Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's eve with Proust

"What do I see? A Nesserlode pudding! As well!
I declare I shall need a course at Carlsbad after such a Lucullan-feast as this."
(À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs)
"An architectural cake, as urban and familiar as it was imposing, seemed to be enthroned there on the off-chance as on any other day, in case the fancy seized Gilberte to discrown it of its chocolate battlements." (À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs)

"What is this prettily colored thing that we're eating?" asked Ski.
"It's called strawberry mousse." said Mme Verdurin. (Sodome et Gomorrhe)
The roses of Revé painted flowers upon the surface of the porcelain stands in which they were arranged, (...) reflected on the white-panelled walls, they produce the impression of motionless designs, as blue as hyacinths, as red as roses." (Le Côté de Guermantes)

All images from "Proust, La Cuisine Retrouvée"  1991
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Waiting for 2011

Even if  PANTONE® has chosen18-2120 Honeysuckle as the color for 2011 (see my recent  post HERE) and you may like that pinkish red or not,  you may use it or not next year, I believe a true red is the color for this time of the year. Red is festive, represents energy, passion, strength, courage, or you could simply say that red is life. Color creates atmosphere in a house and around us and can influence our mood at times, red always makes a happy statement of energy and has the quality to get noticed each and every time.
Fabulous Interior designer Alessandra Branca has a blog Scoop du jour and recently she had a post called "Go red & go home!"  she often uses pure red in her interiors, as you can see even from a page of her book "New classic interiors".
AB_01-07 v10.indd

Alessandra Branca

Alessandra Branca projects.
If you want to know more about Branca listen to the interview on the Skirted Roundtable, where she talks about her design philosophy  and her design style: "classic with a twist" always full of colors and, yes, particularly red.

Talking about RED how can I forget to mention a fashion designer known for his love of this hue to the point of giving his name to a particular shade of red?
The icon of Italian fashion, Valentino Garavani, started using red in the late '60s  and "rosso Valentino" is a mixture of carmine, cadmium and crimson that has become a trademark color adorning such cultural icons as Jackie O, Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Margaret and a countless number of famous actresses like Sophia Loren, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett.
“Red has guts…. deep, strong, dramatic. A geranium red. A Goya red…. to be used like gold for furnishing a house… for clothes, it is strong, like black and white” he said.“Women usually prefer to wear black at events because it makes them feel safe, however, if there’s one woman wearing red, she will inevitably be the eye-catcher of the evening. It’s as though the room is suddenly illuminated- simply perfect for a grand-entrance”.
Valentino and Benedikt Taschen at the launch of "Valentino" book in Beverly Hills, 2009


Valentino in his atelier, 1990
and finally where all this started...
A young Valentino in his atelier in Rome, in 1960...perhaps already dreaming of giving his name to a color?

Will you use red for the last party of the year?
Will you wear red on the first day of the New Year?

No matter what color you choose I wish you all a happy 2011
vibrant with love, passion, strength, courage and energy.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

An intimate Christmas

A Christmas atmosphere can be created with some imagination and subtle changes like in this house on the Italian hills not far from Milan, where the rustic humble architectural details were maintained during renovation.
A Baccarat vase positioned horizontally and holding branches with festive berries, a few candles and the subtle light of a Tolomeo floor lamp...the scenery outside says it all.

A simple wreath of Holly on the folding chair Tomasa by Simon in front of a roaring fire, with dancing flames accompanied by the music of pops and crackles.

Surrounding the Brancusi table, being created with ancient oak beams salvaged from buildings going back to XIX century, an assortment of designer chairs and a Flos lamp Arco by Castiglioni. As a centerpiece some candles and winter greenery.

Subtle elegance...sometimes less is more!

May your holidays be filled with friends, family, laughter, music, love and joy,
after all those are the best gifts of life.

Images by Tiziano Sartorio
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Modern Italian villa

Rendering by Steve Giannetti

In the world of  bloggers dedicated to design we often come across projects of other designers and this time I like to present you with an extraordinary one by Brooke and Steve Giannetti from Los Angeles, who are starting to work on the creation of a modern Italian villa and I need to say... I am green with envy (good envy though, since I admire everything the duo does). Steve is an architect and Brooke is an Interior designer and a blogger under the name of Velvet and Linen.
Oh! how I wish I had clients like theirs, looking to recreate Italian style in North America and because I am not an architect I would be totally happy just to choose color scheme, lighting, source furniture and accessories, create atmosphere and vignettes bringing  modern Italian style in a traditional country house.
Rendering by Steve Giannetti

If you wish to follow the journey of this talented couple just click on Modern Italian villa design and you'll be mesmerized.
As an Italian myself I need to say that, from these sketches, I could not do it any better.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

A rose is a rose...

