Browsing Tag

Sicily

Posted on September 27, 2015

It’s a Pom Pom life for Dolce & Gabbana’s Summer Collection 2016

Accessoires/ Bags/ Featured/ Romantique
Wicker basket and dress with pom poms and mirrors. Photograph: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images

Wicker basket and dress with pom poms and mirrors. Photograph: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images

Wow. Dolce and Gabbana’s summer 2016 collection was an explosion of colours and highly embellished clothes and accessories. I was one of the loyal Dolce fans following the live stream of the Milan fashion show entitled “Italia is love”. And the title did not disappoint.

A highly wearable, feminine collection oozing zest for (Italian) life, based on stereotypes of Italy in the 50s. The designer duo presented well tried ingredients from previous collections such as prints of lemons, oranges, umbrella stripes, Sicilian carts and florals woven onto highly embellished brocade and lace. Dresses painted with picture-perfect post card prints of Taormina, Palermo, Capri, Rome and Venice paired with touristy camera shaped handbags.

Photo by swide.com

Photo by swide.com

Stefano Gabbana said that the initial inspiration for the collection came from a book he read on Second World War fashion when tailors turned to traditional handcraft techniques to embroider materials because they were scarce.

Embroidery featured heavily in the show: Rich, decorative Sicilian folklore elements such as pom-poms, mirrors and medallions, usually the domain of the Sicilian straw coffa bag, found their way onto wicker baskets, shoes, earrings, dresses and headscarfs.

Pom Pom Dress Dolce Gabbana SS2016 summer collection

From head to toe richly embellished. Photo by swide.com

Photo by swide.com

Siclian cart dress and pom pom bucket handbag. Photo by swide.com

Critics of Dolce and Gabbana will say they are rehashing the same old Italian / Siclian traditional styles which are getting tired. I disagree: Dolce and Gabbana listen to their customers who love Italian themed fashion and demand wearable, flattering clothes rather than OTT circus fashion.

coffa bag featured image

Indulge in the Sicilian Dolce and Gabbana mood with Sicily Bag: Featuring pom poms, mirrors, medallions, and bells embroidered onto the cloth showing the geometric pattern of the Siclian cart. Each Sicily Bag is one of a kind. Artisan Luigi takes 2 days to make each bag.

Dolce Gabbana SS2016 pom pom bucket bag

 

Posted on August 5, 2015

Egadi Islands, Sicily: Back to the 50s Dolce Vita Style

Featured/ Italy/ Romantique

Cala Rossa, Favignana, Egadi Islands

Sicily’s best kept secret? The Egadi (Aegadian) Islands to the west of Sicily are a favourite of the impossibly bronzed Italian tourists. While most foreign travellers flock to the more well-known, chic volcanic Aeolian islands (Stromboli, Lipari et al), the lesser known Isole Egadi are still as unaffected by mass tourism as ever and maintain their sleepy, authentic charm.

The archipelago consists of the islands Favignana, Maritimo and Levante, reachable within 30 min by speed boat from Trapani.

Trapani Speed boat Egadi islands

Speed boat coming into the port at Trapani

A typical day in Favignana involves swimming in the crystal clear waters, strolling the piazzas and indulging in delicious Sicilian food. The island is small and flat, with cycling the preferred mode of transportation. Bike rental shops are plentiful, particularly near the boat port. Cala Rossa and Cala Azzura are the two most popular swimming spots – both boasting stunning, Caribbean-like water hues ranging from bright turquoise to deep dark blue.

Fitting right in with the 50s vibe of the island: I'm wearing a Vichy gingham playsuit and comfy Superga shoes.

Fitting right in with the 50s vibe of the island: I’m wearing a Vichy gingham playsuit by Max Mara and comfy Superga shoes.

The picturesque old town of Favignana gives off the impression that time has stood still since the 50s; men chatting in groups, women knitting on chairs outside their houses, kids playing excitedly in the narrow alleys. Enjoy a coffee and granita in the main square – Piazza Europa. For lunch, head to one of the beachside restaurants (we loved Lido Burrone) to savour the local specialities such as cous cous and fresh fruit.

