I’m Not Dead, Just Floating

10655013_1467302333536590_1143766068_nRealizing I haven’t written anything since last August is crazy. I guess this happens when real life prevails on online activities. I’m not complaining because great things have happened in the meanwhile; at the same time, I’ve probably come to the conclusion that it’s impossible to have it all, which means a demanding job (I’m a high-school teacher), a family (B is now attending the first year at primary school) and lots of different online projects. This year I’m working in two different schools, where I teach both day and evening lessons, and everything is kind of complicated. I love working with adult students, but being away from home in the evening is not easy and I’m sure this will take its toll on me by the end of the school year. I’ve hinted at “great things”, though, so I’m more than willing to make sacrifices: this will be my last year as a fixed-term teacher! After 10 years of working from September to June, of changing schools and starting over again and again, next September I’ll finally start working with an open-ended contract. I’ll also work in a different province (the one where I live), which makes things even more exciting.

In such a hectic situation you can see why I’ve neglected this blog. I’ve honestly thought a lot about what to do with it, since I hate fooling myself or my readers. I’ve recently had no reason to update it. Is it permanent? I don’t know. True is that Dallo Spazio has been online for a very long time and has changed a lot since then. I’ve never wanted it to be an ordinary fashion blog, I’ve never wanted it to be a collection of copy-and-paste news or of someone else’s ideas, I’ve never kept it obsessively up-to-date because I don’t update my interests mechanically. Keeping such a blog alive needs energy and time, something which at the moment I must put into something else – school and family first, followed by Film Costumes, What Christina Wears and Born Unicorn. “It ain’t over until it’s over”, they say, but I’ve realized the life of this blog may be over. I may update it when the award season starts (still not sure about it), but I’ll surely write about Christina Aguilera’s outfits in the upcoming The Voice season on Tumblr, which is quicker and more practical. Believe me when I say that I’m writing this post with my heart full of sadness, but I don’t want to pretend things haven’t changed. I first thought of deleting everything but that would be a pity. There’s a lot to read in a 6-year archive and I hope you’ll still appreciate it ♥

PS: A the cat and my perfume cabinet are the best way to say (temporarily?) goodbye.

Red Carpet Heroines: Alba Rohrwacher at the 71st Venice Film Festival

Today a friend of mine asked me if I was covering the 71st Venice Film Festival; I replied I wasn’t because I’m going through a hectic pre-school phase and I haven’t much interest in what is going on on the red carpet. I changed my mind after a couple of hours, when I realized Alba Rohrwacher, one of my favourite Italian actresses, was attending the festival as the protagonist of Hungry Hearts, the latest film by Saverio Costanzo (who happens to be one of my favourite Italian directors). I haven’t got any intention to cover the whole festival yet, but I couldn’t miss the chance to write about the outfits she wore at the film premiere and photocall which took place on August 31st, 2014.

Update: I’m writing on September 6th, just after learning Alba won the Best Actress award!

Alba+Rohrwacher+Closing+Ceremony+Inside+71st+2vpcEtfyRP4lI’m so glad for her and I’m so proud she’s reached such an important achievement. Let’s see what she wore for the occasion.

venicefilmfestival2014_albarohrwacher_valentinohcShe walked the closing ceremony red carpet wearing a lovely Valentino white dress from the Haute Couture spring 2012 collection. A classic evening dress would have been out-of-place, so I’m happy she opted for something elegant but not that formal. The short silk dress had a frilled collar and cuffs; the waistline, cuffs and bodice were embellished by smocked stitches. She completed the outfit with a pair of dove grey suede ankle-strap pumps.

albarohrwacher_delfinadelettrez_pearlringShe also wore two rings by Delfina Delettrez, which beautifully complemented her look. The first was a triple pearl ring.

albarohrwacher_delfinadelettrez_triangleringThe second was the Orange Triangle Piercing ring, made of 18k gold, one orange topaz, three diamonds and one pearl.

