Prints Charming

Milan wrapped up Fashion Week a few days ago.  I’ve never been to Milan, but tried to go a few years back during a failed train ride from Rome, which resulted in a stolen wallet (not mine) and a wicked hangover (both of ours.)

Me + Luanne, on aborted train ride to Milan.

I went to Rome twice over the course of 3 months, which were my first trips ever to Italy. A dear friend and prior owner of the stolen wallet, Luanne Calvert, had packed up and moved there from San Francisco inspired by reading “Eat, Pray, Love”.  She knew no Italian (people or the language), yet through sheer balls and guts, got a job at Fendi and began to own that ancient lovely city in a very modern way.

I decided to visit Luann(a) in Rome to escape the awfulness that was my life:  I felt unhappy, unhealthy, unloved, unlovely, unlovable, un-young, un-anything-good. I needed something, anything to pull me out of my funk.

That trip, that place and those people not only slapped me out of my funk, but also pulled my head out of my ass and pushed me towards a life I did not know existed, one that’s full of happiness and health and love and everything good.

Roaming around Rome I was overcome by beauty and sex, as women and men of every age just ooze it in the way they move and dress, slinking past the Piazza Navona en route to the best espresso on earth.  It wasn’t vulgar, it was beautiful. People were fit and wore clothes that fit.  They were put together and cared. They didn’t save that great dress with the plunging neckline to wear to a fancy party, they wore it to the market. They wore lipstick and a Pucci scarf to walk the dog. In four-inch heels, they glided across the cobblestone like ice-skaters.  I was in awe.

My default had always been baggy and slouchy, part tomboy, part homegirl.  I was never quite comfortable with being a woman, and hid behind a big baggy curtain of denim.  I think a big part of me was afraid and too lazy to put in the effort to look as good as I could.  I mean, what if all of that effort resulted in …. nothing?

Thankfully, those trips to Italy liberated my body and paved the way for tighter jeans, better bras and an eyelash curler.  I finally became comfortable in my own skin and let that skin come out.  Which resulted in me feeling better about myself than I ever had.

Which brings me back to Milan.

I have never been comfortable in prints.

The Milan shows were an orgy of prints (and leather and fur).  Prints were huge in New York and London too, but really bloomed here were it’s just hotter.

I want to wear prints.  I want to feel comfortable in prints.  My goal this year is to try them on for size and see where they take me, at least fashion-wise.  If they make me half as happy as wearing my skin on my sleeve, what do I have to lose?

Check back here for the results.

In the meantime, here are some of my favorites from Milan:  Roberto Cavalli, Etro, Missoni, Prada.

Roberto Cavalli.





14 Responses


    Sounds like I need a trip to Rome…I am feeling un…and also covered in baggy you name it! Love the Cavalli & Prada. Thanks for the inspiration to shopping this weekend & buy an eyelash curler 🙂

    luanne calvert

    We are rolling by the Vatican in one of those white taxis unique to Rome. The Vatican is not my favorite place in town, but certainly it’s worth moving one’s eyeballs a millimeter if the Vatican happened to fall into your peripheral vision and you had never seen it before. But Paula is occupied. She’s reviewing the loot from the day’s fashion take. “Hey Paula, that’s the Vatican.” “Um, hey do you think we could go back to that store on Via Condotti, that place that had all the clothes from Brazil”? She didn’t even look up. Didn’t even look up.

    Clothes make the wo-man.


    I loved reading this Paula. I’ve felt the way you have many times and I loved that you shared this story. I too, have wanted to live in Rome, like your friend Luanne did. I love to know that she had the courage to do it and that it’s possible…just in case I ever decide to. Keep up the great fashion work!

    1. Paula

      Thanks so much, Stacy. I have drawn so much inspiration from Luanne and people like her who have the courage to do things outside of their comfort zone. That is what life is all about, I am finding. If you have never visited Rome, I beg you to go, if only for a few days. Both of my trips were only 4 days, and boy did we pack a lot in. xoxo

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