It’s a year since my book was published and
I’m still going on about it I’ve met so many brilliant women who have bought it, talked about it or Instagrammed it. Thank you! Among them was the effervescent Francesca Belluomini, who writes the blog chicfb.com, has published her own book and is a voracious Instagram liker and commenter. We got DMing and found we had a similar stylistic point of view. So when she asked me to take part in her blog Q&A series Style & Substance I couldn’t really refuse. You can read it here.
Francesca’s book, The Cheat Sheet of Italian Style: Confidence and Sustainable Chic in Ten Struts is a primer on the details and values that capture contemporary Italian style. It’s interesting how there has been a flurry of books based around the style of various nationalities. Luella Bartley’s book ‘Luella’s Guide to English Style’ was a study of English cultural references and dress codes, while Caroline De Maigret’s ‘How to be Parisian’ was more of a tongue in cheek handbook. My book, although it’s called ‘The New Garconne‘, isn’t really about ‘dressing French’, but it does reference lots of very cool French women.
What I have in common with Francesca is a thoughtful and questioning approach to fashion. I thought it would be fun to turn the tables and get her to answer her own questionnaire…
Q: Style + substance = empowerment. Are you on board?
Francesca: Of course. When you own your style, you feel confident in your skin, you don’t need directions on what to wear at work or for a cocktail, you are never overdressed or underdressed and that sense of belonging will reflect on your attitude. You’ll always walk wearing your invisible crown.
Q: Your personal style in three words.
F: Italian, unapologetic and #sustainablychic (I had to keep it 3)
Q: On shopping with a purpose.
F: I am all for shopping as long as it’s not compulsive. I consider myself a recovered shopaholic and mindfulness while I purchase clothing or furniture or decorations is what makes me happy. The slowest the process, the happiest I am. Every trip to the fabric store with my dressmaker is a step closer to what I will be wearing after a process that goes from dreaming to fitting to adjusting to finally showing off.
Q: Do you feel like sharing one secret?
F: I believe that the Italian way of life is the closest to the fashion revolution: a revolutionary theory, but, if you read the book or get a chance to spend some time in Italy, you’ll realize that what really the fashion revolution is aiming to achieve is to go back to those practices that belong to our grand-parents and parents. I keep it as a secret, but I actually should scream it out loud as another revolutionary voice.
Q: Your relationship with fashion: single, married, it’s complicated or …
F: It’s like the first kiss, you can never forget.
Q: What’s the one thing a woman should do to feel powerful?
F: Vulnerability is the one trait that belongs to a woman and that certain men (and women) see as a threat and use to oppress us or make us feel inferior. Truly, it’s because they are intimidated by it. A bit or reverse psychology.
Q: When did you find your confidence?
F: A couple of years ago, when the idea of the book first came up.
Q: How do we get rid of the princess/cute/pretty/pink stereotype?
F: I tend to ignore it. But when facing it, I try to understand and learn how to disagree harmonically.
Q: You look at your closet holding your morning coffee ready to get dressed: personal uniform or outburst of creativity?
F: It’s free for all, whatever catches my attention. The only constant is the coffee. I can’t really fully understand the “employee handbook” or “corporate attire” as a language. Uniformity is neither desirable nor attainable.
Q: Which irritates you more and why: “Sustainable fashion is boring” or “Fashion is frivolous”
F: The first one because ignorance is no longer bliss, we all have a duty as active citizens. The times in which “it will not affect me” or “we all buy fast fashion” are over. It comes down to a moral responsibility.
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Francesca Belluomini
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