The port at Favignana

The port at Favignana

 

Impressions at Favignana

Impressions at Favignana

favignana cala rossa romantique streetstyle max mara

 

 

 

Posted on July 13, 2015

5 reasons to visit Palermo

Cuisine/ Featured/ Italy/ Romantique
The Palazzo dei Normanni in Palermo

The Palazzo dei Normanni in Palermo

1. Food

There are two Italian sayings relating to Sicilian food: “You haven’t eaten lemons until you’ve eaten them in Sicily” and “You haven’t tasted Cannoli until you’ve had one in Palermo.” Sicilian food is richer and even tastier than in the rest of Italy. And Palermo is the capital of Sicilian food. I loved the unassuming Trattoria “Da Pino”, where the owner tells you that he is the menu and where you can choose from a selection of authentic dishes served with a warm smile.

Tip: For good street food, observe where the locals are queuing. Sicilians are very fussy with food and only accept the freshest ingredients.

Da Pino Trattoria Palermo

spaghetti sardines sicilian Trattoria Da Pino

2. Magic of forgotten splendour

Palermo is a captivating city of glaring contradictions: Spotlessly restored grand palaces stand side by side with dilapidated historic buildings, quietly crumbling away.

Sicily’s history is endless, there isn’t a single dominant culture that hasn’t left some indelible mark on the strategically located Mediterranean island: Greeks, Romans, German tribes, Arabs, just to name a few. Sicily is struggling with the upkeep of all these edifices: 228 buildings are in an alarming state and locals are calling for a governmental intervention to help maintaining Palermo’s “Centro Storico”. When you stroll through Palermo’s markets and squares, you can almost hear the stories of forgotten grandeur, battles for dominance whispering from the Unesco heritage sites.

The Fontana de la Vergogna in Palermo means Fountain of shame because a lot of it's marble nymphs are naked. An extraordinary piece of art.

The Fontana de la Vergogna in Palermo means Fountain of shame because a lot of it’s marble nymphs are naked. An extraordinary piece of art.

A thrown out sofa in Palermo centro

3. Shopping

Via Roma and Via Ruggero Setimo are Palermo’s main and most elegant shopping streets. A sheer endless boulevard of high-end fashion stores exhibiting the crème de la crème of powerful Italian fashion houses. Mid-priced fashion brands such as Max & Co are cheaper in Sicily than in the rest of Italy. You’ll also find precious jewellery and enchanting little book and craft stores which don’t belong to big retail chains.

My favourite shop in Palermo!

My favourite shop in Palermo!

4. Beaches!

Just 15 min from the historic centre, Mondello beach invites the exhausted city traveller to rest and relax on the sandy white beach whilst enjoying one of Palermo’s best seafood restaurants.

Mondello Beach Palermo

5. Independant Hotels and B&Bs

Palermo boasts Sicily’s best independent boutique Hotels and B&Bs. Our charming B&B in Richard Wagner Street, near Via Roma in the Centro Storico, was the highlight of the trip. Central but quiet, with tastefully decorated bedrooms, a huge terrace overlooking Palermo and a fantastic host serving breakfast on the private terrace, replete with home-made jams. Living la Dolce Vita! Inbox me for the name and details if you’re interested to stay there (don’t want to give away that little gem)!

Palermo B&B Richard Wagner

Palermo Road

Posted on July 5, 2015

Our mum’s Top 5 Anti-Ageing Tips

Accessoires/ Featured/ Lifestyle/ Rebel/ Romantique

 

Advanced style miu miu sunglasses smu 10 n Castellmare di Golfo

Our mum in Castellmar di Golfo in Sicily,

Mummy Romantique and Rebel celebrated her 64th birthday in Sicily a week ago. I’m proud of our mum as I think she looks fantastic and most of all, she has to right attitude to life. Like most mums, she’s a source of wisdom and knowledge to us.

So what are her secrets to look and feel so good at 64? Here she shares with us her Top 5 Tips on how to age gracefully!

1. A Healthy attitude to Life!

See life positivly! Yes this sounds like a worn out cliche but holds very true. Live your life responsibly but at the same time, don’t take it too seriously. Enjoy your life, go on holiday, meet new people and discover new places, be open minded.

2. Good Skincare Regime

My skin care routine includes using a serum, day cream, night cream and eye cream, all specifically made for the needs of my dry skin. Products don’t have to be expensive. I like Nivea and Olay, try different brands and see how your skin reacts to it. Shake up your product routine to give your skin the chance to respond to new ingredients. Last but not least, never forget to take your make-up off. For cleansing, I use the Philips Visapure facial cleanser.

