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What We Love about Italian Fashion

[ 2011-05-24 12:41]     字号 [] [] []  
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By Damyanti Ghosh

卓言 选 王雪娇 译

Looking good in Italy is a national obsession. Forget football, fast cars and food. This nation’s favourite pastime is style. Italians grow up in a culture of “bella figura”. This translates literally as “beautiful figure” but is more specifically understood as “a good image”. This is not only related to what you wear but involves how you “appear”: etiquette, reputation, style are all equally important. The way you present yourself to the world matters hugely. In a country where, even the police uniforms are designed by Valentino and footballers are kitted out by Mr. Armani, Italians consider it essential to look good pretty much from birth.

This is not a new phenomenon and is in no way related to individual finances. Indeed, a little bit of style in Italy can take you a very long way. For Italians style is cultural democracy; in the words of Italy’s most famous journalist, Luigi Barzini, “where poverty can be worn with dignity... it is not noticeable or embarrassing”. In times of national and international disaster, Italians can be relied on to put their best fashion foot forward. When the first tourists arrived in Italy after WWII, they were stunned at the importance placed on fashion by the young men and women lounging in the bars and cafés of Rome. One observer commented, “Some of them would go without eating to devote the few pennies they had to buying suits, shirts and dresses which would enable them to cut a dignified figure at the passeggiata.”

Italians seem to be quite happy to sacrifice comfort for style and elegance. And they insist on attention to detail. Never have I seen an Italian with a missing button on their suit, a hem falling down or sporting an unpressed outfit. I have also never seen an Italian woman in a pair of trainers. These impressive signorinas tackle the most gnarly of cobblestones in high heels with the grace of a gazelle and the determination of an Olympic athlete. Perhaps this is only to be expected. Italy is, of course, the shoe capital of the world.

Style and function are inseparable in Italy and this is reflected in attitudes to dress. Italians favour well-tailored cuts in neutral colours like black, white, beige and navy. Natural fabrics reign supreme and showing too much flesh is considered déclassé. As Sophia Loren said, “A woman’s dress should be like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.” For a slice of la dolce vita, add a couple of dresses to your core wardrobe. You should treat yourself to a shirtdress, a shift dress and an archetypal little black dress. The first two will cover all bases whether at work or play. Both can be dressed up or down; try a beautifully-stamped Italian leather belt to cinch in the waist of your shirt dress or a little cashmere cardigan to drape over the shoulders of your shift. You can go anywhere: from drinks at Harry’s Bar in Rome, dinner at Cipriani in Venice to a delicious ice cream at Cova in Milan.

A well-cut suit is a worthwhile investment. If you choose wisely, you will be able to wear the jacket and trousers as separates, which makes a careful wardrobe choice go a long way. Any trouser style will do: cigarette pants for those long of leg, highwaisted for the fashionistas among you or tapered if you prefer a more classic silhouette. The key is in the cut. Make sure the suit fits you like a dream and if it doesn’t take it to a tailor—a true Italian will not suffer an ill-fitting outfit.

Accessories are where you make your personal mark. A jewel-coloured scarf, an iridescent silk blouse, a neon pump, some understated yet fabulous jewellery; Italians prefer to personalise with details.

Logos are out. The only thing worth advertising is yourself. Italian designers have been hailed the world over since the heady, stylised days of Elsa Schiaparelli. Referred to by Coco Chanel as “the Italian artist who makes clothes”, Schiaparelli loved to juxtapose colours, textures and silhouettes and is often acknowledged as the designer’s designer. More recently the houses of Prada, Gucci, Fendi, Missoni, Versace, Valentino, Armani and Cavalli have dominated the fashion headlines. Whether it is the subdued chic of Armani or the extravagant glamour of Cavalli, Italian designers retain their pole position at the top of the fashion world’s radar.

追求光鲜体面的外表是意大利人痴迷的执念。忘掉足球、快车和美食吧,这个国家最热衷的消遣是时尚。意大利人生长在bella figura的文化中,这一词直译是指“迷人的身姿”,但更常被理解为“良好的形象”。这不仅仅与你穿什么有关,而是指你“看上去”怎么样:礼节、名声、时尚都同样重要。用何种方式向世人呈现自己极为关键。在意大利,就连警察制服都是由瓦伦蒂诺设计的,连足球运动员的行头都由阿玛尼先生亲自打造,意大利人自打出生开始就认为保持良好形象是最基本的。






名牌标识已经过时了。唯一值得宣传的就是你自己。自从艾尔萨•夏帕瑞丽开创的任性、极具风格的时代起,意大利设计师就一直在引领着世界潮流。被可可•香奈儿称作“做衣服的意大利艺术家”的夏帕瑞丽喜欢混搭不同颜色、材质和款式,被公认为设计师中的设计师。近几年,Prada(普拉达)、Gucci(古驰)、Fendi(芬迪)、 Missoni(米索尼)、Versace(范思哲)、 Valentino(瓦伦蒂诺)、 Armani(阿玛尼)和Cavalli(卡沃利)等品牌已经占据了新闻媒体时尚版面。无论是阿玛尼的柔和别致,还是卡沃利的奢华魅惑,意大利设计师在顶级时尚圈内始终占据着核心位置。



kit out 配备,装备

lounge (懒洋洋地)倚,吊儿郎当地消磨时间

passeggiata (尤指晚上的)闲逛,散步

cut 此处指雕琢,塑造

sport vt. 惹人注目地穿戴

trainer 〈英〉休闲运动鞋

signorina 小姐(对未婚女子的尊称,相当于Miss)

gnarly 〈主美口〉艰险且富于挑战的

gazelle 瞪羚(产于非洲和亚洲的一种小羚羊)

reign 盛行,主宰,占支配地位

supreme 至高无上

déclassé 失去原有社会地位(的人),落魄(的人)

Sophia Loren 索菲亚•罗兰(1934— ),意大利女影星,二战后最成功的国际影人,1992年获得奥斯卡终身成就奖,被誉为世界上最具自然美的人,意大利永远的女神

la dolce vita 意大利语,意味“甜蜜的生活”,常被认为是最适合形容意大利人生活的词汇

cinch 将……缚紧

drape over 使松散垂下,使随便地悬挂

Harry's Bar Harry酒吧位于罗马,创立于1911年,其装修古色古香的,钢琴演奏曼妙动听,以古典优雅的欧洲风情为主题

Cipriani 创立于1958年,是位于意大利威尼斯的著名奢华酒店

Cova Cova餐厅来自意大利米兰,成立于1817年,文艺气息浓厚,许多国际知名人士经常光顾,其主要顾客层为上流社会和中产阶级

like a dream 〈口〉轻而易举地,完美地

iridescent (变幻斑斓的)彩虹色的

tapered 锥形的

Elsa Schiaparelli 艾尔萨•夏帕瑞丽(1890-1973),意大利著名时装设计师。不同于同时代的著名设计师香奈尔,夏帕瑞丽认为时尚意味着新奇,所以主张新奇刺激的设计,“衣不惊人誓不休”。 她的设计奇而不失高雅,怪又不落俗套