Throwback Thursday: My Trip to Dublin For My High School Internship Abroad Program

St. Patrick's Day Parade part II.
Saint Patrick’s Day Parade dancers in orange – Courtesy of MF

In 2011 I had the amazing opportunity to take a two-week trip to Dublin as part of my language studies program. I had already been to Ireland when I was about thirteen years old for what was basically a summer educational course; I remember visiting Dublin’s Castle and Trinity College but 2011 was when I really had the chance to discover Dublin and its surroundings.

My classmates and I were studying at the Centre of English Studies; while I am bilingual in English and Italian, it was nonetheless a very interesting course because we were taking part in discussions about different topics and the classes were designed to make us think and express opinions on various matters. I have the best memories of those days in the city and it was like having a glimpse into adulthood, as for many of us it was the first time we were away from our families for what seemed an incredibly long time. We were accompanied by a couple of teachers from our school, but most of the time we were walking the city on our own (except during school hours) and had a lot of free time in the evenings.

When we first arrived I remember opening the wrong car door because I had completely forgotten that in Ireland and the UK they drive on the left, so it was quite hilarious! My roommate Carla and I had been assigned to a lovely family in the neighborhood of Artane, which is a very calm and residential area on the outskirts of the city; the neighborhood is served by various Dublin Bus routes, so it was easy for us to reach the city center, where the school is located.

River Liffey – Dublin, Ireland
Fitzsimons of Temple Bar
River Liffey, Dublin.
River Liffey at sunset – Taken with my old iPhone 3GS
O’ Connell Street

At first we were a bit intimidated by the city and decided we would never go out at night, but changed our minds on the second day because we managed to move around in groups. The lady at our house was very strict about curfew because I was still a minor, so the main rule was to get back by midnight, a rule we were breaking all the time because we always took the bus too late.

In my opinion, Dublin is one of the best European cities and there are so many places worth visiting; the city is home to many characteristic pubs even though they generally don’t allow minors to enter because of the drinking age law; the Temple Bar area is pretty amazing for taking pictures, as it is very Irish. Most of those pubs host soccer and rugby matches and Irish people like to get together to watch the games.

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Portrait of a Dog – Ambra

Close-up of Ambra

Before she came to live with my father and his partner, Ambra spent her first three years in a very small dog crate at a kennel near Naples where they used to treat her quite badly; that’s when she learned to toughen up the hard way. Because of the little space she had, she got used to sleeping all curled up and she’s had this habit ever since.

Finally having a home has done wonders for her. She could spend hours sleeping in the sun (of course we let her do this for a limited time when it’s too hot outside) as she loves being out in the open air and being able to enjoy the beauty of nature.

I think Ambra embraces all the characteristics of the “perfect” dog; she is affectionate and loves being cuddled. When we scratch her belly she smiles at us, displaying a row of white, human-like teeth (I nicknamed her Dentina, which means “little tooth” in Italian) and will be thumping her tail on the floor. The noise of her tail thumping on the ground gave her the nickname of “Jumanji” (my father came up with it, as he is always making up new nicknames for our dogs).

Ambra smiles, almost to the point of laughing, every time she goes out with one of us for her daily walk; like the others, she enjoys exploring the countryside and the sidewalk that borders with the lagoon.

When it’s time for lunch, she often wants to pick the right moment to eat and could spend even 20 minutes resting beside her plate; she’s not obsessed with food (some of the other dogs would love to eat all day long!), except on the nights we order pizza, so we usually offer her a small bite.

Byron, one of our male dogs, has a huge crush on Ambra and sometimes he spends the whole day chasing after her and courting her (which she doesn’t really appreciate, since she was sterilized before leaving the kennel, so she is usually running from him and hiding behind a huge plant vase in the kitchen).

She is an amazing watch dog and does a great job at watching the house; if she hears the slightest noise she immediately stands up and sits behind the entrance door to check if anyone’s approaching the house. We don’t let her out in the garden when we aren’t home, since she usually barks at strangers and their dogs, as all watch dogs do.

With Ambra around, one can feel safe at home and enjoy her company; she is fun to be around, loves being close to any member of the family and will be sitting for hours beside the table when I work on my laptop.

Ambra can be found on TikTok, as she is part of the #ninedogsfamily 🙂

Ambra - Animalier.
Ambra and her leopard blanket

All pictures are my own.

My Favorite Looks From PFW Spring/Summer 2023

Image Credits: Léonard Cotte

Recently I have written an homage to Paris for my Story Behind the Picture section. The French city is often considered the capital of European fashion (some people think this title belongs to Milan or London but the strong influence of the legendary French couturiers on modern fashion is still relevant to this day) and Paris Fashion Week has always been the ultimate celebration of haute couture and prêt-à-porter.

Among the most defining moments of this fashion week were Jacquemus opening his first eponymous store at 58 Avenue Montaigne, Victoria Beckham’s PFW debut with her S/S 2023 collection and model Bella Hadid having a dress spray-painted on her for the closing of the Coperni show.

