why-do-artisan

Why do Artisan-Makers Matter?

It is often said that Italy is a fabled land, and as her natives, Cristina and I have to agree!  It is also where the art of making-by-hand still enchants all who come to appreciate its importance. In fact, from the Far East, to the Middle East, and on to the New World, those who specialise in the crafts have enriched cultures for centuries.

Read more

BON-TON-FATHER-GIOVANNI-DELLA-CASA-630-447

What is Bon-Ton?

What do Jacqueline Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Tilda Swinton have in common? Let us take you back to the 16th century to explain how the Italians came to define and know that special something, which the French call, Bon-Ton.

Read more

Editorial Protagonists of Style

We are honoured by editors at home and abroad who celebrate “il bello e ben fatto” – the beautiful and well made. They are becoming our protagonists in this soulful narrative of artisans staying true to all that is Italian and sharing their sublime expressions of timeless style, elegance and charm.

Read more

fb- Cashmere Jacket in Pearl Grey

Thoughtful Dressing

Celebrating self in our daily rituals

The daily ritual, to look inside our closets in search of something to wear, is a deeper search for self-hood than we often realise. What does it mean then when nothing in a closet appeals? Is it a reflection on the contents or a harsh critique of the self?

Read more

cashmere-yarn-multicolor-630x375

So Why is Cashmere so Expensive?

Insight from our resident cashmere expert — Nicola Luccarini.

Kashmir Mountains

Highlands of Kashmir where the indigenous goats provide us the finest cashmere fibres.

 

The fine quality cashmere offered by the e-boutique The Italian Collection comes from a very limited supply and its processing is labour intensive. In our quest for knowledge about why the wool is so elite and difficult to manufacture, we gathered details from our resident cashmere expert — Nicola Luccarini, the founder, artisan-designer and divine inspiration behind the cashmere-rich label that bears his name.
Read more

Firefly Drops Motif Earrings

Maria Vittoria Albani Exhibits at the Museo del Bijou

Select pieces represent 75 years of Italian creativity


Since the 1940s, Maria Vittoria Albani, has been adding chapters to her story as the indisputable protagonist of Italian costume jewellery. Her Ornella Bijoux brand creations were presented at the prestigious trade show, Super, in Milan.

Read more

75 years of Timeless Italian Bijoux – The Art of Albani

Haute couture jewellery since 1946


Throughout time, the baubles of historic atelier – Ornella Bijoux – have graced the pages of the French Le dictionanaire du bijoux, international exhibitions catalogs, and magazines Vogue and Elle.

 


Maria Vittoria Albani has earned her title as master of costume jewelry design by offering the world over 50 years of her inspiring creations filled with whimsical fancy and refinement that defy all elements of time.

 

Venetian Starburst Necklace by Italian jewelry designer Maria Vittoria Albani (MVA)

 

Venetian Starburst Necklace by Italian jewelry designer Maria Vittoria Albani (MVA)

Starburst Venetian Glass Necklace by Maria Vittoria Albani (MVA)

 

Method, passion, experimentation, inexhaustible creativity and exquisite taste are the ingredients that nurture her necklaces, bracelets, earrings, brooches, rings, crowns and suspender belts. These works of art are made entirely by hand in a plethora of materials – ceramics, woods, gold or silver gilt bronze and beautifully enameled metals – often paired with modern resins, sparkling crystals, hand-blown Venetian glass or semi-precious stones.

 

Embroidered Gold-Plated Metal Cuff by Italian jewelry designer Maria Vittoria Albani (MVA)

Embroidered Gold-Plated Metal Cuff by Maria Vittoria Albani (MVA)

 

Pomegranate Necklace by Italian jewelry designer Maria Vittoria Albani (MVA)

Pomegranate Necklace by Maria Vittoria Albani (MVA)

 

Since Maria’s mother opened the atelier by investing her life savings, after the war in 1946, the pieces have been designed and crafted meticulously, using only those techniques ordained by the “haute couture” of artisanal jewelers. Beginning then, and continuing until Maria took the helm in the 60s, all of these works have taken their rightful place as finery for insiders, desired by iconic fashion houses, and big international buyers alike.

 

Italian artisan hand crafting bijoux jewelry at MVA atelier” border=

 

Italian jewelry artisan hand making bijoux jewelry at MVA atelier” border=

 

Today, one enters Maria’s laboratory in Milan and is awestruck by the bounty of different forms and decorative motifs – be they vintage styles or modern creations. The collection of finery now includes some pieces by her daughter Simona, whose vision and impeccable taste mirrors her mothers’ and grandmothers’.

 

Black Eloxal Necklace by Italian jewelry designer Maria Vittoria Albani (MVA)

Black Eloxal Tear Drop Necklace by Maria Vittoria Albani (MVA)

 

Blue Swarovski Earrings by Italian jewelry designer Maria Vittoria Albani (MVA)

Blue Swarovski Crystal Earrings by Maria Vittoria Albani (MVA)

 

Maria tells us, “Do not let yourself be intimidated by their essence; rather allow your imagination to take hold and wear them with wild abandon as you recreate you in your vision.”

