Museum musings

Daily inspirational quotes by artists



“Everything you can imagine is real.”


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Museum musings

Daily inspirational quotes by artists

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“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”

Henri Matisse

Posted in ART, BEAUTY, DESIGN, MUSEUMS | Leave a comment

Rome’s new luxury department store ‘Rinascente’


Want to buy a Fendi bag, see an ancient Roman aqueduct, browse Italy’s best design brands and have a Campari all in the same building? Meet Rinascente, Rome’s new (well, newly reopened) department store.

Rome’s answer to Harvey Nicks or Selfridges, the reopening of the popular Italian department store has been a long time coming, after the closure of its Via del Corso branch 11 years ago. The 14,000-sqm store is spread out over eight floors, including a beautiful rooftop terrace and four restaurants, smoothie bar, chocolate bar, and elegant Aqua di Parma beauty counter.

Brands like Alessi, Kartell and Smeg dominate the basement with a display of all things beautiful and Italian design. Which brings me to the aqueduct, Aqua Virgo Aqueduct, one of Rome’s oldest engineering masterpieces dating to 19 BC, on display and uncovered during the building’s 11 years of construction and restoration works.

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Beautiful light display installation on the ancient brickwork of the Roman aqueduct dating back to 19BC.



Where? Via del Tritone 61
On the Via Due Macelli corner of Via del Tritone.

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Who? Just about every luxury design brand, and not just Italian brands, there’s a Stella McCartney concession, YSL shoe wall, and Christian Louboutin make up.

Louis Vuitton has a shop within a shop that takes up two storeys and is known as il Palazzetto, and is the original main structure of the building dating back to the early 1900s, essentially a palace within the palace.

Official website: Rinascente on Via del Tritone

Rome wasn’t built in a day. These are the stats:

14,000 square metres

96 windows

1800 days of renovation

800 brands



Green Fashion Week in Rome



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It’s all about fashion shows @ the ancient Roman Forums this week to raise awareness for Green Fashion Week, now in its 6th edition, following the success in LA, Dubai,  Abu-Dhabi and Milan. The Forum of Augustus and Hadrian’s Temple served as runways showing sustainable and responsible fashion collections of international designers, such as Flavia La Rocca, Kromagnon by Kristen Avery Long, Bav Tailor, Orushka, Gentile Catone and Nomadic Collector to name but a few.

A favourite is Gentile Catone’s absolutely stunning Gentile Catone line of pink satin skirts, shirts and waistcoats with flamingos and Garden of Eden style prints. The focus of Green Fashion Week is high quality and long lasting recycled or regenerated raw materials, reducing waste and inventing new ways to utilise goods at the end of their lifecycle, so is less stress on the environment.

Supported by the FSA (Fashion Service Association) and GD Major Entertainment, and The Ministry of the Environment and Protection of Land and Sea, responsible for environmental issues in Italy.

Be kind to the planet @Green Fashion Week


#organicluxury #slowfashion #greenfashionweek




Posted in ARCHITECTURE, BEAUTY, DESIGN, FASHION, ITALY, ROME, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Design Boom: Bulgari interview

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Nicola Ferlei-Brown talks to Bulgari’s Creative Director Lucia Silvestri about her inspirations and creations for the ‘Festa’ collection, as well as Lucia Boscaini, the brand’s Heritage Curator, on the architecture of Rome and the DOMVS museum.

Read the interview at Design Boom:


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Photos: © Bulgari


Bio trends, eco utility and sustainability will be big for Autumn/Winter 2018-19


Bio materials made from milk and mushrooms and other natural sources are the future of fashion and will be the norm by 2019. Ferragamo recently launched a collection made from Italian patented Orange Fibre which is created using citrus waste, with prints designed by the award winning Mario Trimarchi. The brand describe the exciting development as ‘a new fabric treated like the pages of an imaginary book on the colours of shadow at midday…demonstrating the vivid effects of light and shadow and freehand drawing to suggest clouds in motion and the wind scented with orange blossoms of the Mediterranean.’ Biodegradable is definitely the new chic, looking ‘on trend’ but with less impact on the environment.


