Living in Switzerland, rediscovering home

 

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Living in London is great. You have access to amazing possibilities and opportunities. Your life is intense, mad, inspiring.

There might be thousands of reasons why you decided to move. However, when you have the chance to go home and spend some time where you grew up and everything started, it’s always a great experience of love and admiration. You end up appreciating more the place that before leaving was so boring you could see only drawback.

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I used to live in Switzerland where I spent most of the time. In Switzerland I went to school and developed my passions for music, nature, yoga and art. I always thought it was a boring place, where nothing happens.

On my holiday, this year I went back home to visit my family and guess what, I loved it!
Such a lovely experience living those places that are so familiar to me from a different point of view. From a tourist point of view!

I appreciated everything that makes Switzerland a great place to be: the nature, the rhythm, the lifestyle and I ended up being nostalgic. I had a taste of what it means living in Switzerland and of all the changes that happened in the last year.

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I haven’t changed idea as I feel that London is the right place to be for me in my present. However I might have changed idea on what I used to find boring or ‘normal’. The nature is stunning, the small cities and villages are so cute and the rhythm of life is much slower.

No matter how much I love London. Rediscovering my home was great. My home is where I grew up, where my adventure begun, where I feel always safe. That doesn’t mean I’ll never feel safe again anywhere else. That doesn’t mean I’ll never find a second home.

It just means that I still have a place where I can go when I feel I’m lost. My hiding place.

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On my arrival in the UK, my hear was still nostalgic. However, when I opened my London door I knew I was in the right place for my present.

If you want to live visit or live in Switzerland, check out these links: http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-gb/home.html or http://www.lonelyplanet.com/switzerland

 

Can I share the table with you?

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When you have little time to do what you like the most you end up appreciating more all the small things. It might sound boring or predictable but it’s so true!

Most of the time we postpone things. We think that everything we have now will be there in the future. A busy life can be risky because we may forget the importance of taking care of our passions, of what makes us feel alive. On the other hand a busy life gives us the chance to really focus on what we want, to enjoy every single moment, even the smallest thing.

A couple of weeks ago I talked about the importance of having conversations in our daily life, even with strangers. I promised myself I would be less grumpy, more tolerant and glad to meet new people. I promised myself I would take practical actions in order to be in line with my words. What happened last week made me really happy and made me realize how important it is to connect people within our community.

Walking down the Regent’s Canal (please admire my beautiful shot in the sunset) I decided to have a coffee at Ribeira, my favourite bar. The weather was lovely and after my coffee I decided to eat something. I ordered an amazing stake sandwich. As the only available space outside was a big table with a couple and a young woman I decided to ask them if I could share the space with them and I just sat down on my chair.
Actually, I was about to give up and go back home as I don’t like being alone in a table with strangers. Then I thought I could try and just see what would open up. I started chatting with this lovely girl who like me loves the Canal and enjoys spending time there to relax. We talked about our life in London, how it is when you come from another country (she’s Australian) and what we like from this city. We shared our hobbies and passions, advices and tips, contacts and connections. Such a lovely and meaningful chat that lasted 4 hours and by the time I had to go home I thought I had a great afternoon.

In that moment I appreciated the present and the great opportunity to live in a big city where I can meet different and inspiring people every day. I didn’t do anything that was on my ‘To Do List’. I let my plans go and chose to enjoy my day off without feeling obsessed by work or time.

Also, by listening to someone’s point of view and suggestions, I learned how to become more tolerant and open. I wish I could meet a stranger every day and have at least one hour to chat.

Walking down the Canal on my way back home I realized I was very happy. Not only for my new friend but for the ability to stay in the present for once.