3. Less is more

When it comes to decorative make up, less is more. I don’t bother with elaborate eye makeup anymore. Eyeshadow only accentuates fine lines, I prefer using a shadow stick (e.g. Laura Mercier or Kiko)  to emphasize the eye, I curl my eyelashes and use mascara, that’s the eyes done. As skin starts to become more uneven as we age, I use a primer and a light makeup to cover this. My hero product in summer is the Kanebo Silky bronze compact make-up. It provides a natural coverage and contains a high SPF.

Clinique chubby sticks give lips an easy tint during the day. For the evening or for days when I feel like a bold lip, I use Tom Ford lipstick “Cherry Lush” or Chanel’s “Dialogue”.

Italian life style: Miu Miu Sunglasses SMU 10N with pink glasses and a pistachio granita.

Italian life style: Miu Miu Sunglasses SMU 10N with pink glasses and a pistachio granita.

4. Nourish your body

Eat healthily without denying yourself enjoyable treats such as coffee, a glass of wine or a piece of cake. Avoid too much sugar and bad fats but don’t stress yourself too much if you do find yourself overindulging from time to time, the world won’t fall apart!

5. Enjoy style, not fashion

Don’t run after the latest trends but find your own style in which you feel comfortable. Finding your own style takes time so try out different pieces and stick with the ones which represent you.

For example,  I love floral pattern but they don’t suit me. Clean, classic shapes and neutral colours look best on me. That’s my signature style and I hardly deviate from it.

advanced style sicily

 

Our mum is wearing:

Chocolate brown jersey dress with pleats by Max & Co. White sandals by Prada Sport. Tote bag by Lamarthe.

Advanced Street style Sicily

Advanced street style Sicily. The birthday girl is wearing:

  • Gingham trousers by Gant
  • Sandals by AGL Attilio Giusti Leombruni
  • Black top with boat neck by H&M
  • Tote bag by Lamarthe
  • Glasses by Gucci

Sicily castellmar di golfo

Mummy Romantique is wearing baroque earrings bought in Catania, Sicily. Glasses by Gucci. My banana earrings are by N2 by Les Nereides Paris.

Posted on August 16, 2014

Sicily – Heritage & Fashion

Italy/ Lifestyle/ Romantique/ Travel

Moorish head pasticeria taormina, Italy

Sicily – where to start? Our eight day romantic getaway to Taormina, was only enough to sample a fraction of this amazing Island. Sicilian culture is as unique as it is rich, due to its colourful history and passionate inhabitants. Its melting pot of different cultures can be partly attriubted to the various emperors who ruled, invaded & left their mark: Romans, Greeks, Byzantines, Normans and Arabs. All of this is reflected in Sicily’s cuisine, architecture & folklore.
 
Everything is extreme in Sicily: The sea is bluer, the deserts sweeter and the pasta sauces richer than anywhere else in Italy. In good old “Eat, Pray, Love” fashion, this is not the place to come if you are dieting!  Come with an open heart (and stomach) and savour the world famous Cannoli & Cassata!

 

Traditional Sicilian marzipan fruit is made of fresh almonds.

Traditional Sicilian marzipan fruit is made of fresh almonds.


Sicily’s fashion is both opulent and rich, and is embodied by my favourite designer duo, Dolce & Gabbana. Their signature style pays homage to their homeland; elegant lace, rich brocade, delicate crochet and accessories reflecting Sicilian folklore.

Sicilian Jewllery Moorish heads

You can buy stunning, Sicilian inspired jewellery from the shop “Nico Design” in Catania, the artesian airport town that lies 45 minutes south of Taormina.

 Above: If you’ve ever been to Sicily, you will have noticed the ceramic flower pots depicting Moorish heads of women and men. The town of Caltagirone, near Taormina in Sicily is famous for its traditional tin-glazed pottery, influenced by the Arabic Moors, who ruled Sicily from 827-1110 AD.

