating towards jeans (in dark blue), heels in black and I love dark blue shirts and sweaters . . . but there is an inner me just begging to express itself in some little way – YES! that’s it, a splash of color in the form of a genuine Italian leather handbag from Florence Italy.
Florence and the surrounding area is particularly well known in Italy for its long tradition in working gold into beautiful pieces of art. In fact, this art was advanced to its highest perfection by the Greeks and Etruscans from the 6th to the 3rd centuries BC. As a testament to this tradition , a number of earrings and other personal ornaments found in central Italy are well preserved in the Louvre and in the British Museum. Almost all of them are made of filigree work.
The filifree or as many cultures know it “filograno” is used in the production of gold and silver pieces. This particular technique consists of reducing the precious metal into fine wires to create a type of jewelry characterized by braiding and bending these threads to create delicate swirling, curving motifs. The patience and skill required to work these extremely thin threads is what contributes to the value of these unique designs.
Filigree (also less commonly spelt filagree, and formerly written filigrann or filigrene) often suggests lace, and in recent centuries remains popular in Indian and other Asian metalwork, and French from 1660 to the late 19th century. It should not be confused with ajoure jewellery work; while both have many open areas, filigree involves threads being soldered together to form an object and ajoure involves holes being punched, drilled, or cut through an existing piece of metal.
It is interesting to note the origins of this technique was historically considered part of the ordinary work of a jeweler, even though filigree has become a special branch of jewellery in modern times. A. Castellani states, in his “Memoir on the Jewellery of the Ancients” (1861), that except for items intended to follow the owners to the grave, the jewelry of the Etruscans (from central Italy) and Greeks was made by soldering together gold rather than by chiseling or engraving the material. Below is a gorgeous example of how the Etruscans solder together and decorated with fine gold threads. Click on photo for more details on where you can see this set of ear rings.
These pieces are more are on sale at Pierotucci.com where you will find an interesting and ever changing collection of handmade Italian crafted 18K gold rings, bracelets, pendants, necklaces and more.
Perhaps Braccialini from Italy is best know for its colorful and sometimes whacky (or whimsical) styles. Personally, I like the idea of adding a bit of comic relief to an outfit especially when I am going out with friends or being the average tourist, traveling the beautiful hotspots in Europe. This selection from Braccialini, which mixes purses, wallets and scarves with the delightful little Tweety bird immediately appealed to my playful side. Many don’t know but the name “Tweety” is a play on words between “sweetie” and “tweet,” and despite the fact that this little charmer is the mascot on the Braccialini selection womens’ handbag collection, even with those envious long lashes and high pitched voice, Tweety is actually a male!
This mini clutch has gold trim and all the typical Braccialini “bells and whistles,” I find it is a cute item to be toting around with its practical cross body strap. I particularly like the double zip for the many compartments where it is easy to keep all my goodies in their place (at least for a couple of hours!) I can stash my passport, credit cards, mad money, a cell phone (or camera) , lipstick, eyeliner, hotel key and business cards – what else would you possible want to put into this bag! It is lightweight and fits my description of adding a little bit of comical relief to an otherwise serious outfit.
A silk scarf is another fun element to add to any outfit, these 50 x 50 cm squares showing Tweety in a bed of roses looks great attached to a handbag, wrapped around your neck or spilling outside of your briefcase. The bright spring colors pink, yellow, blue and of course let’s not forget the flowers are just in time for Mother’s Day. The size is what I really like about this scarf, because it becomes literally a splash of color – and not something that I need to learn a bunch of intricate knots in order to wear
But I realize not everyone is as eager to publicly display their passion for little yellow birds or daring enough to announce the more playful side of their personality. These are the types of persons that secretly crave to have something fun with them all the time, but prefer that it would stay hidden inside their purse, and only come out on select occasions, like one of these nifty little wallets:
In any case Braccialini has an appeal that attracts all ages from young to old – nothing like mixing a little American playfulness like Tweety Bird with Italian quality!