Miles of MAC

FullSizeRender (6)


British born fashion photographer Miles Aldridge and his work for MAC make up, is everything photography should be. Moody. Exciting. Memorable. Miles is a dab hand at manipulating bold, whimsical, dream like photo shoots. His models look like mannequins.

Earlier this month, the V&A Museum held a talk about Miles’s work with MAC make up,  discussing the striking images of some of the best and most theatrical looks to date, which have been documented in the book, MILES OF MAC.

Published by Rizzoli, this is a coffee table worthy book, that celebrates the drama of the make-up artistry of MAC with stunning photographic campaigns by Miles and his collaboration with James Gager, MAC’s Senior Vice President and Group Creative Director.

Marilyn Manson best characterized his work style by describing him as: “A director at heart whose images are anything but portraits of a subject…There is a genius in the very deliberate blankness on the faces of the models that enables a transference of identity. He always draws you into an arrested fetish that seems as forbidden as a little girl’s diary.”

Cyndi Lauper, one of the celebrities who’s added an essay to the book, writes: “I’ve been using MAC since 1986. Russian Red is still the greatest colour lipstick! And how can I live without my taupe shading?”

Let’s look at some of Miles’s work

The book beautifully showcases Miles’s talent, and it becomes evident that one of his artistic influences is the surrealist movie director David Lynch, who has marvelled at Aldridge’s ability to see a “colour-coordinated, graphically pure, hard-edged reality.”

Gager on that subject of drama: “On one level, we hope this book serves as an inspiration for art directors, make up artists, set designers, hairstylists and anyone with an interest in image-making. On another, we hope it shows what can happen when you combine your creative vision with someone else’s.”

He elaborates:”Both Miles and I constantly create scenarios in our heads…little visual vignettes, making up stories…I might be sitting in a restaurant, watching people and quietly being aware of what’s going on. What is she saying to him? What is about to happen? Miles is a magical storyteller and often sketches out concepts in his drawing pad before we both sit down to embellish the scenarios”.

A bit about Miles

The son of noted graphic designer Alan Aldridge, he grew up in a glitzy swirl of British celebrity. John Lennon, Eric Clapton and Elton John were family friends. As a boy, Aldridge and his father sat for a session with royal photographer Lord Snowdon, Queen Elizabeth’s brother-in-law.  With a glossy pedigree and multiple skills as an illustrator and film maker, he was fast-tracked early to shooting covers for British Vogue and then, after emigrating to the U.S., numerous assignments for GQThe New YorkerVogue and The New York Times Magazine. He soon moved on to advertising campaigns for prestigious clients, including Karl Lagerfeld, Armani, Yves Saint Laurent and, of course, MAC Cosmetics, perfecting his style of mixing bold candy-coloured make up and hair design with beautiful, totally aloof models.

Miles and his technicolour worlds have exhilarated the fashion world since the mid 90’s.

This is def a book worth buying, celebrating a decade’s worth of collaboration, including those images thought too extreme to use in the brand’s campaigns. It is a testament to a close friendship between himself and Miles over the course of eight years. The book also features contributions from MAC icons and divas alike, such as Daphne Guinness.


Posted in BEAUTY, FASHION, LONDON | Leave a comment

David LaChapelle exhibit in Rome


David LaChapelle, the great American artist and photographer, comes back, after more than fifteen years, to the Palazzo delle Esposizioni with one of the most important and exhaustive retrospective exhibition of the artist’s work.

David_LaChapelle_Roma 9

Venus_and_Mars_National_Gallery boticelli

David LaChapelle is known internationally for his exceptional talent in combining a hyper realistic aesthetic with a profound social message. His career began in the 80’s when he began showing his artwork in New York city art galleries.

Rome has been a milestone in his artistic life. In 2006, during a journey to Italy, the artist was granted the opportunity to have a private visit of the Sistine Chapel; his artistic sensibility was so wowed by the beauty and power of Roman art that those elements gave him the ultimate drive to change his artistic production.

Until then, LaChapelle preferred that his photos be published in fashion magazines and books, without critical texts. His goal, was never restricted to the picture, but to reach as broad audience as possible, as a pop artist, and lead the lecture of his work on an emotional shock level.