Exquisite roses decorate my home this Christmas. I was buying bunches to give to my clients as a thank you for their business and...I could not resist to buy more for myself. They are a delicate cream color with a hint of pale green around the petals and a subtle pink in the heart. The true color is not seen well on the screen but trust me, they are creamy and gorgeous.
Some are placed in a crystal bowl near my favorite books, you may notice two books (on Michael S. Smith and on Orlando Diaz-Azcuy) written by Diane Dorrans Saeks of  The Style Saloniste blog and on the right a great giveaway I received last Christmas from Garvinweasel blog (on Axel Vervoordt). Many more books of course in the background.

The Simon 041
I have put some roses also in a Christmas arrangement with holly, pine and winter greenery.
The Simon 027 

The Simon 025
From my house to yours may these Holidays bring you peace and joy.

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Photography by Albarosa Simonetti

Friday, December 10, 2010

Good-bye turquoise? Welcome 2011 new color?

Pantone 2011 color

2010 is ending and with Christmas and horoscopes for the new year here comes also an anticipation of trends... are you ready for 2011?
PANTONE® 18-2120 Honeysuckle: this is the color chosen by Pantone for 2011, a color full of life, will Honeysuckle red  bring energy in a time of stress? 2010 turquoise represented an escape to the ocean, to exotic places, now we come back to reality with a color that talks about self esteem and good mood, a color that says good-bye to sadness and hello to happiness and energy; get ready to start seeing it everywhere, from high end boutiques to nail paint.
CDN Smoochie color


Fashion for Spring and Summer

Pantone said of this color: "Courageous. Confident. Vital. A brave new color, for a brave new world. Let the bold spirit of Honeysuckle infuse you, lift you and carry you through the year. It’s a color for every day – with nothing “everyday” about it.”


Muriel Brandolini d'Adda, one of my favorite designers, will be happy to use this dynamic reddish pink.

So will be Alessandra Branca, never afraid of colors in her interiors.

and Mary McDonald...

Do you spot the trend also in Grant K.Gibson's project for Elle Decor?

12-10-2010 12-14-56 AM
Even Sophia looks a vibrant colored kitchen by GeD Cucine.

I personally don't follow trends, I love all colors if used harmoniously and if they reflect where I am in life, this particular color, as the other similar hues full of energy I would use with wisdom.

Now it is your turn: what do you think about this so called new but to me timeless color? 
Have you used it in the past? Will you use it soon?

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Die Walküre" in Milan

 Die Walküre, Teatro alla Scala
December 7th is the day of the Saint Patron of Milan, Sant'Ambrogio, and it is also the opening of the  season at La Scala Theatre. In all these years the ladies evening gowns have reflected the times, booming economy, austerity, times of peace, times of turmoil. I have seen decades of luxurious furs and evening gowns, years of rebellion around 1968, followed by years of austerity and understatement, today, from the images, I can see more sparkles than last year, the world wide financial crisis is starting to recede?

Letizia Moratti, mayor of Milan (gown by Armani as usual)
and the La Scala superintendent Stephane Lissner.

Laura Teso and husband

Marina Berlusconi

Marquise Marta Brivio Sforza

Actress Elena Santarelli

Countess Marta Marzotto

Actress Valeria Marini

Queen of Alta Moda (High Fashion) Raffaella Curiel

Michela Vittoria Brambilla, minister of Tourism

TV stars Sabrina Negri and Alessandro Cecchi Paone

Banker Corrado Passera and wife

The inaugural evening, with the five hours long Wagner opera "Die Walküre", was a triumph: 14 minutes of applause, a standing orchestra, flowers thrown from the stages, a standing ovation for the conductor Daniel Barenboim.
Applause for everyone  but... outside the theatre police had to battle protesters against cultural budget cuts, mainly University students gathered outside but soon dispersed  by the police.

Horse mounted carabinieri

15 policemen were injuried during the attack.

Milan City Hall, lit for the occasion.

Life is always full of contrasts.

Photography by Milestone Media, Photoviews, Balestra, La Presse.

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