Lunch at Piazza dé Ricci, at Pierluigi, a restaurant isolated from noise and agitation of Campo dei Fiori. A table for two wait us on the terrace, in this timeless place of Roma.
For two? Yes, I am with a young blond woman with Renaissance and Michelangelesque intonations. Like an immersion in an Italian fresco, Michela d’Angelo, model and contributor at L’Officiel Italia, eats with me for a summer lunch. A moment found in our respective diaries, before Zakynthos, Palerme and Amalfi, for an aesthetes moment about arts, fashion, Italia and Instagram.
H : How would you describe your aesthetic and your instagram aesthetic ?
M : Modern but timeless, minimal and sophisticated at the same time.
H : It’s interesting because it’s the aesthetic vision of Ambre & Louise; a balance to find between simplicity and a kind of baroque, abundance. I’m bored of the “less is more” and what I call “the tyranny of minimalism”. Sometimes I call it “the tyranny of marble” even if I love marble. But so much brands, in a minimalist view and imitation, are using marble for their stores for instance.
M : Yes, and you know, that’s what I like in Italian fashion; this kind of preservation of tradition with modernity. The “baroque” side is still present in the Italian brands, with a minimal mix. For instance, Alessandro Michele at Gucci ; I admire so much his work, he has a unique vision and taste and thanks to this he managed to completely change the codes of a traditional Italian brand like Gucci. But above all, I love that he is not afraid to take risks, to exaggerate giving life to a “more is more” kind of fashion in contrast with the minimalistic trends. Everything from the shows to the renewed flagship stores is filled with an eclectic and dreamy beauty.
H : And the eclectic and dreamy beauty is typically Italian for you?
M : Not typically, because Great-Britain can be characterized of eclectic and dreamy too if you think about Alexander McQueen, Tim Walker for instances. But, I think Italia owns typical cultural characteristics which favor this aesthetic of abundance. From Ancient Rome, to Michelangelo and the Italian Renaissance, from Baroque to Italian Futurism, our culture has a very theatrical and grandiose aspect, with an importance given to the notion of movement and dynamism. But, it doesn’t mean we aren’t able to be simple too. On the contrary! We succeed in finding a balance between “less is more” and “more is more”.
H : For instance?
M : Mmmh, Gabriella Crespi ! Yes. Definitely. She is like the Queen of Baroque and Simplicity in design. The power and versatility of her furnitures, the simplicity of the shapes, the gold aspect. A kind of "lessmore is more" finally ! I think for instance to the Yang Yin desk which can be one furniture or three according to your mood and vision.
H : Mmmh, I see. It’s interesting because many of my inspirations and influences in terms of decoration, interior design, stores design etc come from Italia and this balance between baroque and simplicity. I think especially to an Milanese restaurant which I always refer to at the moment ; Carlo e Camilla in Segheria, via Giuseppe Meda in Milano. I love it, with the big ancient chandeliers, the old dishes and the brutality of the place with concrete and the industrial aspect.
M : Oh god, I love this place too ! We have to dinner here when you’ll come to Milano !
H : Yes, definitively, I have never been…
And is your home like your aesthetic ?
M : Oh, I moved to a new house just a few months ago so things are slowly coming together. A luminous white space is contrasted with stronger and colored details, blue velvet sofa, brass details, moroccan rug and a touch of green from my houseplants. I love decorating, this is just the beginning!
H : And what’s the ideal piece of art you would like to buy for your home?
M: The Ellisse coffee table and a Fungo lamp by Gabriella Crespi !
H : Haha, of course. Perfection.
And excepted Gabriella Crespi, what’s your artistic references ?
M : My main artistic references come from photography: Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin, their art is so sensual and provocative, the ideal of beauty you see in each photo is timeless. I love french cinema, from Truffault to Godard, and how the nouvelle vague has inspired through its imaginery? generations of creative designers. In the fashion scene I love designers as Phoebe Philo, Nicolas Guesquiere, Guillaume Henry, Joseph Altuzarra, Anthony Vaccarello: they have a strong influence on me not only because of their idea of woman but mostly for their continuous research of desirability.
FASHION, INSTAGRAM, ITALY
H : Let’s speak about your vision of fashion and Italy. As a model and contributor for L’Officiel, you’re used to playing with your image. How do you consider links between instagram, social media and fashion, the notion of style?
M : Right now with social media we are all overexposed to new trends every single week. That’s surely enjoyable but it would be much more interesting to see people dressed in a way that shows more personality rather than just following trends. At the end fashion is also fun and you have to express yourself, the best version of you. And instagram can be a mean to express this best version of yourself. Of course, the narcissistic dimension of such a public exposition is a reality, but I think a better use of instagram can be made and is made. Playing with the picture, the colors, the themes, the frames, the dimensions, is like playing with the language for the poet. Instagram is a 21st century adapted way of expressing one’s aesthetic, singularity, style. The language is the image.
H : and finally, these two dimensions of Instagram can also live together for a “Shameless Self Promotion Diary”, as Caroline de Maigret writes on her instagram, with an artistic and singular dimension.
