November 23, 2010

Simply and Elegantly Dressed, with Annalisa Miniutti Over My Shoulder

Many of you know that on my last trip to Italy I spent a day in Rovigo with Italian handbag designer Annalisa Miniutti and her husband Massimo. While there, we decided that it would be great to import a new shipment of leather handbags to the U.S.

The group of bags that we’ve received is varied- tote bags for travel, leather shoulder bags, leather clutch handbags- some casual, others a bit more dressy. And some have chains as handles, reminiscent of the Chanel bags. Because we are direct importers, we are able to showcase designer handbags for less.

We like to keep our color palette simple- black, navy, neutral, off-white. For me, the more simply colored I am dressed and accessorized, the clearer I can think, and the better I can go about my day! That doesn’t mean boring. But I do focus on clean lines, with a bit of an edge, and nothing frilly.

I also feel that quality is key. Your Italian handbag doesn’t have to shout out identifiable logos. In fact nothing about your outfit has to shout out anything. And you don’t have to spend a crazy amount of money. For me, I prefer a quieter sophistication. It’s all in the cut, the fit, and the way you put it all together.

November 16, 2010

Ahhhh- Italian Leather…Those Italian Boots…The Italian Handbags…

The 10 days that I recently spent in Florence were fulfilling, breathtaking and overwhelming. Maybe you’re familiar with the Stendhal Syndrome! And if not, you can read about it here:

Some of my own swooning was over the abundance of styles of Italian handbags and Italian boots. It is just endless! Ankle boots, over the knee boots, thigh high boots, regular boots. Soft leather, grey suede, black, grey- lots of grey. Flats, high heels, low heels. Many of the higher heels are a bit chunky, and are reminiscent of the 1970’s styles.

Those of you who have been to Italy have surely noticed how merchandise is so beautifully displayed and arranged in store windows. This makes all the bags and boots even more attractive and desirable. I desired them all! In addition, usually weekly, the display windows are changed- which gives everyone who passes by a chance to see even more merchandise.

Italian handbag designers for this season are highlighting some lovely shaped shoulder bags, handbags and totes. All of the neutrals are able to be paired together, and some of the combinations of beiges and greys are refreshing and unexpected.

Here’s a look at my own personal boots- and some Gianni Chiarini and Annalisa Miniutti handbags.

November 9, 2010

The Pleasure of Giving to Dress for Success

This past weekend, Serena Italian Imports was welcomed into the home of a generous Greater Boston family, to have a fundraiser for Dress for Success Boston.We entertained approximately 50 women, and turned them into Italian fashionistas for the afternoon. A wide variety of merchandise was available for sale, including italian handbags, Angela Caputi jewelry, Annalisa Miniutti handbags and scarves, Gianni Chiarini handbags, Sambonet stainlesss steel bowls, and more.

Thankfully, we had lots of volunteers helping us. The hours were a whirlwind of activity, with women trying on jewelry and belts, planning gift-giving, dispensing fashion advice and making new acquaintances. One of the hot items of the day was an Angela Caputi chain link bracelet, as seen on the Sartorialist blog, worn by the beautiful Viviana Volpicella. The most popular colors of the day were amber, black, lucite and jade.

While shopping, everyone was able to snack on veggies, fruit, luscious mini-pastries and cookies. It was an invigorating afternoon- and the best part came at the end.

As we tallied up the sales of the day, 20% of which was going to be donated to Dress for Success Boston, I couldn’t help but start to cry. We had far surpassed my expectations and my goal for the day, and were able to make a substantial donation to the organization.

Having volunteered at DFSB for many years, I am acutely aware of what this money could go towards- a few weeks’ salary for an employee, computer equipment for the office, blouses, suits, shoes,- a myriad of items come to mind.

Every little bit counts, especially during these trying times. I am honored and proud to have done my part and I cannot tell you how wonderful I feel today.

November 1, 2010

The Art of the Passeggiata on the Streets of Florence

Despite what one may say about Florence- there are too many tourists, it’s not like it once was, the locals can’t afford to live downtown - locals abound, they love to be out and about, and they love to be seen.

I saw this every day as I walked around the city, even on weekdays, and especially on a perfect fall Sunday afternoon. There are a few obvious differences between the passeggiata of decades past and the one of today. In the 70’s for example, everyone got all dressed up- in their Sunday best- and the stores were all closed. I was a part of that in those years, strutting along in my very high heeled Italian leather boots. But other than that, it’s exactly the same.

Young and old are out strolling with no specific destination. The purpose is to be outdoors and be seen, get a coffee, see friends, window shop, maybe buy a little something, and get refreshed for the busy week ahead. Even people from smaller local towns come to Florence on a Sunday, to pass the time and take a walk.

My friend Pia and I stopped in Piazza Santo Spirito where vendors were selling their wares. It was a combination of farmer’s market and craft fair. Inexpensive, local, and easy.

I’d love to find a way to incorporate this into my life here! The closest I’ve come is to take a walk on Newbury St., although the stress of parking certainly diminishes the experience. Need to keep working on this!

Sunday market in Piazza Sto. Spirito
Beautiful window in Florence

Busy lunch spot