A new generation of consumers are more eco conscious, as well as many brands being aware about what they are doing to the planet with their designs and processes. Designer Mara Hoffman, spoke to Vogue this year about her shift to sustainability, beginning with her Spring/Summer 2017 collection, which featured better for the planet textiles such as recycled spandex, tencel, organic linen, and organic Japanese cotton jacquards.


A new brand for eco conscious basics is Iluut, the brainchild of Helinksi born Elina Cerell, Vj Taganahan and Milanese designer Silvia Stella Osella. We love their navy blue shirt dress, which is made of cotton and Tencel, regarded as one of the most sustainable fibre innovations in the fashion industry today! Aside from being a handy autumn to winter number worn with ankle boots or flats, 5 % of this products’ margin will be donated for building the Pencils of Promise school, a trust which trains teachers and funds scholarships.


Mango have launched their first Sustainable collection Mango Committed, which is a line committed to ethically sourced materials, made in Portugal, Morocco and Turkey. The 45 piece sustainable collection is made up of 25 womens and 20 mens garments, made using ethically-sourced fabrics such as organic cotton, recycled polyester and Tencel. This move is part of Mango’s larger Take Action initiative, a plan to encourage a new business model based on sustainability and more environmentally friendly processes.


Watch your step

Ethical shoes are about to put their best foot forward, which makes sense when you think that we produce about 20 billion pairs of them worldwide but only 5 percent get recycled at the end of their lives, which means about 19 billion end up in the landfill.

Micam 2017, the leading international footwear fair, was all about shoes made with non animal materials, vegan sandals and trainers. With Italian brands like SQUARe027, who have proposed a 100% vegan shoe made from vegetable synthetics and a special rubber and cork, this is a new type of Made In Italy, made from Italian nature.


Stella McCartney says Fashion is “Getting Away With Murder” and last year her shoes were launched to coincide with World Oceans Day. In her collaboration with Adidas, she revealed a new version of the Ultra Boost trainer that has features made from plastic recovered from the sea.

McCartney who is known for her ethical approach to fashion design, described sustainability as being “fundamental” to what she does. “I strongly believe in making clothing that is ethically created and built to last, and this is an ideology I channel into every single piece I design,” she said. “For me, preserving and respecting the planet is fundamental to what I do and I always try to make an effort to consider that in my designs.”

Alice: A Modular, Zero-Waste Shoe Grown From Fungus

Belgian designer Kristel Peters began exploring new, low-impact ways of making shoes based using fungus.

Talking to eco friendly website Ecouterre, Peters, a 15-year industry veteran who has worked with the likes of Dries Van Noten and Bottega Veneta said “Most fashion houses tend to focus on formal developments, rather than on process and material innovation, giving sustainable solutions the cold shoulder.”

So, she has created a modular shoe based on sustainable design elements like recyclability and repairability, the use of waste materials like sawdust, and local production. She calls it “Alice.” Peters is also a fan of technologies such as three-dimensional printing, which can eliminate the use of non-recyclable materials such as glues while ensuring a bespoke fit.

The 21st century material balances beauty, utility and sustainability. Expect to see Sughero, a vegetable material, which is easy to clean, waterproof and works well for every season.

Traditional Fusion and eco utility

There will be a focus on hand made and crafts, and anything goes mix and match, as well as traditional materials with modern techniques. A mix of culture and traditions without divisions.

Just like Japanese art of Kintsugi, which takes broken property and creates new designs with the old, thus trends will be following suit for AW 2018-19. Merging traditional, ethnic patterns in a contemporary thread seamlessly tying together cultures and their textiles.

Published @ 5Fashion Forecast May 2017

Posted in DESIGN, FASHION, ITALY, LONDON, ROME | Leave a comment

Colour trends for Pre-Fall 2017


Here’s a look at the best colour trends for Pre-Fall, the smaller capsule collection in between September and February fashion weeks.

Let’s begin with Red

It’s not just about red. It’s red top to toe.

Chanel, Givenchy, Giambattista Valli


Chanel start as they mean to go on by doing a red jacket, bag and knee high red boots. Three different reds, one look.

Givenchy are seeing red, matching red sunglasses with a red suit. This would not be too much with red lips, is the basic message.

