It’s almost midterms in our 2nd semester here in Italy. Towards the beginning of the semester many people were changing their house arrangements. I, as well, decided to change where I was living. I found a home here in Italy that is incredible. Although it is a bit farther from the school it is nice to come home to a beautiful house. Many of the girls here have very nice accommodations fitting their needs wither it is silence, space, comfort, convenience or affordability. Most of the living in Italy isn’t newly built but the rustic antique vibes can be fantastic when trying to find that burst of inspiration. Some of the first year girls have decided to room with other girls in second year, some girls have found apartments by themselves or home stays and a few (like me) are living with Italians. The possibilities are endless, if you don’t feel comfortable living with Italians you can room with a friend but the quickest way to learn Italian is living with people that speak it fluently. Thank You F.I.T. for giving me the opportunity to live in such a beautiful city!!
Paris brings a lot of opportunities for fashion design students. Being in Study Abroad with F.I.T. we have the advantage of going to different places. We went to the YSL foundation where they have kept every single fashion drawing that Yves Saint Laurent ever drew. We also met an eco designer by the name of Eva Zingoni who had an Intern that was mentored by Zac Posen and is now working free lance in Paris at the age of 23. Eva Zingoni’s Idea of taking the unused fabrics from top end designers reinvents the idea of moderation and using surplus to one’s advantage. First ever tour of the Hermes store in Paris was given to all the fashion design students from Florence attending F.I.T. We learned about every little detail of the reason things are decorated a certain way and we heard many different stories about all the celebrities that had visited the store. In Paris there is a store on Rue du Bouloi that takes eating to a whole new level. Many fiction writers have imagined that in the future we would all be drinking fumes and eating magic pills. Who would have thought that drinking fumes is possible today? The Lab Store created this candy tube called le whiff where you breathe in the partials of chocolate get a great full mouthful of flavor without the calories! We also went to Premier Vision and a couture pleater and my favorite… The Louvre!! Paris was incredible, thank you again F.I.T. in Florence!!! Oh and here is a hint about what spring/summer of 2013 will bring: A lot of Green!
“Round, round, get around. I get around,” said The Beach Boys, but boy do Italians know how to get around because there are more than enough ways to get around in Italy! From tram to train and bus to bike if you need to get somewhere Florence has something to get you there. I prefer to walk, this way I get to see everything around me and it’s easier to find small little stores that you have never seen before. But every morning I take my bike to school and then home again. This is environment friendly, but don’t get too casual with where you put your bike or else someone will be friendly enough to leave you with a whole lotta nothing. Buses are the most inconvenient convenience. Almost never on time, will leave without you, you will be fined if you don’t have a ticket (up to 240 Euros), can get overly crowded, and they go on strikes… a lot. But the upsides are: You know when there will be a strike, if the bus is late another will come in 15-30 min., it’s one of the faster ways to get around, and the tickets are cheap if you know which ones to get. [Helpful insight: If you don’t want to pay for a year round ticket I suggest getting a 30 euro swipe card… it gives you 35 rides of 90min each to use at your discretion. Regular tickets are 1,20]. The other ways of getting around are Motorcycles, Scooters, and of course cars… but watch out! It’s a game of don’t bump the bumper-cars in Italy. Oh and if you’re the kind that prefers to get out of Florence there are Buses, Trains and Airplanes at your convenience. Oh and don’t forget…., counterclockwise around the roundabout is the “smarter” way to go… I’ve tried the other direction. Trust me, doesn’t work.
Imagine wearing a piece from the new Dior autumn/winter line, Ferragamo Pumps and clutch, and a killer pair of Dolce and Gabbana shades. Then imagine stepping out of a Ferrari Scaglietti (in black) and being ushered to your suite in a five star hotel on the river bank of Florence called the St. Regis. Sometimes I wish that was me, but sadly I was only a spectator.
One of the people I share an apartment with is a dance instructor and he invited me to watch a show case at the St. Regis hotel. It was shocking to see a place that beautiful. Gold, expensive fabrics, and paintings galore!! I walked into the ballroom and was even more stunned with what the women and men were wearing. Flowy fabrics and styles inspired by the 20’s flapper girls and the 30’s Hollywood glamor. It was when I was watching these women twirl and spin that an amazing realization hit me. The movement of the body can either enhance a garment or be enhanced by a garment. I know teachers can tell you this over and over again but then again Goethe said it best, “In the end we retain from our studies only that which we practically apply.”
When the dancers stopped and the music turned to a lull of sound I decided to leave. On exiting the hotel I saw a larger man in an ebony suit with spit polished shoes. He had short white hair and was sporting not only diamonds and gold on his watch but I’m sure if he had any cavities they would have been capped with the same. All I could think was…. It’s the Godfather! I was tempted to run up to him, kiss his ring then beg him to fund my fashion career. But then again I’m not that gutsy.
In high school seeing your teacher outside of class is like finding out that the tooth fairy doesn’t exist- scratch that – It’s like finding out that the tooth fairy is really just a hairy fat guy in a tutu…. unpleasant. “You mean teachers have lives?! They don’t sleep under the desks and eat chalk?” “No, they are just like you and me, they eat sleep, go to movies and have lives. Sometimes you can even run into them on the street…. weird right?”
In college seeing your professor outside of school is actually pretty nice. My classmates and I were invited to the restaurant of our sewing and flat pattern Professor: La Terrazza Del Principe. The walk up to the restaurant is beautiful! Big houses, tons of greenery and the leaves that are falling off the trees turns it into a wonderland of color. When we got to the restaurant we were surprised. It looked like the food should have cost more but it was extremely reasonable considering the high-end atmosphere. She showed us around the restaurant and I was surprised to find a very nice wine cellar (where one can have a romantic candle lit dinner), and a beautiful view of Florence from the garden deck.
Our professor’s husband is from Sicily and made us some of the best Italian pasta I have had. One was a creamy white sauce with pistachios and the other was a red sauce with egg plant (Pasta alle Norma). The sun dried tomatoes were to die for! After dinner she brought out Tiramisu and I had some Almond Panna with chocolate. It was fun getting to eat some delicious food and it was even more fun seeing our professor run a top notch restaurant! Thank You F.I.T. in Florence!