WAG’s September “Fascinating Fashions” issue could well be served alfredo, Bolognese or fra diavolo, as it salutes in part Italy’s contributions to fashion and beauty.
“Italy has always symbolized high-end luxury and fashion, along with dedication to workmanship and commitment to beauty and style,” observes Alessandra Vicedomini, whose vibrant personality (on display during our recent meeting at Mary Jane Denzer in White Plains) and second-generation fashion house, begun by papa Giuseppe, convey all the warmth and sensuality of Italian culture.
But she is by no means the only exemplar. Gucci — which is having a big year with its sponsorship of The Met Costume Institute’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion” — has just opened a new store in The Westchester that builds on its reputation for luxurious excellence. The Italian Beauty Council, which represents such skincare and makeup lines as Skin & Co Roma and Ancorotti Cosmetics, is making vast inroads into the $89.5 billion American beauty market. And though handbag designer Tyler Ellis — another second-generation fashionista as the daughter of 1970s menswear designer Perry Ellis — is based stateside, her sumptuous handbags are created by a father-and-son atelier outside Florence.
Not all of Italia is imported. Homegrown designer Dennis Basso had us in thrall (and in stitches) at the Bruce Museum’s annual “Art of Design” luncheon at Greenwich Country Club with his richly textured creations and musings about a life in the fashion biz.
Fashion is, as Basso himself would note, more than a sensuous dress or sumptuous handbag. It’s part of the integrated whole of who you are, which includes where and how you live. And that’s why in addition to profiles of fashionistos like the legendary Pierre Cardin, subject of a retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum (Mary’s story) and recent “Project Runway” winner Sebastian Grey (Gregg’s interview), we look at the late, legendary Croton-on-Hudson textile designer Vera Neumann, Karen Tolchin of Current Home in Scarsdale and the clever chair exhibit at ArtsWestchester in White Plains (Mary again); while Jeremy considers The Armour-Stiner Octagon House in Irvington, now open for tours; Dave Prutting of Prutting & Co. Custom Builders; and Michelin star chef Andrew Cain, now translating his culinary skills to Phelps Hospital. Meanwhile, Cami discusses the integration of fashion and home in her Wares column, subjects that also intersect in our new What’s Trending column, which opens the book.
Design envelops and inspires, sometimes quite literally (Bob’s take on artist Amanda Browder’s Christo-like plans for ArtsWestchester’s Arts Exchange headquarters; Phil’s story on National Academy of Design paintings at the New Britain Museum of American Art). It comforts and consoles (Robin’s feature on the unusual Dog Chapel on Vermont’s Dog Mountain.) And it transcends its original meaning (as in the New York Yankees cap, universal symbol of America), taking flight.
On Sept. 28, The Fearless Angel Project will hold its annual gala at Greenwich Country Club to support underserved families who have children with autism. Everyone will wear blue, silver and white to create a heavenly setting, founding director Izabela O’Brien says, in which to raise funds for what is often a less than heavenly challenge. The silver, blue and white represent a couture palette for compassion, a color scheme for action — a design for living.
A 2018 Folio Women in Media Award Winner, Georgette Gouveia is the author of the “The Penalty for Holding” (reissued this month by JMS Books), a 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist, and “Water Music” (Greenleaf Book Group). They’re part of her series of novels, “The Games Men Play,” also the name of the sports/culture blog she writes at thegamesmenplay.com. Readers may find her novel “Seamless Sky” and “Daimon: A Novel of Alexander the Great” on wattpad.com.