My mom loves to tell me stories of my sometimes (very) questionable fashion choices when I was little. Apparently, I was very adamant about dressing myself, even if I was the only one to ever really appreciate my efforts. Now obviously I wasn’t turning to the latest issue of Vogue for inspiration- I could barely read. But what I DO remember were more sentimental influences. Like late nights with my Grandmother, sorting through and trying on every piece of her insane collection of costume jewelry while she set her hair. She died when I was in 3rd grade, but I still remember this glamorous air about her. And her love for Elizabeth Taylor. And how she always drank Pepsi from a Coke glass. As I grew older, seeing pictures of her in her earlier years confirmed what I had already known- she was the definition of iconic old school beauty.
But an even bigger influence would be my hippie Dad, who marched to his own fashion beat- just like he did everything else in life. While he had a great job, he never flaunted it. It was always a running joke that the only things he splurged on were cheese and booze. And me. Then again, being Italian, that was understandable. But what people didn’t notice was that while he may not have necessarily splurged on the other things, he did hunt for them. Like furniture- our house was always full of antiques. Beautiful, vintage sets that were full of history and rich with character. Just like him. And clothes…well, I don’t think my Dad ever really wore a shirt until the early 90’s. Instead his look consisted of low slung jeans, usually bell-bottoms, and a belt to keep them in place. But again, what people didn’t see were the details. Like the star shaped buttons along the fly. Or the almost too perfectly placed tears. Or the buttery soft feel of the leather. He was the closest thing to Roger Daltrey many had ever seen, right down to the eyes. And his casual hippie swag fashion was the perfect touch. Many that knew him would laugh at the idea that he cared about fashion, given his bohemian energy.
But I realize now, after seeing how I now find most of the pieces I need for shoots, that he did care. A lot. Meaning, he cared enough to search for things that spoke only to him. Those unique and personalized touches that would eventually make him such an enigma. In other words, he was never interested in mass produced items, and instead searched for things of quality in unexpected places. On another interesting note, I’d like to point out that looking back on his “wardrobe”, the amount of clothing this guy had would probably give my current collection a run for the money.
And that’s saying something.
So much like any proven stylist, it was never about the labels when he wore something, but rather how he wore it. Or why. It was how he made his look so uniquely him. His perfectly frayed jeans would be just another genuine extension of his personality- carefree.
So its no surprise that in our household, fashion was never about rules- it was about wearing whatever you wanted, however you wanted. And never because someone told you to. And I would grow up being no different. Because no one ever discouraged my creativity. Or deterred me from taking my many, many, many risks. And that in itself would help establish and foster one of the biggest passions in my life.
Because now I’m the one that hunts. The one that thrives on being an individual. And expressing myself without the concern of others opinions. I’m the one that loves customizing looks in ways that will make me, and the people I style, unique. I’m the one that encourages others to take risks. And to rebel against the fashion rules many of you grew up with.
But most importantly, I’m the one that pays attention to details. The one that appreciates every little thing. That values the history and character in unique finds, while carefully blending them with a modern edge.
And you can thank my Dad’s star studded jeans for that.
To my Cream Soda Daddy,
Happy Father’s Day- there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you, and thank you for always allowing me to be me. Your confidence remains my biggest motivation, and your encouragement my greatest motivation.
I love you always,