 

This is how Maria wears her brooch – in a way that captures her essence and honors the traditional sense – clipped to a lapel to beautify her jacket. But Maria encourages us to see that her precious butterfly brooch could just as easily be mounted on a leather bracelet or a multi-stranded necklace or even a choker. It is this infinite number of ways to play with Maria’s brooch that makes this piece, and all her collection, so discriminating.

 

Mother-of-pearl brooch by Italian jewelry designer Maria Vittoria Albani (MVA)

Mother-of-Pearl Brooch by Maria Vittoria Albani (MVA)

 

Her brooch, like her entire line defies and eclipses fashion diktats. These precious baubles are created to be worn with a touch of panache given by the wearer, in unexpected ways, and this is how they convey, so uniquely, that “way of being” that is so unmistakably Italian.

 

 Enameled Butterfly Motif Choker by Italian jewelry designer Maria Vittoria Albani (MVA)

Enameled Butterfly Motif Choker by Maria Vittoria Albani (MVA)

 

Cristina and Myriam, co-founders of TheItalianCollection.com are so proud to have Maria Vittoria Albani gracing their e-boutique. We are hopeful that you will visit her soon, and peruse a capsule that is in every sense of the word unique for each piece is made especially for you.

Myriam and Cristina

More from Myriam Altieri-Haslinger on Google+

Wearable Art by Alessandro Cattaneo


Alessandro Cattaneo of UNICI is the creator of an exquisite collection of scarves. An artist at heart, each scarf is a work of art, a vehicle of artistic endeavor.

 


Whimsical patterns framed in splendid colors, and edged by hand, each scarf is more than a fashion accessory! It is more a sort of wearable art; particularly in the way they interact with the person depending on how they are worn.

 

Whimsical patterned UNICI collection scarves Alessandro Cattaneo

 

Alessandro works north of Milan, not far from the pristine, icy cold waters of Lake Como; a place where palatial villas, Medici-style gardens, splendid churches and quaint fishing villages have held sway for centuries.

 

 Alessandro Cattaneo hails from Lake Como Italy

 

 Alessandro Cattaneo hails from Lake Como Italy

 

 Alessandro Cattaneo hails from Lake Como Italy

 

Mindful of the beauty that surrounds him, it is not happenstance that nature is often his muse; consistently nurturing his work and imbuing his designs with that personal touch.

 

UNICI Silk & Wool Scarf Collection by Alessandro Cattaneo

UNICI Silk & Wool Scarf Collection by Alessandro Cattaneo

 

Measuring sixty-eight inches long and twenty-six inches high these wildly abundant silk-mix scarves can be draped for impact, Isadora Duncan like around ones neck, Or, if you are looking to get into the hippie chic look this season why not tie it around your head creating a very distinctive head scarf!

 

UNICI Scarf Collection by Alessandro Cattaneo, Como, Italy

 

You can even make it a wrap-around, a soft shawl to keep out the late evening chill. How you wear this scarf is entirely up to you; just allow your imagination to take hold and create your own personal style and be a style-maker?

 

UNICI Scarf Collection by Alessandro Cattaneo, Como, Italy

 

So be merry, be playful and be elegant too with these artistic expressions by Alessandro Cattaneo!

Myriam and Cristina

More from Myriam Altieri-Haslinger on Google+

A Beautiful and Well-made Bag by Valentina Nuzzi


“La borsa bella e ben fatta” — a beautiful and well-made bag — is an accessory par excellence whose imprint of elegance is desirable no matter the occasion. Be it a shoulder bag, a hand-held, a shopper or a clutch, what is paramount is that the design, quality and details all fuse to live in perfect harmony.

This perfection, that Italians know all too well, is what compelled us to include the refined creations by Valentina Nuzzi; owner and creative director of the brand FedoraMi within The Italian Collection.

Each of Valentina’s bags is made with a maniacal attention to detail: from the selection of the highest quality skins, to the hardware, to the trims all sewn by hand, to the finishes in contrasting colors and lined perfectly in Liberty fabric. All this personalized craftsmanship is not happenstance. Valentina is hands on from the beginning to the end of the production chain.

FedoraMi V Bag

FedoraMi V Bag of Python Skin by Valentina Nuzzi

And so we sat down with the founder and creator of FedoraMi to learn how she came to be inspired to make these Made-in-Italy handbags reminiscent of the 1960s.

“La borsa bella e ben fatta” is a concept that Valentina adopted in childhood when playing in her grandmother’s wardrobe. As a grandchild of a beautiful and elegant lady, she could play for hours on end amusing herself with her grandmother’s 1960s wearables. Valentina was particularly fond of the handbags made by the best artisans of the day; objects of legend and desire that would, in time, inform her own aesthetic.

Now, at a mere 30-something, with her long mane of blonde hair and enchanting smile, Valentina’s apparent zest for life is still a child-like a ray of sunshine. Her preferred look may be simple, but it is put together with an impeccable touch: jeans, tailored silk shirt, Converse sneakers…and of course FedoraMi – a unique object that sets her apart.