M : Yes, I think. But of course instagram is not a painting or a symphony…
H : Yes, of course, but as you said, it’s a 21st century adapted way of expressing one’s sensibility and style and not only promoting it…
M : Yeah, fashion is not black or white, but black and white, with many shades of grey. It’s like people blaming fast fashion. Low fashion can easily coexist with high end fashion and brands like Zara and Mango, which can produce an impressive amount of collections and at the same time be updated with the latest trends. The lower prices and the always faster production times deliver a cool and “in trend”product that is however absolutely not comparable to the high quality standards of the more prestigious brands. You can mix them and the result is always nice and you won’t look overdressed.
H : And fashion in Milano ? How do you describe it?
M : Milano is an elegant city and you can see everywhere wonderfully dressed women and feel the italian sense of style that I would define chic but relaxed, even the casual outfits are always detailed.
H : And compared to Amalfi Coast style?
M : The Amalfi Coast is a historically glamourous holiday destination where you can experience a taste of LA DOLCE VITA. The style is all about light fabrics, pretty dresses and gold or coral jewels. Forget dark tones and high heels and be sure to buy the famous handmade Capri sandals.
MICHELA D’ANGELO TRAVEL GUIDE
H : You were born in Roma. 2/3 adjectives to describe this city?
M : Rome is passional, breathtaking and always inspiring.
H : And Milano, the city you live in?
M : Milano is elegant, vibrant and unexpected
H : And the Amalfi coast ?
M : Ever-glam, scented and charming
H : How can you compare and oppose these 3 places ?
M : They are completely different places: Milan is the place where I live and work, it’s hectic, elegant and there’s always something to do. Rome is my hometown, I have a special bond with it and every time I come back I realize how unique it can be. Amalfi, with the beautiful views of the dramatic coastline, with its colors and atmosphere is the ultimate setting for a romantic getaway.
H : Be my travel guide Michela : things to do in Roma?
M : Too many! I could write for days but I’ll try to be short: after you visit the most famous touristic spots such as Colosseum, Piazza di Spagna and the recently renewed Trevi Fountain these are my favourite spots you can’t miss: Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, a splendid private museum located just few minutes from Piazza Venezia, San Luigi dei Francesi and the Cappella Contarelli where you can admire Caravaggio’s work, Santa Maria della Vittoria to see “L’estasi di Santa Teresa d’Avila, one of Bernini’s masterpieces and the Diocletian baths which were the largest baths in the Roman Emperor.
At this point you may be tired but if you still have some energy you must visit the Coppedè District from Piazza Mincio, an hidden gem conceived by the architect Gino Coppede .This secret neighborhood is an artful mix of different styles from Baroque to Art Nouveau and it’s just stunning.
For eating book a table at Pierluigi, as we did ! his fish cuisine is an institution in Rome, and as you see, the outdoor space is magical during summertime! Last but not least, if you want to enjoy a really good drink try the Corner, an uber chic boutique hotel on the Aventino hill.
H : Things to do in Milano?
M : In Milano after visiting Duomo and Castello Sforzesco pay a visit to the Museo del Novecento, to Fondazione Prada and its famous Bar Luce cafe designed by Wes Anderson.
Villa Necchi Campiglio built by Milanese architect Piero Portaluppi is a great example of 1930s architecture with countless rooms, stunning interiors, the pool and the garden that is now converted into a museum.
Milan is also very active in the contemporary art scene and you can visit beautiful galleries as Massimo de carlo, Carla Sozzani and the Kaufmann Repetto spaces.
About shopping: “10Corsocomo “and “Vintage delirium by Franco jacassi” are a must!
Eating? Well I suggest a fast lunch at Drogheria San Marco where you can taste delicious tapas and Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone located inside the incredible “Palazzo Bugatti Valsecchi while La Brisa is the perfect option for a cozy and relaxing dinner.
H : Things to do on the Amalfi Coast?
M : My all time favorites are Amalfi, Positano and Capri. The breathtaking views, the inebriating lemon perfume and the magical settings are impossible to forget. In Amalfi, book one of the small family-run super nice hotels, they are often far from the noise and the traffic and you can enjoy unforgettable breakfasts with sea view. In Positano stay at Bagni d’Arenzio enjoy the sun and clear water, have then a lunch “da Vincenzo” without missing the homemade limoncello. If you have two more days to spend, head to Capri and treat yourself in the most beautiful and chicest hotel ever: J.K.PLACE Capri, I love it so much!
H : Let’s ask simple last question. Your Summer book ?
M : M train by Patti Smith.
H : What do you do for the hollidays?
M : I will be in Greece for the next week, in Zakynthos, after that I’m planning some days between Tuscany and the Amalfi coast.
H : Your perfect moment ?
M : I’m a morning person and i wake up quite early so my perfect moment is that part of the day when I can take a long walk with my dog, listen to music and get ready for the day with no hurry.
Michela d'Angelo 's instagram account : @micheladan