He pushed his aesthetics to the limit, but in 2006 walked out on the fashion scene.
He turned away from worldliness in order to live in a wild island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean “I said what I wanted to say”.

david la chapelle

The exhibition focuses on the works realized by the artist starting from 2006, when he produced the monumental series titled “The Deluge”, which led to a meaningful turning point in his artistic path. Through the realization of “The Deluge”, modelled on Michelangelo’s impressive fresco in the Sistine Chapel, the artist returned to conceiving works with the unique purpose to exhibit in art galleries and in museums, and is less focused on commissioned work that is destined for the pages of fashion magazines and ad campaigns.




After “The Deluge”, the American photographer began to produce artwork with new aesthetical and conceptual concerns. The most evident sign of the change is the vanishing of the human presence. The living models, that in all the previous works (the only exception is “The Electric Chair”, 2001, personal interpretation of Andy Warhol’s famous artwork) have had a central part in the composition and in the messages embodied by the images, disappear. “Car Crash”, “Negative Currencies”, “Earth Laughs in Flowers”, “Gas Stations”, “Land Scapes”, up to the most recent “Aristocracy” series, follow this new aesthetic choice: LaChapelle resoundingly deletes the flesh, which was previously an identifiable element of his art.

To allow the public to understand the “origins” of LaChapelle work before “The Deluge”, the exhibition will also include a selection of some of the most renowned and loved photos that made him famous, between 1995 and 2005. A body of work that will gather all portraits of celebrities from music to fashion and movies. Scenes based on religious themes with surrealistic touches, references to masterpieces of art history and cinema, an artistic production defined by the chromatic saturation and movement, with which the American photographer reached his particular aesthetical style and influenced many artists of the following generations.

In the exhibition there is a projection space dedicated to behind-the-scenes videos, which, capture the composite process and the constructions of his photo sets, revealing the artist’s role is as director and scenic designer.

Andy Warhol’s influence on David is evident throughout the exhibition. ‘The Crash’ recalls Warhols ‘Death and Disaster’.

He embraced a post-pop style, in some surrealist sensibilities, which makes him unique in the world. His artworks are exhibited in the most important public and private international collections and in many museums, among those: Musée D’Orsay, Paris; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei; the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles; The National Portrait Gallery, London; Fotografiska Museet, Stockholm e The National Portrait Gallery a Washington DC.

Don’t miss it.

Tickets 12,50

Palazzo Esposizioni
Via Nazionale, 194 – 00184 Roma

Posted in DESIGN, FASHION, ITALY, ROME | 1 Comment

Beauty is Duty

fashion on the ration

war museum

During rationing in wartime, it was tough. Magazines boosted morale, by encouraging women to keep making themselves up. Beetroot became the new red lip stain. Boot polish was used a mascara, and tea stained your legs for the ‘stockings’ effect, complete with a black line drawn up the back. Women were making wedding dresses out of net curtains,  it was time to wave bye bye to luxury. And to British women, that meant make-up.

But, where there is a will, there is a way.


A memo from the Ministry of Supply pointed out make-up was as important to women as tobacco was to men. More than that, beauty was considered a woman’s duty, during the Second World War.

‘Beauty is Duty’, is one of the many themes on display @ the Imperial War Museum’s brilliant exhibition at the moment, ‘Fashion on the Ration’. Marking the 70th anniversary of the Second World War, it examines the lengths to which many women went, to maintain their personal appearance and how fashion survived, and even flourished, during wartime.

And, we know, that in modern times, with financial hardships, lipstick sales have soared, ‘the lipstick effect’, at a record breaking high.

Make up

IMG_4730   IMG_4729

Eventually you couldn’t buy ‘whole’ make-up at all.

When they did become available, refills for lipstick were not as we know it today. Metal, for the production compacts and lipstick cases, was banned in 1942, so they were wrapped in different ways, and the powder was minus its puff.

On display are adverts promoting war themed make-up such as Tangee’s lipstick for ‘lips in uniform’.

