On many occasions, those who look at my photos taken during the events in which I participate tend to imagine an elegant lady who gladly accepts invitations to social evenings, those where the dress to wear is chosen according to a rigorous dress code.
In some ways it’s true, in the sense that I often participate in this kind of event, but I do it rigorously because I’m usually the one who takes care of the decoration of the room, and before the party starts I’m always very busy making sure that the idea that I have in my head is implemented with extreme accuracy to give satisfaction to my customers and their guests. And when you spend many hours weaving flowers and various materials to create exclusive centerpieces that can convey emotions, cutting flower stems to the right length, studying the best way to enhance the chosen table setting with light, you certainly don’t do it wearing a grand evening dress. I usually wear those at the last moment.
My son, who accompanied me to Monaco on the occasion of the Italian Republic Day with 1,500 guests, still remembers that evening in which, due to the limited preparation time I had, I finished the work just as the guests of honor started to arrive. I was still in my work clothes, the same ones I wear when I wander around my home workshop, immersed in the flow of my creativity which is always accompanied by music. When I work I like to feel good, free and easy in my movements, and often, as on boats or in the grass of my garden overlooking the lake, I like to walk barefoot or at most wearing simple stage ballerinas, which end up from the name they remind me of a part of my story that perhaps I will tell you another day.
I was still dressed like this while the girls at the reception started to welcome the authorities, but for me it was certainly not a problem: I had my evening dress perfectly hung in the case, and I was exactly one step away from the screen that divided the entrance from the garden perfectly set up for dinner “Tell me you don’t want to change here, now, with all the people coming,” my son scolded me with a hint of anxiety in his voice.
“I’ll take a minute” I told him, and exactly at the expected time I slipped into the dress behind the screen to emerge perfectly dressed and with very elegant heels. A few seconds to make the bag with the change disappear under the long tablecloth of the table habillèe and here I was, offering my warmest welcome smile to all those people who were commenting aloud on the elegance of the setup: the appreciations, I’have already told you, are very important to me, because they demonstrate approval of the commitment that I put in my work, that for me comes before any dress code.
But that wasn’t the strangest place where I changed to become the elegant lady everyone sees in the photos. I was in Istanbul, a guest of Cem Hakko who had had some of his assistants accompany me to visit the 39 stores of his very important chain, Vakko, where I was supposed to study the corners dedicated to my home collections. I realized that I had to be very careful not to express any type of appreciation for the beautiful objects I saw for sale, because every time I did so I would hear the assistants chatting with the shop assistants and immediately afterwards I would find myself in my hands with a perfectly wrapped gift, with exactly what I wanted inside.
Not that I minded it, but it embarrassed me a little, especially when I realized that, one shop after another, one package on top of another, it was already practically time to go to the gala dinner that had been organized in my honor. “No problem,” one of the assistants told me, “we’ve already had his evening suit taken from his hotel room, and it’s in the car. You can change here”. Too bad that “here” was the parking lot of the venue that would host the dinner… and to make matters worse, it was snowing.
So, while nervousness made me want to cry, I changed with my usual speed behind the car door and under the umbrella of my attentive companion. It doesn’t usually happen to me, but the bad weather and the objective inconvenience of the situation made my dress slip from my hand and end up in a puddle, but since the party was about to start and everyone was waiting for me, I pretended nothing had happened and with the dress I also wore a big smile.
And in an instant the elegant lady you see in the cover photo of this article appears. Without even needing Superman’s famous phone booth.