Reds are textured and ruffled by Rachel Zoe, tassled by Stella McCartney and rouched by Monse.

Rachel Zoe, Monse, Stella McCartney


Want to go deeper? Merlot reds and plums are an in between seasons nod towards winter. Versace’s military trench with matching leather bag and boots does the trick, as does this exquisite wine coloured leather dress by Carolina Herrera.

Carolina Herrera, Just Cavalli, Versace


As you can see here, the Philosophy line by Lorenzo Serafini mixes red ribboned shoes with darker red wine pieces and black tights for the vamper autumn evening wear must buys.

Philosophy by Lorenzo Serafini, Ulla Johnson, Dion Lee


Fur, whether it be collars, cuffs or accessories, is also making itself known in almost every colour of the rainbow.


So a good idea for a Pre-Fall outfit, as it looks good against an almost faded tan and warms us up for autumn colours and wilted leaves.

Missoni, Rochas, Issey Miyake


Missoni’s burnt orange jodpers with a black drawstring is a brilliant way to do toned down elegant orange. And, Issey Miyake’s woolen orangey red coat brightens up a tired autumn outfit, ditto Rochas’s beautiful military orange blazer.

Markus Lupfer, Fendi, Preen Line, Creatures of the Wind


Markus Lupfer’s almost luminous bright orange chunky knit jumper screams ‘Aperol Spritz in Sorrento’… in October.

Candy pink 

Romantic lady like dresses are worn with furs, seen by Rochas. Their sophisticated floral fabrics look like dressed down Versailles, worn with grey school girl socks and retro red shoes.

Rochas, Gucci, Ulla Johnson


Sheer and chic soft pink is looking so fine, by Red Valentino and over sized floaty pastels by Isola Marras and Alexis Mabille are luxurious.

Red Valentino, I’M Isola Marras, Givenchy


Gucci, Cavalli and Givenchy all team candy pink and bold red together. Cavalli’s pink blazer worn over a sheer black evening dress matched with red boots is the way to do it.

Pucci takes it one step further, working the red shoes and pink dress combo, but adding bright yellow tights to the mix. Making this a Capri sorbet of sorts.

Just Cavalli, Emilio Pucci, Gucci



Pucci’s geometric dress and tawny pink tights will definitely be turning heads and Gucci, not one to shy away from mix and match, is all about a tricolor of pink orange and purple.

Thornton Bregazzi’s long fushcia pink flamboyant dress is made all the more foxy with grungy slashes at the bottom of the dress and black fishnet socks.

Emilio  Pucci, Gucci, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi




White makes it all alright. Add a romantic cotton ruffle dress to your autumn repertoire, pair it with a black boot, and you are all set.

Co, Marissa Webb, Just Cavalli




Go mellow in yellow. It’s looking good from where we are standing, set against greys and blacks by Fendi.

Fendi, Bottega Veneta, Ulla Johnson



Nudes are happening, as always. Silk nude jumpsuits, lace dresses and over sized nudes are are a hot look for 2017.

Marissa Webb, Stella McCartney, Fendi



Electric blue

Electric blue is in it’s element at the moment. Is there anything better than an understated blue dress with a black belt and bag. Thomas Maier does it to a T with this ensemble.

Tomas Maier, Tome, Emilio Pucci



Olive Green

Have you got the bottle to be bold with green? Pantone have named Greenery Green their colour of the year for 2017. They describe it as a “tangy yellow-green that speaks to our need to explore, experiment and reinvent.”

Amanda Wakeley, Issey Miyake, TSE


Amanda Wakeley dresses it down with casual black trousers, an oversized shirt and baggy green woolen jumper. And, we especially love Issey Miyake’s double green outfit of mix and match olive green with tangy green.

Can’t decide which is your favourite of these ten colours? Doesn’t matter. It’s all about mixing and matching them with an eccentric twist, a bold thread tying the theme together.

Words by Nicola Ferlei-Brown

Published @ 5Fashion Forecast January 2017

Posted in BEAUTY, FASHION, ITALY, LONDON | Leave a comment

Zaha Hadid designs new Naples high-speed train station


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2016 was an exciting year for architecture and 2017 looks set to be no different as we anticipate the construction later this year of the long awaited Naples-Afragola train station. A sculptural cobra-like steel structure, which will interlink Naples to Rome.