Fashion embodied the war

fashion war

Make up and wardrobe had a patriotic edge.  For example, the colourful display of scarves by Mayfair fashion house Jacqmar, with wartime slogans such as “Salvage Your Rubber” and “Switch That Light Off”. By wearing these items, women were able to overtly demonstrate they were doing their bit for the war effort. Behind the scenes in a way, but much needed, by all means.


Make do and Mend

The Make do and Mend area of the exhibition looks at why clothes rationing  was introduced in 1941, how the scheme worked and how it changed the shopping habits of the nation. With limited options for buying new clothes, people were encouraged to be creative and make clothes last longer by mending, altering, knitting and creating new clothes out of old material. Items on display include a bridesmaid’s dress made from parachute material, and a bracelet made from aircraft components.

war FOTRbanner

During the Second World War, British men and women had to find new ways to dress as austerity measures and demonstrated amazing adaptability by adopting more casual styles and by renovating, recycling and creating their own clothes.

IMG_4701  IMG_4709

IMG_4706   IMG_4708

Fashion on the Ration demonstrates the way Britain managed to pull through, in the face of adversity, and how fashion and style were maintained and even flourished during the Second World War, the impact of which can still be seen on British style and the high-street today.

The exhibition brings together 300 exhibits including clothing, accessories, photographs and film, official documents and publications, artworks, wartime letters, interviews and ephemera, some of which have never been on display before.

Displays of original clothes from the era, from military uniforms to functional fashion, reveal what life was really like on the home front in wartime.

Britain became a nation in uniform, arguably the biggest visible change to how people dressed at the time, with many key pieces of uniform from the women’s services. The impact of which can still be seen upon British style.

war museum book

“When there was government intervention in every part of your life.. Your appearance was the only thing you could control. This was ordinary people’s lives impacted by unprecedented world events,” explains Laura Clouting, curator of Fashion on the Ration, 1940’s Street Style, a new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, London.

war 89898

Fashion on the Ration demonstrates the reality of Second World War austerity Britain and present a sense of what life was like on the home front for men and women during wartime Britain.

The IWM brilliant gift shop, sells these beautiful mini pocket mirrors, with a well known Cecil Beaton photograph on the back. Part of the range which accompanied IWM London’s major exhibition, Cecil Beaton: Theatre of War.

war museum


Museum website

Fashion on the Ration: 1940s Street Style 5 March – 31 August 2015


war 45678


Made In Italy

made italy

made in italy models

From Barilla to Benetton, Martini to Missoni, a brand ‘Made in Italy’ makes it immediately desirable. Whether it be wine, bags, mopeds. Maintaining the Italian designs and craftsmanship in today’s market of globalisation, is one major multi tasking mission.

Made in Italy and the 80’s

Made In Italy bloomed with the 80’s boom. In the mid-80s, many companies began operating in Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna, with the branding ‘made in Italy’. Designers became celebrities in their own right and Armani made Bloomberg’s ranking of the world’s richest people, as the the fifth Italian wealthiest man.

made in italy ga

A continuation of that boom is still seen in Milan and all over the world. The aggressive billboard marketing campaigns of the 80’s provided the perfect business structure for high end brands to extend their lines to the masses, and that mode remains today, as it set the precedent for marketing.

made in italy ad

The 80’s enthusiasm for business, dictated tailored designs. The new role of women ‘as manager’ and power dressing meant that designers like Missoni, were able to deconstruct the jacket and make wearable day wear women’s business suits. Missoni, along with Versace, were the futuristic designers of the day.

made italy madonna-papa-dont-preach-video-italians-do-it-better-tshirt-dolce-and-gabbana-1986

Italian designers like Armani made fashion more accessible. Fashion was no longer class based. Designers began to brand jeans and bottles of perfume, blurring the margins between fashion and class. What was once a class divider, became accessible to the masses. Socialism and fashion made a deal. By wearing a pair of Armani Jeans, a Trussadi wallet, or a Dolce and Gabanna lipstick, you can buy into the Made in Italy lifestyle.

The 80’s were experimental, industrial and modern, because Italian designers created the phenomenon of fashion as a cultural phenomenon. Max Mara was the first Italian designer to open a shop with their name above the door.

Where did Made in Italy begin?

Made in Italy developed thanks to the emergence of a new entrepreneurial class, post war. The flourishing of stylists and designers. Elizabeth Taylor, draped in Bulgari diamonds.

