Tag Archives: Rome

Style-Diet Shot: patented dress?!

“On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
– Thomas Jefferson

You know how I feel about patented seeds… But how about a patented dress?! I just happened across this pop-up shop while going from yoga to the Pantheon with my friend Cath. Inspecting the tags, I came across la designer. Her name is Barbara Annunziata – an architect go figure – and the first person I ever met to patent a dress!!! I didn’t know you could even patent a dress until I experienced this one. You can wear it a gazillion ways and it is called La Ruota (translated to “wheel of fortune”Check it out at http://www.wearever.it/santarella-ruota.  

Below, hanging with Barbara and her cutie 10 month old (wearing a teeny La Ruota.) I’m wearing a brown-on-brown version (as some of you might be able to surmise, the darker brown is a stretchy material). 

  

I confess that I feel more inclined to don La Ruota as a light summer coat but happy to experiment with the nth number of ways to wear this superlative garment. It’s really like getting 20 for 1- howz that for a Style-Diet?? Repurposing galore… My gladiator sandals made and bought in Italy. Sure going to miss this place.  

Until the next post, baci a tutti!

The Style-Diet Shot celebrates individuals with unique style, wearing at least one article of clothing acquired via the Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet. It must be local, sustainable, second-hand/re-purposed, inherited or ethically produced. If you can’t find clothing fitting that criteria then it must be from a country with stellar human rights records.

Style-Diet Shot – Antonio

“On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

– Thomas Jefferson

I hit a Style-Diet jackpot yesterday, bumping into Antonio in Rome yesterday. In a mecca of style and fashion, Antonio stood out on so many levels.  His suit is an original Valentino made in 1975.  Two years before I was born and well before being bought by Qatar. His mom and I think one of his aunts used to be tailors for Valentino.  Shoes from Tuscany.  Glasses made by a friend, the inside have a small houndstooth design.  Note the matching tie and shoes.  Antonio is a fabulous cross-cultural character in every sense of the word.  He said to tell you that he’s related to Jack Nicolson (a younger brother).  That is a joke.  I’m pretty sure – but the resemblance is uncanny.  He works in the world of art and music.  Currently looking for a museum in Canada to launch an exhibition….

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The Style-Diet Shot celebrates individuals with unique style, wearing at least one article of clothing acquired via the Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet. It must be local, sustainable, second-hand/re-purposed, inherited or ethically produced. If you can’t find clothing fitting that criteria then it must be from a country with stellar human rights records.

Style-Diet Shot – Andra

“On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Spending time around and about Rome these days, I’m continually surrounded by architectural, historical, cultural and sartorial beauty. Mamma Mia! I’m so overwhelmed, I hardly know where to start.  I post photos on instagram, I gush continually over the food and yesterday, I ran into charming Andra not too far from the Colloseum.

I told Andra about my blog and asked if I could take her photo.  I wanted to share her style of the day with you all.  Andra layered her greens delightfully: malachite earrings, sparklies in her necklace, the avocado handbag and the muddy forest of her dress. Like me, she strongly feels that clothes should be made without human sufferance. She is passionate about eating fruits and vegetables in season.  When I asked her about where her clothes came from she replied that she “was wearing boots made in Italy, from a roman producer. My handbag is made in Rome, in the small Sirni studio in via della Stelletta. My coat is an Italian brand of a guy in Veneto and it’s called Seventy and made in Italy.”

Andra colors changed

The Style-Diet Shot celebrates individuals with unique style, wearing at least one article of clothing acquired via the Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet. It must be local, sustainable, second-hand/re-purposed, inherited or ethically produced. If you can’t find clothing fitting that criteria then it must be from a country with stellar human rights records.

The Style Diet Shot – The Beginning

“On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

– Thomas Jefferson

I have been following The Sartorialist (www.thesartorialist.com) for years now, watching him highlight people with unique style in fashion capitals around the world. When I lived in Florence, I regulary wondered if I’d bump into Scott Schumann at the Pitti or the Duomo. When we moved back to Canada, pictures of Florence’s stylish hotties (of all ages) helped heal my homesickness for Italy.

I discovered a Vancouver equivalent to The Sartorialist when my friend Edith popped up on Style Quotient http://www.stylequotient.ca/2010/03/31/no-288/. Edith is a beautiful singer with a silken voice and wicked sense of style. (If you’re lucky, you might catch her dulcet tones at Cheesecake Etc one fine evening)

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Julia Roberts in 2001, wearing Vintage Valentino. The designer has said that dressing Ms Roberts for this event has been a career highlight.

What we wear cannot but echo part of our philosophy. I love fashion but want to celebrate common sense and sustainability. Yet style too. Is it possible? You bet your second-hand Fleuvogs yeah! Had to have a think and yay…

… I got a brain flash!