3553faff3bbd61225e0f6a706700bbc5On August 31st, Adam Driver, Rohrwacher and the director attended the film premiere and walked the red carpet. I love her minimal style and I’m always in awe of her style choices.

albarohrwacher_hungryheartspremiere_valentinocoutureShe wore a Valentino Haute Couture outfit from the fall 2014 collection, combining a white silk collarless blouse and a high-waisted long pleated skirt with black leather criss-crossed belt. She wore it with a pair of black sandals. She kept her make-up simple and styled her short hair in a messy updo. Monastic chic.

66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards

The Annual Primetime Emmy Awards have never been my favourite ceremony: my favourite tv shows rarely get a nomination or an award, so the whole event simply has no interest for me. I started covering it last year because I was surprised by the red carpet fashion; thank God, the same happened this year, even if  – I must admit – I was not as impressed as I had been in 2013. Here is my list of best-dressed celebrities.

Ladies in Red/Pink

clairedanes_emmy2014This year scarlet dresses were definitely a trend. My favourite red-clad actress was Claire Danes, who got a nomination as outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her role in Homeland.

You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover: Hanna Marin’s Rosewood Jacket in Pretty Little Liars

It was agreed, that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic, yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria (1817)

Most of supernatural literature and cinema is based on “that willing suspension of disbelief” Coleridge referred to while explaining the differences between the goal of his poetry, in contrast with Wordsworth’s. As a viewer/reader, you are willing to believe in something which doesn’t exist in real life and enjoy it. The same trick is true for fictional situations which are apparently more common: think of Carrie Bradshaw, a columnist who is not wealthy, doesn’t even own the flat she lives in but can afford an incredible collection of designer shoes, clothes and accessories. This is very true when it comes to Marlene King’s Pretty Little Liars, the ABC tv show based on books by Sara Shepard. The mystery which the whole show is based on (what happened to the Queen Bee Alison DiLaurentis?) is not original [1] but it perfectly works. Huge doses of suspension of disbelief are needed to watch PLL, which I think is one of the reasons why it is so captivating and funny; the over-the-top adventures of the four protagonists and their outfits mustn’t be questioned, otherwise all the fictional building would crumble.

Take Hanna Marin’s recent “metamorphosis” (it’s more a personality crisis): the once-chubby and dorky Hanna Banana/Hefty Hanna, turned into a glamourous shoplifter at the beginning of the show, is now supposed to show her rebel side. The return of Ali into her life has crushed her certainties and now she doesn’t know who she is. The symbol of this is the over-decorated denim jacket she often wears.

normal_0434This change in style has been hailed by fans as “grungy” and “rock”, which is totally ridiculous. It’s true Hanna is currently sporting a different, scruffier style, but it’s far from expressing a plausible teenage angst. After all, Hanna’s rebellion includes drinking some alcohol, getting black highlights à la Christina Aguilera circa 2002/2003 and eating fried food, namely nothing socially unacceptable.

“Could I Have a Sloe Gin Fizz, Without the Gin?”: Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling

“What’s the point of that, Miss?” the waiter said.
“Tomorrow morning,” Mabel said. 

The Diviners (2012) by Libba Bray

The anonymous waiter in Libba Bray’s novel was right: what’s the point of drinking a gin-based cocktail if there’s no gin in it? Gin, my favourite liquor, has a festive meaning to me: its juniper notes are sparkling and scorching. In particular, the union of gin and vermouth has a sacred importance, which I started appreciating in the late 1990s. At the time, drinking Martini made me feel incredibly classy (indeed), but bear with me: I was a grunge-looking university student who liked drinking à la James Bond, I guess. Nowadays I rarely drink alcohol, but you can be sure gin would definitely be on top of my drinking list, if I had one.

You can understand my excitement when, in 2011, I learnt about the creation of a gin-inspired perfume by Penhaligon’s – Juniper Sling. I just loved the idea of the peculiar notes of my favourite liquor turned into a fragrance, so Juniper Sling quickly hopped into my busy perfume wish-list. Since I first heard about it, many things have happened: I’ve bought other perfumes which I’ve fallen in love with, yet that intriguing gin scent was still there, waiting in my list. Last June I wanted to celebrate in style the end of a ghastly school year: after reading two lovely posts about gin-inspired and cocktail-inspired perfumes, I knew the time for my eager hands to grab a bottle of Juniper Sling had finally come.

penhaligons_junipersling_superqueen (1)Isn’t it beautiful? The bottle and the box would be enough to make me surrender to the charm of Juniper Sling.

