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Italian Fashion - Fall 2007 - Sweaters, Coats and Jackets
Judith Ayotte Greenwood
Autumn is a difficult time to report on street fashion. This year was perhaps even more difficult because like I hear from around the world that the weather is odd. The last of August was gusty, storm-ridden and chilly. September brought weather cool enough to surmise that there would be an early winter, and in those conditions Italians bundle up, wear lots of black, and are indiscernible from their winter selves.
I had two trips to Florence on the calendar, so I thought I'd see more variety than one sees in Perugia and Città di Castello. During the first trip it poured and what I saw was umbrellas. Ah well, in just a week I would return. But when I returned, the temperatures had soared to summer levels. Except at night, no one could bear to wear their autumn clothes. There's still a noticeable difference between the locals and the travelers, because even temperatures in the eighties couldn't pry the jackets off the Italian girls.
I walked the streets of Florence, looking at shop windows. What disappointment to see swathes of black! If there was another important color, it seemed to be purple, and yet so few women actually wear purple. Who will buy those acres of expensive purple at Dior, Diesel and Dolce and Gabbana? No one whose tan is fading to yellow.
The first autumn window to stand out is this one at Luisa Spagnoli. It isn't black or purple and includes the suit fashion columns are saying is back and important.
But on the street, this is how one Italian wears the suit. Quite a different take.
Most of the tourists were dressed as most tourists dress. Practical pants and layers that they have shed as the thermometer climbed make the look.
This man looks like he gave his image a thought or two.
This couple are tourists, but Italian. I loved the way they looked as they strolled past the back of the Duomo.
How do I know this young woman is Italian? The dog is a clue, but also the fit and choice of the velvet jacket on a really hot day, but she looks great, doesn't she?
That's what was on the streets, but we need to see more of the shops and the choices that could have been made and may yet be made once the cold returns.
Luisa Spagnoli, again, shows some colors to brighten up the night.
And this outfit might easily hit the streets when the winds start to blow, because Italians are not shy about wearing fur.
I was still not happy with what I'd seen. The window at Miu Miu had left me shocked, because for €2700 and up they were showing dresses and suits that looked homemade by a sewing tyro, with clumsy trims that looked pasted on in awkward places. Most of the other windows showed skinny pants and puffy jackets that were not different enough from the market stall clothes to justify sky high prices.
Atena in Città di Castello
So off to our old friend Giuseppina, who with Stefano, designs and sells the layers that are under the down coats. The shop is Atena in Città di Castello. Until the really cold and blowy season, most of these jackets and sweaters are all one needs until nighttime.
While a part of this Autumn's line is reminiscent of the 70s, I didn't photograph it because I don't like it. Once was enough for me. And a lot of it was purple. This jacket instead recalls the 30s and the Norfolk jacket.
This coat is so practical, over an equally practical short, tobacco brown sweater dress, that I may have to buy it.
When I saw what one could do by using a long, tobacco colored skirt as a dress under this blouson sweater, it seemed like perfect traveler clothing, because they are two pieces with endless other possibilities.
This is not an Italian girl on the street, but an Italian girl at work, wearing her own clothes in her own style, and happy with how she looks. That's the key, surely, to looking great.
It's already beginning to get colder again. Fall this year has been a wild ride, with my traveler friends complaining that they hadn't packed clothes that suited the weather. Heavy rains are predictable, some windy and chilly periods should be expected, too. Sunny days are not unusual, but when they head up into the high 70s and the 80s, you'll be happy to have some layers you can doff without compromising your modesty. I certainly was.
I was restricted on this trip to what I had on my back plus what I could jam into a leather backpack hardly larger than a purse. I packed jeans, a pair of tissue weight black wool trousers, a sweater jacket that could tie over my shoulders, a couple of long-sleeved T-shirts, and a pashmina.
Good lace-up black walking shoes kept my feet in the required two pieces. My companion's more glamorous shoe choices had unfortunate and bloody results. Flats and peds are not for tourists who want to see every museum in Florence. There are an awful lot of them.
Body Cream for Travelers
It looks like soap, but it is solid body cream from Lush, newly opened in Florence, but well-established in North America.
It comes in various scents, all fairly clean and according to Lush, all natural. It melts at body temperature, so that you can stroke it on after your shower or especially just before going to bed, and avoid the dry, uncomfortable skin caused by heating or over-exposure to the sun.
Because it melts at 98.6F, it needs to be carried inside something, and Lush sells aluminum boxes for the purpose. Chic and slick they are, but a plastic sealable box will do as well.
I found it a great relief from itchy, dry skin on a recent trip, and you should be able to fly with it, too.
See large versions of these photos of Italian fashion.
© Judith Ayotte Greenwood, 2007
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