The beautiful decorations have a gruesome history: They say that around 1100 AD, when Sicily was ruled by the Moors, a beautiful girl was living in seclusion and spent her days cultivating flowers on her balcony. One day a young Moor passing by saw her, decided he had to have her and entered the house to declare his love. The young girl, surprised by such a gesture, reciprocated him, but just when she got to know him he decided to return to his wife and children. Distraught, she waited for nightfall and as he fell asleep she cut off his head and used it as a vase for her flowers, displaying it on her balcony for everyone to see. This way his love was forever hers. Apparently, the flowers grew lush, the neighbours envious, and they built vases of their own, shaped like Moors’ heads. Or so the tale goes!!
Another typical Sicilian tradition is the ‘Opera dei Pupi’, a marionette representation of Frankish romantic poems. The puppet theatre is inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

You can purchase miniature versions of the ‘pupis’ in one of the many, gorgeous jewellery shops in Taormina.

 

Dolce and Gabbana honoured the Sicilian marionettes in their SS2013 collection.

Dolce and Gabbana honoured the Sicilian marionettes in their SS2013 collection.

Strawbag earrings sicily

I’m wearing a vichy checked dress from Gant.

If you’re standing, I suggest you grab a seat. These earrings were bought in a small jewellery shop In Catania, depicting little …. yes your eyes aren’t deceiving you……straw bags!   Awwwwww. Très Romantique!

A beautifully decorated residential home in Taormina, Sicily. The Medusa above my head represents the symbol and flag of Sicily. The ‘trinacria’  (a motif consisting of three bent human legs) is supposed to represent the three points of the island. The flag itself dates back to 1282 and is adorned with the (winged) head of Medusa and three wheat ears to symbolise the fertile land.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube DirektDolce and Gabbana Summer Ad Campaign 2013 Sicily

This beautiful video by Dolce and Gabbana epitomises Sicilian summer, tastes and traditions.

Posted on August 3, 2014

Accessory deluxe: The Miss Sicily Bag

Bags/ Romantique

Dolce and Gabbana Miss Sicily Handbag London street style

Accessories are a way to communicating who we are to the world. Regardless of whether we are young, old, chubby or skinny – they are an easy and diverse way of expressing ourselves.

Handbags are a traditionally feminine accessoire, worn with  natural pride. All of us dream of “the one”: The timeless bag by an aspirational designer,  that we long to own. For some, it’s the iconic, quilted leather handbag “2.55” by Chanel, for others it’s a woven leather bag by Bottega Veneta or a very British Mulberry bag.

Dolce and Gabbana Miss Sicily

For me, as an Italian fashion junkie, it’s the “Miss Sicily” bag by Dolce & Gabbana. The bag comes in a variety of sizes and fabrics such as macrame lace, straw or suede, often opulently embroidered,  reflecting the rich heritage of the Sicilian Designer Duo D&G.

A finely crafted bag made by an artisanal designer with tradition in leather goods is a lifelong investment worth every penny. In our throw-away-culture, we are trained to buy, consume and buy again. I prefer to own less (not only because I live in a tiny rabbit cage in London!) but to own high-quality garments and handbags that I will treasure for years to come!

I am wearing above and below:

  • White broderie-anglaise dress by Max & Co
  • Miss Sicily bag by Dolce & Gabbana in “Arancia”
  • Pink sunglasses by Dolce & Gabbana
  • Metallic sandals by AGL Attilio Giusti Leombruni
  • Floral gold earrings by Les Nereides

London street style tangerine Miss Sicily bag dolce and gabbana

My friend Loan, founder of  fashionable wedding dress market place Estella’s Bazaar,  is wearing:

  • Shorts from Zara
  • Shirt from Mango
  • Sandals by Levi’s

Dolce and Gabbana pink sunglasses and miss sicily bag arancia
The Miss Sicily bag can be worn  in a  lady-like fashion using the top handle or more casually,  as a cross body bag.

 

Dolce and Gabbana Miss Sicily Bag Arancia

Dolce and Gabbana Miss Sicily Handbag London street style

The Miss Sicily in all it's glory in colour "Arancia"

The Miss Sicily in all it’s glory. Colour “Arancia”

MIss Sicily Bag Dolce and Gabbana. Scarlett Johannson, Kate Moss, Jessica Alba, Victoria Beckham.

They are all fans of the Miss Sicily Bag: Scarlett Johannson with a cute,  black Miss Sicily. Kate Moss prefers a large patent leather bag and Jessica Alba loves the longer version of the bag candy, casually worn across the body. My favourite is the black crochet Miss Sicily worn by Victoria Beckham. Oh. My. God.