Well-tailored Italian suits. Decadence. Decorum. Elegance. Florence became the new Paris, and Alta Moda was in the fast lane beside Haute Couture.

In a way, Made In Italy was nothing new. Italians have mastered culture, arts and manufacturing for thousands of years. Companies in Italy today, are based on an artistic history and ancient craft that has its roots in the Renaissance workshops, beautiful museums and a widespread aesthetic culture.

Modern Made In Italy

From Pret a Porter to Net a Porter

Missoni forTarget

Missoni designed accessories for Target, which sold out within three hours.




made in italy man

With Alessi magnets, at 4 euros, brands recognise that we want Made in Italy, but a bitesized version, designed to match a different market.

Versace for H&M

made in italy VERSACE-for-HM

made italy donatella

Domestic design is still wanting the spirit of ‘bellezza’. It would be accurate to say that Italian fashion changed everyday objects. Which means you can have your cake and eat it, with a tazza of Italian espresso.

”No other country has the fusion between style and fashion”. Beppe Modenese

 Published in Italy Magazine April 2015

To read at Italy Magazine:



Women’s Day 8th March


The 8th of March sees the celebration of the Women’s Day Festival.

The tradition on March 8th is for both men and women to honour their mothers, wives, girlfriends and friends, with flowers and it is the declared month worldwide that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

The initiative can be traced back to two key events in history on this day. In 1857, American garment workers were said to strike in New York – which led to the foundation of the first American women’s union. In 1917, the combination of the Russian Revolution and the First World War led to the Bread And Peace Strike in Russia. So when it came to 1945, this specific date was deemed appropriate for the celebration of womanhood by the Union of Italian Women – this year marks the 70th anniversary of that decision. The day allows women free or lower priced entry into chosen museums or sightseeing destinations. One of the most common traditions is the reception of mimosa flowers.


The very first celebration of a “Women’s Day” on March 8th in Italy happened in 1946 and was organized by UDI (Unione Donne Italiane, now Unione Donne in Italia, Italian Women Union) in 1946.On March 8th, 1946 Italy was just out of war, the foreign occupation was over, but the country was still not a republic. Women had obtained the right to vote but had not yet had an opportunity to exercise it (they will need to wait until June 6th, 1946 on the occasion of the referendum for Italian citizens to choose between the kingdom and a new republic). Many women, however, had been very important factors in the resistance movement during the war, fighting against fascism and the foreign occupation.

Three ex-combatants, two of them from Torino, Teresa Noce and Rita Montagnana together with Teresa Mattei, choose mimosa flowers as a symbol for the “Women’s International Day of Fight and Celebration” “Giornata internazionale di lotta e di festa della donna”.

mimosa women day 8

Posted in ITALY, ROME | Leave a comment


BNM64Gattinoni16   2 - Marucelli_paillettes rosso

BELLISSIMA: Italy and High Fashion 1945-1968 Rome

Bellissima, the word that indicates female beauty in Italian, and the title of the black and white movie with the Italian maestra, Anna Magnani. It is this movie that inspired the title of the latest exhibition at Rome’s Maxxi museum. 80 outfits are on display by designers that define the very identity of Italian fashion.

4953_Bellezza_aix n2 febbraio 1949010_2 (2)  MAXXI_Bellissima_allestimento_1581

The backdrop for this decadent display is Rome, and it’s stars, wearing spectacular creations that lit up the grand balls and foyers of the theatres, in the city of cinema and the Hollywood divas of the Via Veneto and the Dolce Vita. The exhibition traces 1945-1968, a time of extraordinary creativity in cinema, art, architecture, theatre, and photography. Designers like Bulgari, Valentino, Roberto Capucci, Fernanda Gattinoni, Fendi, Renato Balestra, Emilio Pucci, and many more, were making important contributions to the image of Italy around the world.

The Maxxi brilliantly recreates the alluring atmosphere of Italian high fashion, by bringing these outfits to life on La Rosa mannequins, whilst TV screens play legendary black and white movies, fashion shows in Rome, Florence and Milan and of course, Bellissima, with Anna Magnani.