Valentina Nuzzi in Milan markets

A native of Milan and a woman of the world, Valentina is endowed with oodles of style, and has a personality filled with contrasting points of view: creative, but with a strong entrepreneurial bent, contemporary, but with a passion for vintage, a fast and furious lifestyle, but with a putting, iconic FIAT 500! And to top it off, she has a razor sharp eye for beauty that is the envy of all who come in contact with her.

It was during her years as a student – again we see those personality contrasts – studying the Classics and ending up with a degree in International Marketing – that she begins to toy around with the idea of the “bag project”. With a yearning to discover egged on by an insatiable curiosity, Valentina begins her adventure by going to flea markets in Rome, London, Paris and Los Angeles – all cities she loves – on a mission to find discarded bags of the decade that she holds so dear.

Valentina immerses herself in learning about skins, textiles, and production, and she begins to devour books on design, art and artisanship. She then practically moves in with Milan-based master craftspeople with a clear objective in mind: to bring back to life the bags of the 1960s bestowing on them a contemporary feel and cradling them in the highest quality possible. A challenge certainly, but one that Valentina approaches with all her heart!

FedoraMi Pandora Bag

Pandora Bag in Azure Blue by Valentina Nuzzi

In 2011, the first creations appear: Valora, the doctor’s bag made in deer hide, is perhaps the most labor-intensive piece of the collection. The highly versatile and transformative Ilora, hand-held or worn as a shoulder bag, it is the perfect carry-all companion. And then Isidora, a sophisticated pochette featuring a charming ribbon- shaped closure in metal and worn as a wristlet or across the shoulder.

Many other creations followed, among them Tina, a very pretty cylindrical piece, VBag, the tiny wristlet in exotic python skin or in leather, and the multitasking day to night Teodora clutch.

FedoraMi Tina Bag

Tasseled Tina Bag in Lipstick Red by Valentina Nuzzi

Glitter Clutch

Teodora Clutch in Silver Glitter by Valentina Nuzzi

We at TheItalianCollection.com are honored to be presenting Valentina Nuzzi’s work, which has been featured in highly reputable and prestigious fashion blogs and publications in Europe for its originality, versatility and time-defying élan.

Now we can bring these covetable collectables to the States, and introduce, to our clients, this nascent designer whose zest for life and fine accessories are a testament to inspired style.

Myriam and Cristina

More from Myriam Altieri-Haslinger on Google+

The Power and Elegance of Social Graces


Many summers ago I was sitting in a quiet corner of a fine dining establishment on the Cote d’Azur called “The African Queen” when four strapping lads sat at a large table set for eight right next to mine. They were noticeably handsome, incredibly well groomed and looked like they had stepped out of a Brioni atelier.

African Queen

When their equally elegant parents arrived, each of the young men arose from their chairs and in a perfectly gentlemanly manner assisted the ladies in theirs. What a rare, welcome sight to see social graces in action. I felt this surge of blissful comfort and wanted so much to say, “Thank you!”

Flair Magazine

Not long after that unique experience, my partner, Cristina, who lives in Milan, shared an interview that appeared in the reputable Italian publication Flair Magazine. Six journalists declared the coming new year as an age of soft power – whereby soulful elegance beat aggression and advocates of harmony and social grace tended to be more successful.

Audrey Hepburn

At this point you may be wondering, “What do social graces and courtesy have to do with fine Italian fashion?” Well, how we think and how we behave determines how we express ourselves.

Subscribing to soft power, traditional social graces, and elegance in our world, here at The Italian Collection, translates to endorsing traditional style and elegance over fashion and trends.

Cate Blanchett

Audrey Hepburn

It pains us to see the decline of treasured social graces just as it pains us to see the decline of Old World specialty handcraft ateliers.

This is why we have chosen to represent the artisans of soft power here in Italy — artists who operate from the heart, whose innate talents and gifts manifest in gorgeous handmade items that defy time — continuing to give new life to traditional elegance without pandering to trends and becoming commodities.

Pomegranite Necklace

Pomegranate Necklace by Maria V. Albani (MVA)

Cuff

Embroidered Gold-Plated Metal Cuff by Maria V. Albani (MVA)

Glitter Clutch

Teodora Clutch in Gold Glitter by Valentina Nuzzi

We at The Italian Collection believe that it is in the reinterpretation and rebirth of old ways — the soft power of social graces and timeless fashions — that allow the present to be rendered rich and bountiful. This is why each one of our artisan collections captivates the eye and our sensibilities with their own homage to soft power as they use traditional ways to make their craft and produce results that embody today’s graceful and elegant fashion sense.

So, go forth and embody soft power through your courteous, kind actions and your aura of elegance. It will draw others to you like moths to a flame!

Throws

Morbido Throws by Filippo Biagiotti

Come visit our unique emporium –
itcollection.staging.wpengine.com – and engage in soft power!

Myriam and Cristina

More from Myriam Altieri-Haslinger on Google+