The London based architect firm of the late Zaha Hadid are hoping that it will be more than just a train station and become a social hub, with piazzas, cafes and boutiques. The project began in 2003, but don’t book your train tickets just yet, because it won’t be open until 2018! The best things come to those who wait.

When the plans were first unveiled in 2003, who would have believed that it would take another 15 years to complete, but development was delayed due to budget concerns. Thankfully, the go ahead has been given after a recent meeting of the RFI (Rete Ferroviaria Italiana) the company who own Italy’s railway network.

The new station will be three kilometers north of the city centre, adding both a contemporary landmark to the ancient monuments of Naples as well as the beginning of a new redevelopment of the area. The project will beautifully form a gateway to Naples as a modern transport interchange that will connect the long awaited TAV high-speed trains.

Design wise, there is a sense of movement with the bridge that extends over the train tracks and its dynamic use of concrete and glass.


Posted in ARCHITECTURE, DESIGN, ITALY, ROME | Leave a comment

Oh Mickey: Fashion brands and their Disney designs


From Mickey Mouse to Wonder woman, cartoons have been taking the fashion world by storm for decades.

But, more than ever, designers have gone Disney mad, with kitsch embellished T-shirts, dresses and bags. The 90’s nostalgia of cute teen logos is massive at the mo. Snoopy, Pokemon, Marvel and Mr Men, are also fashion show stars of late.

When Mickey Mouse debuted in 1928, he influenced fashion, interior design and art worlds. For his 88th birthday, Vogue celebrated the designers who had been inspired by the Disney character over the last two decades. Everyone who is anyone, ranging from Damien Hirst and Marc Jacobs, to Givenchy and Dolce and Gabbana, are in the equation.

Five years ago, the artist Damien Hirst was invited by Disney to develop a piece inspired by Mickey Mouse. The result, “Mickey,” which recalled Hirst’s iconic spot paintings, was reproduced into a series of poster-size prints. In early 2014, Christie’s auctioned “Mickey” for just over $1.5 million, donating a portion of the proceeds to Kids Company, an organization that supports inner-city children in the U.K.

Which then led to the T-shirt version of “Mickey” to benefit the charity. The limited-edition tops were made available in black and white and in both adults and children’s sizes.

Marc Jacobs and Damien Hirst for Disney


The Rodnik Band are one of the many designers, who have teamed up with Disney. Their ‘GUESS WHO’ collection features Mickey Mouse as you have never seen him before.

The Rodnik Band


“Mickey Mouse is the ultimate playful, pop culture icon – his silhouette is instantly recognisable – and as an artist I was very excited to creatively engage with his image. I wanted to play with people’s perceptions, by hiding Mickey Mouse behind my pop icons and create a humorous creative dialogue between us, entertaining the viewer and making them think twice. Said THE RODNIK BAND founder Philip Colbert.

Little Shilpa


Perspex accessories in the form of Mickey’s mouse ears, designed by Mumbai designer Little Shilpa, for her Disney gone Grunge range, are a beautiful way of being a bit more abstract in Disney detail. The cut out tights remind us of the polka dots.

More mainstream teen cartoon fashion trends are marketed towards a younger audience and the designs especially popular in Asian countries. Where manga is the main moda and kitsch is their middle name. The fashion divas in Japan look sassy with their denim crops and animation print tees.

These are some of our favourite cartoon inspired designs:

Wonder Woman body by Urban Outfitters


Moschino Couture Pokemon


We are digging this cotton dress and Mickey jacket by Metersbonwe, China’s leaders in casual wear.


High street mainstream fashion brands such as Zara and Bershka have beautiful designs too.

This trend can be grunged up, or be as pretty and twee as you want.

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Milaura shoes

What is your favorite Disney inspired design?

Published in 5Forecastore Fashion: January 8th 2016


Bello Magazine: Designers are weaving dream dresses for the modern day Princess

By Nicola Ferlei-Brown


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Designers are weaving dream dresses for the modern day Princess

Mirror, mirror on the wall.. Which is the most beautiful season of them all? Why, winter, of course. And, a winters tale just became even better dressed, because designers are taking their muses from fairy tales at the moment.