Being from Milan, I got to live the atmosphere of Milan Fashion Week over the years and I have recently talked about my MFW experience; however, I have been envisioning Paris Fashion Week as something magical and extremely fascinating ever since I started reading fashion show reviews on Italian magazine Book Moda in 2007; every designer who presented their collections at PFW seemed to reflect the style I was looking to embrace. I have always been attracted by French style because my mother has always dressed like a Parisian woman and I have often looked up to her for my own wardrobe choices (except for a few experiments during my teenage years!), so I was eagerly waiting to see what this edition had in store.

Below I have rounded up my favorite looks from PFW S/S 2023:

Saint Laurent SS23/ Vogue Runway. Image Credits: Filippo Fior / Gorunway.com

1) Saint Laurent: Anthony Vaccarello’s Spring/Summer 2023 was all about physicality and celebrating the body. The main inspiration for this collection was 80s Grace Jones and the entire show was built on the concept of length; the outerwear was predominantly oversize, with the coats replacing the clothes as the main stars of the show. This created a series of powerful looks that were impossible to take your eyes off of; the color palette was the epitome of elegance, with camels, purples, olives, tobacco shades and soft browns. The shoes were barely noticeable due to the length of the dresses and coats and they ranged from minimal sandals to satiny pumps; this brought the audience’s gaze to focus on the width of the shoulders and the length of the outfits.

The nightly-lit Eiffel Tower was the perfect backdrop for this show, whose setting included also the Fontaine de Varsovie in the Jardins du Trocadéro; due to the rhythmic soundtrack, the atmosphere was quite dramatic and suitable for the clothes that were shown. The whole collection combined Vaccarello’s minimalism with the sensuality and elegance that are so typical of Yves Saint Laurent’s style. It was dark, it was glamorous and it was so difficult to pick just one particular look because I fell in love with every double-breasted coat I was seeing on the runway (the long black dress was amazing, too). The ensemble pictured above spoke to me, with the gloves and sunglasses adding a touch of mystery to the whole outfit in the best possible way.

Loewe SS23 / Vogue Runway. Image Credits: Daniele Oberrauch / Gorunway.com

2) Loewe: a symbol of love and passion, the anthurium flower made of giant fiberglass was literally growing from the floor for the setting of Loewe S/S 2023 and was made to creatively represent the connection between nature and technology, the latter being evident with the introduction of pixelated hoodies and t-shirts on the runway.

Jonathan Anderson brought this collection to life looking at the flower’s sensuality, seen both as a part of nature and an element of design. The flower was everywhere, from the dresses to the tops and the shoes, which ranged from high heels décolletés to braided and texturized red sandals which resembled the petals of a flower.

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Throwback Thursday: My Experience at Milan Fashion Week Over the Years

Image Credits: Michael Gostner

As I mentioned in the article about my favorite looks from MFW Spring / Summer 2023, today’s Throwback Thursday is dedicated to my experience at Milan Fashion Week over the years.

My father has been working as a fashion agent and showroom manager since the early 1990s; his first showrooms were in Milano Fiera and the Tortona District. He then went on to work for the Italian brand Via delle Perle and opened a new showroom in Via Montenapoleone (Quadrilatero della Moda, which is basically the Fashion District).

I have always been fascinated by his work and I followed his path, as I am now a fashion consultant and marketing manager for our company (aside from doing some freelance photography work).

I was about thirteen years old when I started attending fashion week in Milan; it was during the September edition in 2008, when fashion week wasn’t even called so. Everyone referred to it as “Milano Vende Moda”, which means “Milan Sells Fashion” in Italian, and it took place in the Milano Fiera District (Via Gattamelata), where all the major fashion shows and events were organized; this went on until 2010, when fashion shows began to take place all around the city. Like today, fashion week was convened and sponsored by the National Chamber for Italian Fashion (Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana) and it attracted numerous people from the international fashion industry.

I grew up with fashion thanks to my father’s job and looking at my mother, who’s always had a French style, for fashion advice; anyway, when you’re a teenager you generally feel the need to discover your own fashion tastes, so for me it was all about experimenting. I won’t post pictures of my first fashion week outfit because it was taken at home before going out, so the light was all wrong (I was wearing low-waist pants, a bare midriff top and a big white D&G belt, an outfit that was highly influenced by early 2000s fashion), but I enjoy looking at that picture today and seeing how my style and sense of fashion has evolved over the years.

In September 2008 I had the chance to attend my first fashion shows with Samuelle Daves, a late friend of my father’s and one of his closest collaborators back in the day. Samuelle was also one of the editors at BOOK Moda Magazine and he was my first mentor; he was hard-working, sensitive and intelligent and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities he gave me when I was still very young. He used to introduce me to people as his “junior fashion editor” and even sent me to some shows he couldn’t attend because he was busy working at the magazine.

Love Sex Money by Lorella Signorino SS 2009
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