Interviewed by Francesca Belluomini and originally published in Style File on www.chicfb.com.
FB – I have read somewhere that extroverts spark and introverts glow. There’s always a unique brilliance in anyone, how did you find yours?
AL – Finding one’s own brilliance is a process. I believe that it needs to start from deep within. For me, it was about understanding what it is that allows me to be in my most creative space, my ultimate zone of genius. I knew that I loved being surrounded by and working with entrepreneurs. It’s their creative way of thinking, their openness to new ideas and that ‘no constraints’ mindset that inspires me to create, think beyond my perceived limits and bring new ideas to life.
It also is about creating an experience that transcends time, place and culture. Creating something that combines my extensive travel and cultural experiences into something universal. I believe that as entrepreneurs there are certain tenets we all share, whether it’s common values, struggles, successes, the appreciation for what’s different and unique…
That’s why I the internal part is so crucial. It really is the foundation for everything else we do. Once you have figured that part out, you can express it in any way you want and that expression may change and evolve over time. I combined my passion with the love of intellectual challenge and my deep expertise in media, marketing and strategy. Because ultimately, my goal is to bring something of value to my clients.
And I go through that same process with my clients too. First, we go deep to find their fundamental brilliance and then we intertwine it with their skills, expertise and our knowledge of the market. The end goal is to create unique, distinct offerings that are highly valued and desirable in the marketplace.
FB – What’s your take when it comes to defining your style (or brand)?
AL – Hmmm…I think our style is very important as it is the expression of who we are on the inside. For the past year, I have been going through a lot of transition and internal transformation. When I left my corporate job and became entrepreneur, I didn’t realize how much implication that would have on my personal style. My style is now evolving at a rapid pace, making it difficult for me to keep up haha – a big surprise, as I’m now realizing that prior to that, my style hasn’t really changed that much for the last 10 years.
Over the last few months I learned that style is not something that we can just define overnight – even though believe me I tried, and even believed I could do so. Now that I have my own personal brand, my style is more important than ever. I had worked with multiple stylists and tried to reinvent my style before each new branding photoshoot over the last year – while I believe that it has helped to speed up the transformation, I’m also seeing that I’m not quite there yet. It really is something that requires time and that needs to come from within.
Now I’m truly seeing how the evolution of our style is a reflection of our internal growth and transformation. For me it was pretty much flat for 10 years, but now things are finally in motion haha. I have a feeling that a lot more evolution, experimentation and bold statements will come for me in the next few months.
FB – How much self-expression or risk-taking do you put into it?
AL – I’m now starting to experiment more and more I’m also more discriminative when it comes to selecting brands that reflect my values and style.
I have lately become obsessed with statement pieces from Donna Karan’s Urban Zen because they are a manifestation of the high quality craftsmanship and cultural tradition that has been almost lost in today’s world of mass produced luxury that’s more tied to the superficial logo versus true quality, heritage and deeper values.
Another area that I’ve been also exploring due to my frequent travels to India, are the caftan and the sari. I’m especially interested in pieces that are less traditional, characterized by muted colors, perhaps the ones that are more reflective of my European heritage and yet embody my fascination with the Indian culture and its expressions of femininity. There is one sari designer whose work I’ve admired for few years now and I finally feel that my style is maturing to the level where I’m ready to explore and experiment with his pieces.
FB – In your ‘previous’ corporate life, did you have to sacrifice your style for a certain attire you were required to maintain?
AL – Now that I think about it, no, not at all. I have worked in the media industry where there are no strict rules regarding the attire. However, the constraints are there, they are just subtle and subconscious. Working in a company or corporation, you subconsciously tend to conform to what everyone else is wearing.
Media world is competitive, so I wanted to look edgy and sharp. Thus my signature style consisted of skinny jeans, pencil skirts and leather jackets. For example, instead of wearing a more traditional blazer or suit to a client meeting I would wear a dress with leather jacket over it. Or a pencil skirt with a print t-shirt instead of a silk blouse. That’s how far I went with my self-expression. It was my quiet way to rebel against the ‘office attire’ standards.
I always secretly wished that I worked for a creative agency as those people have ‘style’ and the more creative and unique that style is, the better. I remember telling my stylist few months ago that I wanted her to help me to look like someone who works at a creative agency haha.
FB – What’s Italian style in a one word or two?
AL – Refined, feminine, minimalist, classy – that’s already more than two words but it’s hard to describe it in so few words.
FB – According to your imagination, who is a personification of Italian style (doesn’t have to be alive)?
AL – For me, that would be Margherita Missoni. Her style bridges the classic Italian minimalism with a bold modern twist. She masterfully mixes patterns, textures and colors making them still look classy, refined and feminine. She really knows how to pull it off.
Missoni is one of my favorite designers and Margherita certainly was born to wear those pieces (or maybe the other way around lol). To me her style is a true embodiment of the best of Italian fashion: classy, feminine, bold and seductive at the same time.
Francesca Belluomini is a fashion writer, blogger and author of an upcoming book ‘The Cheat Sheet of Italian Style.’
Her mission is to assist ingenious women, busy moms and entrepreneurs, to look effortlessly chic and feel confident and empowered by adopting the Italian way.