When I got an email back in September with a personal invite to include my work in a fashion exhibit during Milano Fashion week, called Artistar, I was very excited. This brought me back to my time working in the fashion industry in the early 1990’s when I had a small jewelry company in Chicago called, LEN@ART Collection. I started building contemporary Talismans back then, and from the beginning, we were recognized as a scouted group of up and coming artists who were suggested for the fashion world.
Artistar Jewels features 200 creations selected for their high artistic relevance, featuring a meld of tradition and innovation. Artistar Jewels acts as a springboard for new talents as an international showcase for renowned artists, providing insightful highlights on the evolution in jewel design. It is juried by many influential people in the art history and fashion industries, including Elisabetta Barracchia, editor-in-chief of Vogue Accessories and creative director of Vanity Fair. It was attended by stylists, collectors, and clothing designers. I remember being packed in like sardines without an opportunity to talk to anyone- everyone spoke Italian. I did get the chance to meet and shake hands with Elisabetta Bassachia-and that was quite a thrill for me.
The pieces that were chosen of mine for Artistar came from a body of work called Urban Talismans, built from broken glass, oxidized metal and altered small objects. This work originated from growing up in the inner city of Chicago and spending time researching Talismans in the mountains of Thailand.
The event was held in a gorgeous historical building in the city center right next to Milan Cathedral in Piazza del Duomo. I loved that area.
During my stay I took a few more days just to relax and travel around the city. I began my sightseeing on a tourist bus where I covered the city and got the layout. I got on and off all day to explore local areas and scout for good restaurants. You would not think fashion and good would work so well together but I assure, they did.
Lots of models and photographers were all over the city shooting new lines. I saw lots of women wearing brightly colored fur and faux fur coats. The guys in the city wore fitted straight leg pants, tailored suits and leather jackets.
When I landed in Italy I felt a sort of freedom that is hard to describe unless you’ve been there. There is a feeling of frivolity in the air and I immediately felt the need to indulge myself without guilt. I decided that I am not going to waste my time here and I would try as many different pasta dishes and local wines as possible! So, I had to get busy – breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Now, back in the states and back to myself again, I sit and recap my visit and experiences, with tea and crackers, preparing for a good yoga session. I am full of new ideas and knowledge. I am grateful to be stepping back into fashion again. Give me an outfit and I can style it with jewelry- it’s what I do best.
We will see what happens next…and what life has in store for me.