Is This Really My Home?

I landed my butt in Florence just over two weeks ago and it has been nothing short of a whirlwind. Between a day and a half of flying, a time change, and a culture shock, I am still settling into the way of life here. Now I am at the halfway point in my second week of school and I’m finally feeling like this could possibly be real life and not just a foggy daze that I am happily stuck in. Florence is, in just a few words, beautiful, amazing, delicious, hot, quaint, and slightly overwhelming at the moment! The next nine months of my life are going to be set in a different time zone, city, country, and continent… it’s safe to say that it takes some getting used to.

This was the point during which I wondered if I could actually wheel both these suitcases while carrying a backpack and second carry on!

This was the point during which I wondered if I could actually wheel both these suitcases while carrying a backpack and second carry on!

Upon touching down here in Italia, a few major differences have come to mind right away. Florence has no idea what a grid system is and having decided to only use my phone with Wi-Fi, I had my head in a tiny map with twisty semi-labeled roads for my first few days here! I decided to take my first run in Florence just the other day as an attempt to burn off a small percentage of the carbs I have taken in since being here. I figured if I ran straight, I could simply turn around, but of course the street I was on ended so I just took a turn. I ran twisting around streets for about 20 minutes and suddenly ended up on my very own street… without trying to. All I can say is that at least I tried to exercise.

My pretty little cappucino

My pretty little cappucino

A second major difference is the price of food and drinks here. After living in New York City for two years, I expect a coffee to be nothing short of $2.50. My now daily cappuccino, that I order “take away” en route to class, costs me 1.20 Euro, or $1.54. It even comes with a chocolate design doodled into the steamed milk each morning, something I am sure Starbucks would have charged me extra for.

My five Euro sandwich- turkey, mozzarella, arugula, zucchini, tomatoes and truffle spread

My five Euro sandwich- turkey, mozzarella, arugula, zucchini, tomatoes and truffle spread.

A panini down the street from my apartment is just 3.50 Euro and the best sandwich I have ever tasted was only 5.00 Euro and a short walk away. The prices can definitely go up from there, but as a girl on a budget I’m content with seeking out the best deals.

I have chosen to live alone during my time here and so far I am enjoying this decision. My rent is not even close to what I would be paying if I lived in New York alone and though my apartment is small, it’s certainly enough room for one person. My apartment is a short walk to my friends’ apartments, bars (a bar is a coffee shop here), stores for everything I may need, and the Mercato Centrale. Mercato Centrale is the most amazing fresh market with fruits, vegetables, cheeses, breads, meats, and fish- it’s a quick stop to get ingredients for whatever I am in the mood to cook. Apartment hunting, although stressful, ultimately worked out. Life seems to have assured that each of us made it where we were supposed to be. Now that I have a place to return home to at the end of the day that feels like my own, it’s much easier to picture Florence as my life and not just a temporary vacation. That being said, it’s a life I am most certainly getting used to.

Exploring Firenze... and wishing this was my front gate

Exploring Firenze… and wishing this was my front gate

I am trying to slowly, but surely explore the city. Everywhere I walk I think “Oo I should eat there” or “Wow that place looks awesome.” I have to keep reminding myself that there is plenty of time in nine months to stop back at these places and I don’t have to stock up on every croissant or gelato flavor all at once (although it is tempting to do just that). The most important part of being here for me is to just see it all and take it all in. I’m constantly pushing myself to get out and walk around even when it’s only me. How else will I see all the secret beauties within these city walls?

Everyone says that traveling is easy in Florence and Europe and through Polimoda I took my first trip this past weekend to “Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre.” Cinque Terre was a two-hour bus ride to some of the most gorgeous views I have ever seen. We had the option to hike or go to the beach and the active side of me(and the side that’s been eating all the carbs) chose the hike. Though they made it seem easy, it was quite the uphill climb, but each step and my one wipe out, was more than worth it. As you climbed up the hills you walked past rows and rows of grapes growing in thick bunches. The views were absolutely incredible as you looked out at the jagged coastline created by the Mediterranean Sea. It was breathtaking to stop and see the lush, green mountainside, with the small clusters of colorful homes nestled together down near the sea. After the hike, I took a dip into the Mediterranean Sea. Prior to leaving I ordered homemade pasta with homemade pesto, a Cinque Terre specialty. It was a fulfilling day in just about every way.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

My Italian adventure is just beginning and I can’t wait to keep sharing it. For now, arrivederci!

