As we run our Milano coverage, Beauty Editor M. K. Johnson says she has her own Italian obsessionand tells you where to satiate yours
Stendhal SyndromeWhile travelling to Florence [Henri Beyle (a.k.a. Stendhal)] found himself unable to control the emotions welled up in him in anticipation of the city's cultural pleasures His racing heart and an increasing sense of confusion robbed him of his composure when his thoughts turned to Dante, Michelangelo, and Leonardo. Completely incapable of formulating his thoughts lucidly, he finally capitulated and gave himself up to his delusions which made him feel as though he were at the side of a beautiful woman. This, according to Rolf C. Wirtz's Art and Architecture: Florence, published by Barnes and Noble.
I must warn you that a strain of Stendhal syndrome may not be limited
to Florence! I myself experienced this, just as I was entering Saks Fifth
Avenue! I was not, however, thinking of Dante, Michelangelo and Leonardo.
Armani, Gucci, and Ferragamo, I must admit, were at the forefront of my
mind. But I assure you that the experience was much the same. I was simply
overwhelmed by the glory of Italian luxury goods this season!
All things bright, beautiful and blue, from Armani's evening
collection. Gucci shoes with heels so high who could blame you for feeling
faintthough it would probably be from the effects of altitude. Handbags,
scarves and shoes from Ferragamo that would make anyone have delusions
(of grandeur and an unlimited credit line!).
So if you're game, let me show you how to embark on an Italian adventure of your own.
First, get in the mood. Would you like a little Italian romancetry Laura Fraser's travelogue and memoir An Italian Affair. Apparently everything we've heard about finding romance in Italy is true! If suspenseful thrillers are more your style, try Valerie Martin's Italian Fevera murder, a missing manuscript and an Italian villa that harbours dangerous secretswhat could be more fun than that? Next, I would pop in one of my favourite Katharine Hepburn movies, Summertime (1953, available in VHS or DVD)the story of a spinster's holiday in Venice, where she learns about herself, love, Italian men and Renaissance glass. That should do for a start, anyway.
Now on to the luxury!
So where do I find these goodies? I hear you cry. First there are the usual sourceslarge luxury department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, etc. (all of which have serviceable online counterparts) can be counted on for a steady, consistent supply of jewellery, fragrances and accessories from Italy. There are also the wide array of luxury suppliers online like Bluefly.com, Ashford.com and of course, luxury.com. It's worth noting that Talbots, a chain of boutique clothing stores all over the US, has a large selection of Italian-made apparel, shoes and accessories for fall. Talbots.com features many of these items, but look for those items labelled Talbots Collection line, not the main line offered. Harolds is another chain of clothing stores that carry a large selection of Italian accessories. I have even found garments and leather goods in T. J. Maxx. Just be careful to look beyond the makers nameto the label listing where the item was made.
If you're looking for broader selections, more unique pieces and more traditional Italian designswhy not go to the source? Here are a few favourite online resources that ship from Italy to destinations all over the world.
Here you can find clothes, housewares, jewellery, accessoriesnearly anything you could want.
The largest online retailer of luxury Italian accessories. Need I say more?
For jewellery, look for:
This site features Banco dell'Oro (literally the gold counter) a shop that showcases jewellery made using traditional Florentine gold-smiting.
General sites of interest:
M. K. Johnson is Lucire's Beauty Editor.
I was not thinking of Dante, Michelangelo and Leonardo. Armani, Gucci, and Ferragamo, I must admit, were at the forefront of my mind. But I assure you that the experience was much the same.
Below: Giorgio Armani mightn't be a god, but some
may think his clothes worthy of worship (from the autumnwinter 2001
range, images courtesy Giorgio
Below: Ashford.com sells a range of handbags from Adrienne Vittadini, Francesco Biasia and others
Home | Contents | Lucire Living index | Shopping Guide
©2001 by JY&A Media, a division
of Jack Yan & Associates. All rights reserved.