Bags by Gucci, and shoes by those which have promoted Italy’s fine craftsmanship around the world, Coppola e Toppo, Ferragamo, and Fragiacomo are dotted in between designer dresses.

Memorabilia, magazine cuttings, and hand written thank you letters from the British Embassy in Rome to the fashion houses, for invites to the fashion shows, are on display beside dazzling Bulgari diamonds.

Made in Italy designs, beautifully tailored to be ‘pronto’ for the red carpet.

BNM222Valentino11 Bellissima Exhibition on until May 3 2015

Tickets €11 Saturday evening, late museum opening until 22.00

Read in Italy Magazine April 2015

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

Monica Bellucci, Bond Girl


Monica Bellucci is the new Bond girl.

Bellucci is an Italian actress who, aged 50, has now become the oldest Bond girl in the next 007 film titled Spectre, after the title was previously held by Honor Blackman, 39, who starred in Goldfinger.

This is what you need to know about her:

The actress and model had previously auditioned for a Bond girl role before. Pierce Brosnan mentioned that she screen tested for the role in 1997 that eventually went to Teri Hatcher in Tomorrow Never Dies.


When asked what she really thought of the James Bond character, Bellucci has said: “James Bond is our fantasy — the ideal man. The man is a protector, he is dangerous, mysterious and sexy, and a perfect English gentleman.”

Monica is from Umbria and studied law at Perugia university before moving to Milan and becoming a model.

Monica always wanted to be an actress but did not think it would ever come true.

Monica has houses in Citta di Castello in Italy, France, England and Brazil, though she says her heart will always be in Italy.

Monica played the role of Mary Magdalen  in Mel Gibson’s  award winning movie The Passion of the Christ.

She has a healthy Hollywood show reel with roles in films including The Matrix and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

On being Italian:

I am Italian through and through. Wherever I go I am Italian. The way I talk, the way I eat, the way femininity is important to me. The way I love Italian food. For this season’s fashion campaign Dolce&Gabbana shot me eating at a picnic with my family. That is beautiful — it’s not about the biological beauty, it’s about another kind of beauty. It’s about the womanliness that comes to your face and your body from your life and your experience.

What is her favourite movie?

Must-see movie La Dolce Vita because it captures the essence of Italian cinema like no other film. It’s Fellini’s masterpiece. The theme of searching for happiness and love is such a universal one but the film explores the character’s experience in a way that’s truly thought-provoking.

Dolce and Gabbana

Bellucci is the main muse of Dolce and Gabbana, for whom she has modelled for more than 20 years, after meeting them when they were just up-and-coming stylists and she was a model starting out in Milan. Their new precious Ruby Collection make up range is inspired by Bellucci, and symbolizes the fiery Sicilian passion that lies at the heart of Dolce&Gabbana. Colours range from Magnetic Monica to the classic red Chic Monica.

Bellucci said: “I think to put on red lipstick, or lipstick in general, is a very feminine act. It’s something i’ve seen my mother and grandmother do. It’s like it’s part of our DNA.”

She will make a brilliant Bond Girl.

Posted in BEAUTY, ITALY, ROME | Leave a comment

Aperitivo inside an ancient Roman stadium

Stadio-di-Domiziano    domitian 89

dom wear helmet   aperitivo culturale _stadio Domiziano_3


An aperitivo, in an ancient Roman stadium, underground. Feel like an archaeologist, with a glass of wine at this once in a lifetime opportunity, and recently uncovered site.

They say all roads lead to Rome, but in this case, roads lead underneath ancient Rome, to the hidden corners of the old city.

Sample ancient street food of Rome yesteryear, before entering an ancient stadium. Learn what the gladiators ate before shows, and the special wine reserved for the taste of victory, before being shown around the ruins.

The ancient stadium of Domitian (86 AD) is underneath Piazza Navona and has recently been excavated and restored.

Organised by Campagna Amica, who source local wine makers and olive oil producers to satisfy our taste buds whislt listening to an archaeologist recite some history.