The Beginning Of An Italian Adventure

Thinking back to the day I submitted my application to study abroad in Florence for the semester truly does seem like forever ago. Upon my arrival to Florence I really didn’t know what to expect nor did I think I should have any expectations. Florence has so much to offer whether it be the immense amount of delicious gelato, the Florentine Fleur-de-lis scattered throughout the beautiful city, wine being cheaper than water, aperitivo, which is more or less a happy hour with food, amazing art and architecture such as The David, The Ponte Vecchio and The Duomo are just to name a few of the amazing things here in Florence.

1555559_10204566140139164_251544910540943985_n

Leaving JFK and Headed to MXP (with Samantha Seltzer, Caitlyn Hansen, Lauren Turkowski, Marisa Miller)

370,000 people make up this beautiful city and 15,000 American students come to study each year. After arriving to Florence, less than two weeks ago, I can definitely say that I already couldn’t be happier with my choice to come and study here for the next four months. Traveling from JFK, NY to Milan and then from Milan to Florence, was a complete adventure in and of itself. Luckily, I had the opportunity to travel with some of my best friends and of course that made the experience 10x better. I can ultimately say that I had no idea what to expect when arriving at the MXP airport in Milan. It was all so different and all so new that it  didn’t seem right for me to have any expectations. I felt that it would be best to “roll with the punches” and make the best of whatever comes my way, because how many times do you get to study abroad in Florence, Italy?

image 1.43.27 PM

View of Florence from San Niccolò Tower

Once arriving to Florence, my friends and I stayed in a hostel for a few days to get acclimated and get orientated with school and transition ourselves from our “American ways”. It is truly so interesting and funny to see how different Italians are from Americans. For starters, most of the stores and businesses were closed for the month of August for a vacation more or less. They close their stores around 2-3 everyday for a lunch break. They use a different sized paper than we do (they use A4), they have a different garbage system than us, tipping waiters/waitresses, as well as cab drivers, is unheard of and people normally never do it (unfortunately, we learned the hard way and ended up tipping our cab driver 5 euro the first day we got here, but i’m pretty sure we made his day much better). Most of the Italians here do all speak English, but it is all very broken English and can be hard to communicate sometimes, but I like that because I look at that as a challenge and a way to push myself to learn as much Italian as possible. Wine is cheaper than water (literally) and tap water isn’t served at restaurants and is looked at as kind of funny if you request it. If you want an Latte (like the type you order in America) do not just ask for a latte because a latte here is just milk, and of course my friend Marisa got served steamed milk and it was hilarious and a learning experience. We ended up walking over 10 miles everyday last week and over 20,000 steps each day (I know this all thanks to my wonderful Fitibit tracker) so gaining weight shouldn’t be such a worry and that just means more room for gelato.

11275_10204577301578193_7547190320858132806_n

First Night In Florence With Friends (with Samantha Seltzer, Caitlyn Hansen, Marisa Miller, Lauren Turkowski, Teresa Kelly, Christie Suozzo & Alexandria Marini)

We have seen the Duomo (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore) located in the Piazza del Duomo, the San Niccolò Tower, The Ponte Vecchio and more and more each day we are here. We found an apartment the third day we were here and got it as soon as we could. We moved in and so far we love it. There are two bedrooms, a large living space, a kitchen and two bathrooms. School is only a 7 or 10 minute walk for us so we love the easy commute. There are 70 FIT students here in Florence, attending Polimoda and we all take the same classes, with the same teachers with the same students. There are a mix of fashion design students as well as fashion merchandising students.