“Ray Won’t Let Me Wear My Glasses!”: Crystal’s Style in Susan Seidelman’sDesperately Seeking Susan

Everyone has got at least one or a couple of films which have changed his/her life. You know, one of those films which leave a permanent mark on your memory and almost contribute in making the person you are today. In my case, the list is pretty endless, but Susan Seidelman’s Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) is firmly sitting in the top 10 since the first time I saw it (around 1988, I think). All the elements of this romantic comedy have been carefully dissected by bloggers and film critics, especially the locations (symbols of an alternative/punk-y New York) and the style of the two protagonists, Rosanna Arquette as Roberta and Madonna as Susan. The Madonna-mania was about to reach its peak and the film incredibly boosted the singer’s popularity: if you tell me you’ve never dreamt of being Susan [1], I won’t believe you. Her short jacket with the golden pyramid embroidery on the back, her studded booties and stolen Egyptian earrings are still in my wish-list, along with all the garments worn by my favourite character, Crystal (Anna Levine Thomson). She’s Susan’s friend, a good-hearted girl who works at the Magic Club as the assistant of an illusionist.vlcsnap-2014-07-09-01h05m00s19

vlcsnap-2014-07-08-23h59m08s171She makes her first appearance during a show. She’s clumsy and receives disappointed looks by the illusionist she works with. The cause of her clumsiness is her short-sightedness: Crystal can’t see a thing without her glasses, but the club boss, Ray (John Turturro), doesn’t want her to wear glasses on stage. In this scene, she’s wearing a dusty mauve tulle and lace costume – strapless, tiered skirt, the waist chinched by a matching belt. She’s also wearing a platinum blonde wig, a satin ribbon as choker, pink stockings and mary-janes.

Born Unicorn, Or the Fine Art of Talking to Yourself

hotelchevalier_petitemort_bornunicornThis beautiful shot from Wes Anderson’s Hotel Chevalier is the perfect depiction of myself. Far from being as glamourous as Natalie Portman’s character in the quirky introduction to The Darjeeling Limited, we share a certain dose of boredom and loneliness, plus a taste for perfumes. I think “loneliness” is the key word here, because I’ve recently come to realize that it has an important part in my life. I’ve always fought for moments to spend alone and my online activity is part of what I do when I’m alone. Despite the oversharing trend of recent times, I’m a very private person online as a reflection of being such in real life. Loneliness is precious to me but is online loneliness as precious? What happens when you realize that you’re alone online, too, because nobody seems to care about your own obsessions? You feel frustrated, of course, and ask yourself what is wrong with you; you make the mistake of comparing your work to others’ and you can’t understand why they are successful and you’re not; you decide to quit but there’s something which tells you not to because you *need* that space to channel your passions. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” you finally tell yourself: this conclusion gives you the unique chance to perfect and master the fine art of talking to yourself on Internet. It’s a goal which is hard to achieve, but it’s a goal nonetheless, whose implications are quite interesting: your only judge is yourself (nobody is reading, so who cares what people think), so you must keep up to your own standards, which in my case are sky-high (sorry, but my ego is talking). Can you imagine? No negative comments (no positive ones either, true), no haters, no pressure but the one you put on yourself. It’s bliss, if you ask me.
I’ve come to kind of treasure this status, but it would be a pity not to share it with you. It’s a contradiction, I know, but whatever. Sharing usually doesn’t change anything, so I’m safe. Born Unicorn is the triumph of my obsession with cosmetics, beauty products and perfumes appearing in movies and tv shows. Please don’t comment on this because I know I’m talking about something very, very, very niche-y, but deal with it. I’ve spent most of my blogging life trying to hide my fixation with archives (something which has come out with the Friday Guessing Game), but what’s the point of it? Real life is hard enough, so I can’t see why I should stifle my voice. Nobody cares, nobody listens, which means it’s my playground! If you want to take a look (and then leave ;)), you’re welcome ♥