Posted in ITALY, ROME | Leave a comment

Oscar winning Italian costumes designs exhibited at Palazzo Braschi, Rome

bozzetto_per_il_costume_di_audrey_hepburn_in_guerra_e_pace_cineteca_di_bologna_fondo_renzo_renzi_gallery    l_eta_dell_innocenza_martin_scorzese_costumi_gabriella_pescucci_gallery (1)

The beautiful Palazzo Braschi is currently exhibiting a brilliant dedication to Italian costumes in cinema, that earned  their designers an Oscar.

The exhibition features more than 100 original outfits, dozens of designs and a selection of objects from Italian and foreign films from the beginning to the present day, from the silent movies era to “The Great Beauty.”

Dresses of your dreams and Made In Italy at it’s best.


Among the featured films are “Marie Antoinette” by Sophia Coppola, whose costumes were designed by three-time Oscar winner Milena Canonero, who has just received her ninth Oscar nomination for “The Grand Budapest Hotel”.

Other films include “The Age of Innocence” by Martin Scorsese, costumes by Gabriella Pescucci; “Il Casanova” and “Amarcord” by Federico Fellini, costumes by Danilo Donati; “The Great Beauty” by Paolo Sorrentino, costumes by Daniela Ciancio; “Death in Venice”, “The Leopard” and “Marriage Italian Style”, whose costumes were designed by Piero Tosi, nominated five times for the Academy Award for Costume Design, and honoured with an Honorary Academy Award in 2013 for his achievements in costume design over 75 years.

In addition to clothing, more than a hundred, sketches and selection of objects, the exhibition The clothes of dreams has been further enhanced with the installation of lights created by Luca Bigazzi, one of the best directors of photography internationally recognized.

The exhibition, curated by the Cineteca di Bologna, closes on March 22.

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10.00 – 19.00; last admission 1 hour before closing time; closed Monday. Entrance ticket: € 11,00 (€9 for students).

Address: Museo di Roma Palazzo Braschi, Piazza Navona 2.


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

Elle Decor design exhibition Rome

Elle. Fjord chair 200 by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso  Elle Diamond Chair Harry Bertoia  for Knoll International 1952Elle. Chair One by Konstantin Grcic 2003 for Magis

A design exhibition that is also an experience. We are talking about 100% Original Design, the exhibition conceived and staged by Elle Decor Italy, within the D space of the MAXXI in Rome, which is free, and on for a few more weeks.

100% ORIGINAL DESIGN is integral to Be Original, the project in defense of high design, conceived and promoted in 2012 by Elle Decor Italy. An awareness campaign on the fight against counterfeiting of industrial design in Italy and in the world, in collaboration with authorities, institutions, and insiders, but also those directly involved, designers and publishers.

The Rome installation is the second leg of the exhibition, following it’s Milan success, in April 2014, where the show debuted in the rooms of the Royal Palace.

The Maxxi’s D space is a warehouse style loft space, which makes you feel that you are walking around a Manhattan penthouse. Except that you are at an exhibiton, in a maze of design masterpeices.

The exhibition is exciting, with many well known designs, like the corkscrew by Alessi, Flos, Miss Sissi and modular Kartell, objects and furniture that still inhabit our homes, and that have made design history. There is also the Eames Plastic Chair by Vitra, the Tulip Table by Eero Saarinen for Knoll International or the Egg chair by Fritz Hansen and Arne Jacobsen.

Chairs, lamps, containers, utensils of daily use like the food mixer, by Kitchen Aid, but also switches such as BTicino and Olivari handles, entertain the visitor through the exhibition path. Multimedia audio and video installations play in the background, with Madonna, Wham, and the Beatles, to interpret the concept of uniqueness and originality, too. The music adds to the nostalgic beat of the exhibition.

Elle Decor has selected 8 companies in total, to represent authentic Italian design, B&B Italia, Alessi, Cassina, Flaminia, Flos, Kartell, Knoll and Vitra. And, anything that promotes originality is a good thing. The wide selection of iconic pieces have marked the history of Italian and international design from the 50s to today. There are over seventy pieces to discover, or rediscover.


Curated by Elle Decor

Patronised by the Ministry of Economic Development, the Municipality of Rome Capital, the City of Milan Expo 2015

D space, MAXXI, Rome
Via Guido Reni, 4A
+39 06 320 1954

Let’s take a look at the designs highlighted in the exhibition

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