I have plans to travel and I hope to see as much as I can. Being here was one of the best decisions I have made and I know how much I will love looking back on this experience. I want to meet new people, experience different cultures and gain new perspectives of the worlds around me. This was a blessing to be given such an amazing opportunity (thank you again mom and dad) and I want to take full advantage of this time, even if it does mean emptying my wallet…completely. I am excited to write more posts of all of the fashions, adventures and experiences that I will come across during my stay here. So for now, ciao and arreverdici!

10577209_10204526372869802_7165972585714168612_n

First Day In Florence, Italy–August 24th,204

 

 

Fun academic trip to Linea Pelle

On the past Wednesday all the design major students went to a trade show with our professors in Bologna, we got to get outside of Florence again and it was such an amazing trade show! Its name is called:Linea Pelle.

Linea Pelle is basically a Leather, synthetic fabrics and accessories show. There were four buildings just for showing leathers, and rest of them were for other fabrics and etc. It was crazy for how many different kinds of leathers that we saw, and more important is the techniques they use for create different affects in leathers. It was amazing.

I also love the trend area, that was actually my favorite part of the entire trade show. We got to see the trend for 2015 spring and summer, just like it was in Premiere Visione in Paris, but I think this one is more fun and contains lots of new and interesting things! Fabrics that made of plastic, synthetic leather, what we called scuba fabric…everything, just gave me lots and lots of inspirations!

At the end I saw this amazing 3D printed shoes. They were unbelievable, the hole shoes was made by layers and layers putting together, which are all printed by 3D printer, they are metal –like and looks very heavy, but actually when you hold it, it feels just like paper. Well instead of print paper only, 3D printer right now can print all kinds of material, which is the progress of the technique, I am really happy to see it!

Unfortunately the whole trade show didn’t allow me to take any pictures, but I did find some pictures online, hope you all gets the spirit! blog1

QQ截图20140316004831

 

pictures from www.zanzanisrl.com

This is the company who makes these amazing shoes!

LV

Sure time flies!

About a week ago we came back from Paris, in between our tight schedule we got to visit the Louis Vuitton store at Avenue Montaigne in Champs Élysées. It was not your normal retail visit; the VIP Manager of the store guided us.

IMG_4390

IMG_1109

IMG_1112

Of coarse not only the goods, such as the Spring collection, handbags and other accessories but the decoration and the architecture would provoke a gasp or two for fashion devotees.

IMG_1121

Kevin, the manager explained to us the beginnings of the brand and how production and operations work. We were taken to the private rooms where special clients are taken to make their customs orders.

IMG_1125 IMG_1129

It was such a nice experience to get an inside on one of the most iconic luxury brands, our guide Kevin was amazing and very inclusive, even knowing we are students we were still treated with excellence and professionalism.

Working with Massimiliano Giornetti

Ciao tutti!

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of sleepless nights and extreme excitement. We just returned from Paris, which of course was pure magic. But the week before the big trip, we FD2 students had a major project on our hands. We had the surreal opportunity to present our final showcase ideas to Massimiliano Giornetti, the creative director of Salvatore Ferragamo.

We have been preparing since we returned from winter break, gathering research, drafting thumbnails, and narrowing down 10-12 designs to present to Mr. Giornetti. On top of this we had to create a print design for our fabric. Amazingly, we will have our own unique three meters of fabric professionally printed, which we will then incorporate into our final showcase look. The Ratti Group, Mantero, and ISA seta (printers for companies such as Versace, Hermès, Dior, and, of course, Ferragamo) are digitally printing all 21 of our designs! Talk about pressure to create something nice.

On top of the print development and collection development, we have all become professional model hunters. Our final look will be presented on a living, breathing girl, allowing us to create a head-to-toe look. For the past few weeks we have ducked around grocery store aisles, done double takes in the hallways, strolled around the center—hoping to glimpse a lean leggy beauty we can persuade to make our final looks sing.

On presentation day we nervously awaited feedback from Mr. Giornetti. There was no need for nerves though. He was cool, relaxed, and genuinely interested in all of our collections. Sorry I have no pics from the presentation! I was too busy trying to seem professional and composed. Yet now the real work begins! I’ve got my sewing machine rented and about 10 yards of chiffon to buy.  I can’t wait to take pictures of everyone’s progress.