“And I Had to Wear Last Season’s Miu Mius:” Unexpected Designer Pieces in Orange is the new black (2nd season)

Today a Twitter friend of mine linked me an interesting article by Megan Angelo about the rise of anti-fashion tv shows like Orange is the New Black, in opposition to the super-fashion shows like Gossip Girl and Sex and the City, which stirred every fashionista’s wet dreams some years ago. The setting and the plot of the show created by Jenji Kohan don’t leave much space to variety and fantasy, yet the costume designer Jennifer Rogien has recently explained how she succeeded in customizing every inmate uniform so as to let their personalities shine through. Noticing subtle details in the orange or khaki uniforms is certainly fascinating, but my fashion-lover heart doesn’t beat for those. Gorgeous fashion can’t turn a mediocre tv show or film into something good, but if the show is extremely good (as in the case of Orange is the New Black), some designer fashion hints can definitely spice things up. These were totally missing in the first season, but in the second one we were given three fantastic and totally unexpected moments [1].

oitnb_morello_prada.jpgThe first two designer pieces appear in the 4th episode, A Whole Other Hole. One of the most intriguing sub-plots of the show are the flashbacks with which we learn the reason why a character is in jail. In this episode the flashback is about Lorna Morello (Yael Stone), the romantic inmate who always wears a bright red lipstick. She ran a mail scam ordering items online and receiving them, but calling the companies claiming they never arrived. She’s a compulsive shopper who can’t resist the charm of designer clothes and accessories.

Anatomy of an Outfit: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen at the CFDA Awards 2014

A week has passed since the last CFDA Awards (which took place at the Lincoln Center in New York), yet I’m still thinking about two outfits, those sported by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Move over, Crystallized Rihanna: the two former teen stars caught my attention and made it to the top of my best-dressed list of the event.

olsens_cfda2014The designers, who won the Accessories Designer of the Year award, brought their trademark minimalism to a sublime level, sporting two similar outfits by The Row, pairing it to elegant jewellery and awesome shoes. Ashley wore a black silk dress with long, wide sleeves, crew neckline and belt at the waist. Mary-Kate opted for a more original dress,cut like an overcoat, made of black silk shantung, featuring kimono sleeves and belt at the waist.

“She Was Burnt In a Fire:” Agatha’s Leather Gloves in David Cronenberg’s Maps To The Stars

I’ve seldom experienced the unique and eerie feeling of being “called” by a movie. It happens when you’re not particularly interested in a film, but there’s something in it, something suddenly appealing and compelling which forces you to go to the cinema and get lost in it. It’s recently happened to me with the latest work by David Cronenberg, Maps to the Stars, based on the novel Dead Stars by Bruce Wagner [1].

It’s a wild and sad story of people lost in a sun-scorched Hollywood where self-promotion, money and celebrity hide dark (disturbing family secrets and addictions) and eerie aspects (ghosts from the past haunting the present and pushing the protagonists to the limit). The character who has caught my attention is Agatha Weiss (Mia Wasikowska): she appears out of nowhere into the lives of the limousine driver/actor/aspiring screenwriter Jerome Fontana (Robert Pattinson) and of the troubled actress Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore). She shares the same obsession with celebrity which drives all the other characters, but her appearance reveals a different story. Agatha is a freak, like those of the 1932 Todd Browning film: one side of her face is covered in scars (the remains of a fire she started in her family house) and the same can be said for her décolletage, arms, hands, chest and legs, which she always keeps hidden. The make-up-less face and her childish bob haircut add jarring notes.

maps-to-the-stars-img04Her style is minimalistic: she wears loose t-shirts in neutral shades (black, heather grey) and a black top underneath, black leggings as tights and flat strappy sandals. She wears an aubergine skirt and a black bandage dress only once – the latter in a very important scene. The most striking elements of her outfits are obviously the black leather gloves [2] she never takes off.