Wouldn’t it be awesome to show stylish peoples wearing a main item of clothing acquired according to the Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet Principles?!! Organic, local, sustainable, second-hand, ethically made. If none of the above, then clothes from countries with stellar human rights records. Quality, so you replace your stuff less often.

To kick off, here is Jyoti at the office. Her dress is Value Village Vintage.

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I acknowledge that some people don’t want to clothe themselves in the energy of strangers. My mother, born in India, is one of those people. She asked me to say this when I told her I would blog about The Diet. In India, there is a taboo about buying other people’s cast-off clothing. Fortunately, being born in Canada and being half English, I laughed off that cultural idea when I was young. Wearing clean, second-hand clothes that fit your style can be super cool, sustainable, hip and exciting to shop for. The quality of many well-made vintage clothes is such that they have lasted decades. Clothes back then were were made to last years, not a season.

I hope to make The Diet Style Shot a regular – if not frequent – section of my blog to celebrate those people who can rock your grand-dad’s clothes.

And look incredible.

Bello Gelato at Bella Gelateria

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food”

– George Bernard Shaw

When we lived in Firenze’s Le Cure neighborhood, we were spoiled rotten for hand-made gelato, from Cavini to Badiani and a few in-between. Taking a post-dinner passeggiata (stroll), we would lazily amble about in the evening sun and eventually turn a corner and then find… Bliss.

Moving back to Canada’s West Coast was bittersweet in general and definitely sour when it came to locally-made ice cream. I had given up even after I had read an article last year about some non-Italian Vancouverite who had won an international prize for gelato. In Florence. In Italy. Hmm.

Today I went to Bella Gelateria run by James Coleridge in downtown Vancouver. Folks had mentioned this Gelateria to me but I had dismissed them – What would Vancouverites know about authentic gelato?

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When we lived in Italy, we systematically tried every single artisanal Gelateria (ice cream parlour) in Florence. My husband and I made lists compiled from blogs and locals and tried at least one new Gelateria a week. This resulted in some funny foodie episodes. Once we actually fought with owners of a gelateria in Scarperia who didn’t want to sell us a tub of gelato.  Well, they were happy to sell it to us, until they found out that we were planning to bring it back home to Florence. Although it was packed in a Styrofoam container, they were genuinely worried that their gelato would lose its delicate flavours in the half hour ride back home. That episode is worthy of a short story: “The Gelato Nazis of Scarperia.”

I became such a gelato snob/conoisseur, that for a real treat I would make excuses to take the train to Rome to sh-lurp away at San Crispino (not then found in the travel guides). San Crispino behind the Fontana Di Trevi is usually passed over by the unsuspecting traveler.  They are looking for colorful ubiquitous mounds of frozen delight, gloriously decorated with delectable delicacies.  San Crispino doesn’t display their gelato but covers it up.  So much that is worth waiting for is initially hidden.

The first thing that struck me at the Bella Gelateria was that like Rome’s San Crispino, the gelato was covered, not displayed. This minimizes air exposure and flavour-mixing. I had to admit that I was impressed. Maybe James Coleridge really knew something about gelato.

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He does. He is worthy of his title and wins in 2 categories of the International Gelato competition last year. He makes speechlessly-divine gelato. World Class. I asked him this afternoon about it.

James said it’s like David and Goliath. An independent against the industrial machine. I’ve heard my father use the same analogy about making organic breakfast cereal. We inhabit a world where flavour is generally sacrificed for cost. It takes a true artist to attain perfection in the flavour department. Flavour perfection is almost invariably tied to pure ingredients. In this weird world where quantity too often trumps quality, James has distilled pure gelato magic.

His mandate is to bring genuine flavours back into our culinary repertoire. Like fast fashion I’ve written about, fast food is even worse. On a meta level, who cares about how you dress if inside you are full of artificial flavours, artificial colours, GMOs and toxic residues? James is attempting to reconnect us with truth. The maestro uses Avalon milk for goodness sake.

Avalon milk

I needed to post about James’s gelato for a few reasons. My noble goal is to highlight people and systems who are getting it right. By worshipping the good and great, by drawing energy to that, we can’t help but inspire change. James is my hero of the day. First, he makes incomparable gelato. Second, he doesn’t compromise quality. He exemplifies what we all must strive to: independence, pride in our work, love of what we make and what we give to others.

I heard Vandana Shiva say that our greatness should be judged by what we create. I agree.

James Colergidge, alchemist, is transforming gems of nature and augmenting them for our tastebuds. He is creating beauty one cone at a time.

I left James with a “Ciao”, feeling I had met a great man today.