FRANCESCA BELLUOMINI

Fashion Writer

FRANCESCA BELLUOMINI / Fashion Writer / Interview

 

Interview on Thursday, October 5th
Location: Panther Coffee, Wynwood

 

Why did you decided to write your book, “The Cheat Sheet of Italian Style”?

The book has always been in the back of my mind, but the conception was a couple of years ago. I always worked in fashion. It’s been 7 years now that I officially started a 9-5 job in healthcare. My fashion background and my studies were somehow clashing. I went through a stage of evening out my style because I had to. It had to do with the employee handbook that became all about what you cannot wear. The language is very obscure from a fashion standpoint. All these years no matter if I was working in fashion or not working in fashion all I heard was people complimenting my style. I am authentic Italian straight from Italy; I have lived in Miami for about twenty years. I live here; I buy here, so I started investigating why my style was so appreciated here. I started investigating how what I was doing that was different but also realized that I could teach them how to work Italian style into their lives. Teaching exactly how to do something is not the spirit of the book. It is more of a guideline, open to personal interpretation. It all started 2 years ago and quickly took off and got published. I wrote the entire book in 4 months.

Sustainability and slow fashion is important to us at Antidote, can you tell us a little more about how you believe clothes just like a moment could not be mass produced? 

Style is yours and only yours and no matter what you can interpret a trend in your own way. You cannot reproduce a look or trend because it will never express the same language or message within 3 or 4 or 5,000 people, there is always a difference between people and their personal style. So the idea is it doesn’t matter if you have a lot of items in your closet or very little what counts is to how you produce that moment. So that you can reproduce or re-wear it any time you want. Sometimes it doesn’t even look the same. For that item it will never be the same and even the same look will never be the same because the ambiance is going to be different or the other people that you share it with will be different.

FRANCESCA BELLUOMINI / Fashion Writer / Interview
FRANCESCA BELLUOMINI / Fashion Writer / Interview
What would you say are your wardrobe essentials? What are the few vital pieces that every closet needs?

It may sound dumb or basic but a white shirt is a must. You can have a thousand white shirts but you have the one that fits tight, the one that is super white, the one that is a man’s shirt. But it can’t be a mass-produced fashion white shirt because you can tell from far away and at that point it’s better to have a black t-shirt. And I think you always need a suit, I love a blue suit.

If you could describe dressing the Italian way in one sentence what would it be?

Don’t take yourself too seriously. I think that has a lot of the meaning. But at the end, if you read all of the different chapters, you will understand that is the first thing.

What would you say is your number one piece of advice for the average working woman trying be chic on a regular day?

Just be yourself and forget the corporate uniform. The corporate uniform has a language that is very bureaucratic. So, if you have a busy life and you also need to decipher their meaning, it is either you are going to end up spending a lot of money on stuff you do not believe just because you are supposed to buy it or you end up deleting your style to try to adapt to something that really doesn’t have any meaning. Just be yourself and what you feel that you are coping with.  

So when it comes to accessorizing what are your dos and dont’s?

I never, like even if I buy earrings and necklace or necklace and bracelets, never wear them together. Try and if you feel adventurous try and mix simple artisanal accessories to a corporate jacket or suit. That makes it personal, but never be matchy-matchy. It doesn’t make it easy, because it is easier to do something that is already done for you. But that is the point where you just want to say something personal. 

How has being a woman helped or hurt your career in either health care or fashion?

Being a woman has not necessarily been beneficial in either field. I have been completely inspired by my grandmother. She went through two wars and is extremely educated, a matriarch in my family. I was so lucky to have her growing up. She is the one that taught me whatever I believe in, I can achieve, I have to just own it and go for it. Being a woman in the U.S., specifically in Miami, I wasn’t able to exploit my career in the way that I wanted because there weren’t many outlets where I could thrive in fashion, so came me making a career switch to healthcare public relations. You still find a lot of male dominated environments and believe it or not health care is one of them. It took me a while to demonstrate and say ‘sure I’m the girl who does social media here but I am educated and I know what I am doing.’

On your website you say use makeup only when needed. When do you consider it is necessary?

That perspective has changed over the years. I was never taught to wear makeup. When I was a kid my mom used Elizabeth Arden and a little eyeliner. And then we would have dinners or some event and she would add a blush. I still put makeup on in the car, not that I don’t enjoy putting on makeup especially those days I feel the older version of myself. I prefer taking care of my skin than putting makeup on, I never understood the moms getting dolled up to drop their kids off for school, I needed that time to drink coffee and become human. I am not judging, it’s just a question of priorities.

What is your favorite place you have traveled?

I love Eleuthera, in the Bahamas. It is absolutely magical. But the island of Stromboli off the coast of Capri is my favorite place in the world. It has the only active volcano in Europe. There are no streetlights; the stars light the way. There is barely any cell phone service. It is just such a different place. 

Where would you still love to travel?

I would love to do a South African Safari. It has always been in the back of my mind.

Who, dead or alive, would you love to have a fashion conversation with? Why?

Diana Vreeland. The more I read about her the more I realize she was so ahead of her time. She really embodies that luxury is a state of mind. She was probably misunderstood but I think I would have a blast talking to her and learning more about her.

Last but not least, favorite Antidote pieces?

The Where Mountains Meet, Georgia Blouse and the Maggie Marilyn, Don’t Underestimate Me Silk Dress! 

Thank you for meeting with us, Francesca!
Check out Francesca’s book “The Cheat Sheet of Italian Style”

Interview by: Stephanie Michals