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana didn’t waste any time in dreaming up a divine four day event for their ‘Fabulous Fantasy’ A/W 2016-2017 womenswear fashion show in Naples.

They paraded 99 exquisite Alta Moda outfits, with each model bowing or nodding towards their muse, Sophia Loren, who watched from a red velvet throne. “She’s the inspiration for this whole collection,” says Dolce. “Touch, touch!” he said, showing off the beautiful fabrics with baroque floral blooms. Bustiers dazzled with sparkly gems and there was something a bit Dangerous Liaisons in the mix.

Wowing us with their A/W Ready to Wear collection catwalk design installation, they decorated with a giant book with the words: ‘A Princess was walking in the woods when she met Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana’. There was even a princess carriage, the midnight clock, a moon and models wearing military tailcoat jackets in the style of the toy soldier from The Nutcracker. Dresses with cats and mice were the icing on the cake.

Fendi and the Trevi

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Mention obligatoire: Photo Emanuele Scorcelletti © Fendi

Fendi chose Rome, its hometown, to celebrate it’s 90th anniversary and show their spectacular Autumn/Winter 2016 Couture collection, on July 7 2016. The beautiful event took place against the backdrop of the Baroque Trevi Fountain, followed by a dinner at the Terrazza del Pincio in Villa Borghese. Just when you thought Rome couldn’t get any more magnificent, you turn the corner and see the Trevi fountain being used as a catwalk, with models ‘walking on water’, across the glass runway built into the water basin of the fountain.

The design concept behind the show began with an early 20th century edition of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, a Norwegian fairy tale with pictures by the famous children’s book illustrator Kay Nielsen, inspiring Lagerfeld. “This was something from the North, we were making a fur collection, and the pictures were something in between art nouveau and art deco.”

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Moved by the fairytale inspired collection, Lagerfeld said “In my wildest imagination, I never thought something like this could exist. To do this on a crystal bridge over the most famous fountain in the world? If that’s not a fairy tale, I don’t know what a fairy tale is.”

The show told the story of a Princess transforming from day to night, the colour palette darkening as she travelled further into the woods. The minute attention to detail was exquisite. Fendi’s extraordinary designs of an insect’s wings illuminated by the Trevi fountains lights, were echoed in a tiny clutch of feathers, and mink petals sewn into the hems of organza dresses.

This is the stuff that dreams are made of.

Fairy Tale Fashion

Fashion and theatre are intertwined. Runway shows are magical, with stories, beautiful dresses and creations, impressive tech and light installations so it makes sense that the world of make believe is merging with world of moda this winter.

Earlier in the year was the “Fairy Tale Fashion” exhibit at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Inspired by classic stories from Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, the installation features over 80 objects that illustrate the characters of 15 different stories through the work of designers such as Alexander McQueen and Marchesa.

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‘Children’s Stories’ editorial from Vogue Novias, 2005. Photo © Eugenio Recuenco

What to wear to the winter Ball

There is an 80’s tone, with balloon skirts, bold silhouettes, daring designs and and a dash of shoulder pads. Romance, lace, ruffles, pretty trims and floaty gowns with a lil hint of a glass slipper.

Fendi, Dolce and Gabbana and Giambattista Valli are remaking the high-waisted empire line silhouette for the modern woman.

This is a beautiful white pleated silk mousseline and crepe dress with draped motocross leather sleeves, designed by John Galliano for Maison Margiela.


©Maison Margiela

Both Maison Margiela and Valentino are doing Baroque dramatic drapery fit for a Queen.

Valentino’s collection was both the final showcase for designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccoli’s nearly three decades of collaboration and a tribute to the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Their Little Red Riding Hood cape teamed with black biker boots added an edgy twist to the tale.

What is it about the winter and fairy tales that brings out the magic in design?
Dolce&Gabbana just made every woman’s dream come true. Their words: “Who is the most beautiful? You”. But don’t worry about the clock striking midnight and this beautiful moda disappearing. The mega trend will be with us for a while, because Autumn/Winter 2017/18 will be all about the Queen of the night with a dark twist.”

Ditto, Dior.

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Published in Bello Magazine September 2016 Issue #133