Posted on July 30, 2014

Beach Stylin’: The Summer Sarong

Accessoires/ Italy/ Romantique/ Travel

Beach style is all about carefree, effortless dressing. A stylishly printed silk scarf, efficiently redesigned into a sarong, not only saves room in your suitcase but also looks elegant: All you need for this look is a silk scarf. Tie the two ends together and then wear it as either a skirt or a dress. Keep this article as a handy reference, it demonstrates 6 different ways on how to tie a beach pareo.

Alice and Lionel Scarf Beach Style Lavender Bloom

I’m wearing: My beautiful Lily and Lionel “Lavender Bloom” scarf. The lightweight silk is perfect for a sweltering hot day at Sicily’s Isola Bella beach near Taormina, Sicily. The makeshift dress easily switches from beach day chic to after-sun apero whilst sipping a Spritz or two.

Beach Style Sarong Sicily

Isola Bella, Sicily, Taormina beach sarong Lily and Lionel

 

Posted on July 23, 2014

Granita Siciliana

Cuisine/ Italy/ Romantique/ Travel

granita siciliana taormina bam bar

Sicilian cuisine is just as rich and diverse as it’s culture, bearing traces from the Arabs and Greeks. The opulent deserts and sweets have been influenced by the Arab candymakers of the 9th century.

My all time favourite desert from Sicily is Granita, also knows as Granita Siciliana. Hailing from Catania, Sicily, the delicious, sorbet-like dessert made of sugar, water and flavourings is savoured all over Italy, but it tastes best in Sicily! (Yes, you guessed it, Sicily is NOT the place to go when you’re on a diet)!

The quality of Granita is amazing almost everywhere on the island, but Bam Bar in Taormina is the prettiest spot for enjoying the sweet but light local speciality. At the orange-themed café in the heart of Taormina, you can chose between several flavours: Café, Almond, Nutella, Peach, chocolate & and many more. The icy granite is a saviour during a hot summers day. Dip a brioche into the Tranita to eat it like a real Sicilian!

The texture and taste of Granita varies from city to city in Sicily: Catania specialises in chocolate Granita and he texture is smooth like a sorbet whereas in Palermo, the sweet is more coarse and grittier.

granita siciliana taormina bam bar romantique

My favourite Granita flavour? A mix of Coffee and almond. Delish!

 

The pretty tiles of Bam Bar also decorate this years Rough Guide travel book

The pretty tiles of Bam Bar also decorate this year’s Rough Guide travel book

 

Mr Romantique cooling down at Bam Bar, Sicily.

Mr Romantique cooling down at Bam Bar, Sicily.

 

I'm wearing a gingham dress by Gant and blue Straw bag earrings from Sicily.

Posted on July 18, 2014

Grecian Silk Dress at Isola Bella

Dresses/ Italy/ Romantique/ Travel

Toarmina Sicily Stefanel Silk Dress

We’ve just returned from a wonderful holiday in Sicily, the volcanic island off the coast of Calabria, with a culture as rich as Canoli!
A full destination review will be coming soon, but bear with me whilst I trawl through the hundreds of photos I took on this beautiful island. In the meantime, let me share my absolute peak-summer must-have item:

The light silk dress. When temperatures climb up and humidity rises, you need a garnment that keeps you cool and isn’t too fitted or clingy. The flowing, luxurious silk is a high-class natural fibre that feels light and free, perfect for hot summer holidays.

I’m wearing a  silk dress with a Grecian-style  embellished necklace applique to glam up the sun dress; perfect to carry me through until sunset apertifs.  I spent whole days at the stunning beach of Isola Bella, situated near glam-glitzy Taormina.  Isola Bella is a natural reserve with stunning views, crystal clear waters and plenty of fish, making it a paradise for snorklers. Beware of the jellyfish (locally known as Medusa)  who got me on the first day! Their sting is harmless (unless you’re allergic) and burns for about 30 minutes. Two weeks later, my skin still bears the signature of the annoying little creature. My Sicilian adventure souvenir!

Romantique’s ‘Best of Sicily’ post is coming soon.  Stay tuned!

I am wearing:

Dress: Stefanel

Sunglasses: Versace

Metallic sandals: AGL Attilio Giusti Leombruni

Isola bella Sicily 2014 Summer

Isola Bella is a tiny island in a beautiful cove.

Taormina Sicily Stefanel Silk Dress

Taormina Sicily Stefanel Silk Dress

 

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