David Lynch Photography

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There’s something magic in David Lynch’s photography. His exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery is intriguing, beautiful. I’m not really an expert of photography but from what I’ve seen in his images, the american film director with his black and white pictures, is able to tell you great and inspiring stories.
His compositions take you to mysterious and enigmatic places where time disappears. The main subjects of the exhibition are old factories, industrial buildings and abandoned estates. No colors, no people, no shadows in the background. The snapshots which have been put together in small compositions they create a story and when you look at them it seems to know what’s the story behind them.
You can feel yourself involved in the picture and although some details may appear too simple and or far from the normal criteria which defines esthetics, you end up enjoying the silence and the incredible charm which shine through their artworks.

I would say that his pictures are just mirrors of his incredible and eclectic life. A life made by different arts, different ways of interpret beauty and reality. ‘The Factory Photographs’ is a beautiful and fulfilling exhibition which needs to be seen and appreciated. For more information you can visit this link. http://www.timeout.com/london/art/david-lynch-the-factory-photographs

Wildlife Photographer of the Year. The exhibition

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If you haven’t done it yet, please, go to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London. It’s awesome. A collection of stunning photos on wild life divided on different categories. Wonderful nature, touching and moving beauty, eyeopening reportage.

From young photographers to professionals able to capture unique moments and share incredible emotions through their artwork.

The power of photography is unlimited. The most beautiful ones succeed in transporting you into a neutral space where there’s no time. Where no matter what’s the purpose of the picture, there’s something in it which is universally recognizable.

The beauty of the nature, the simplicity of some animal behaviors, the power of love which is told through intense colors, beautiful light and gentle creativity.

 

About dreaming

I wonder whether we have enough time to dream properly. We might need to take more time to think about our dreams and see whether they could be useful for our daily life. Maybe our dreams could cure and heal our wounds. Maybe they would allow us to explore new challenges, new skills.
Jodorowsky (the Chilean-French playwright, actor, writer, teacher, filmaker) used to say that we actually have the power to do it. We could train our brain to live the same dream night after night, in order to change our actions, our thoughts within it. Whilst dreaming, we might have the opportunity to become more aware of our issues and our potential . Personally, I think that this is great. However, I believe we should’t analyse dreams through specific criteria or stereotypes. I guess we should just live them and try to understand what’s the message behind, without becoming too rational. We would probably learn how to be connected to ourselves, to our intuition.

Influencing our actions within a dream requires perseverance and passion and some creativity too. So, starting from tonight we can try to ask to our brains to generate more interesting and stimulating stories in our dreams. Productive stories which would be able to enhance problems we haven’t solve, relations we aren’t able to handle, projects we aim to start or follow.

I think we might need some rituals in our lives, and dreaming could definitely be one of our daily rituals. A safe place where we can work on ourselves, where we can look after our precious projects, where we transform and create new scenarios. As a consequence, dreams become an active way to generate new schemes, new thoughts easily.

For those who share the same ideas, for those who can’t wait to read more about it, I invite you to have a look at Jodorowsky’s book Psychomagic. 

I really enjoyed this book and I would definitely recommend it!

 

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Meeting Carlotta Actis Barone

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Carlotta Actis Barone, an emergent Italian designer who keeps a pocketful of dreams, in her statement red satin dress.

In a cloudy and nostalgic day in her Studio in Bethnal Green in London, Carlotta Actis Barone is happy to talk about her life and her inspiring story as an Italian and emergent fashion designer. Carlotta established her label in 2010 and she is currently working on her 8th collection, after attending many Fashion Weeks in London and Paris. Declared Best Designer of the Year by the multi award-winning fashion event and London based company Fashion Finest, Carlotta never stops thinking about her future. Both English and international press and audience agree about her great talent but Carlotta knows that many things have to be done in order to establish her name within the luxury fashion industry. With 2 concession stores in London at Wolf and Badger, four multi brands stores around the world and three online shops Carlotta aims to increase her business and make her label known.

Everything in her studio speaks about her passion for arts and for life. Her sketches are everywhere and draw the attention. Her garments are full of passion and character. Her collections have sparkle colours, strong slogans combined with feminine and elegant shapes. Over-the-top dresses made of prestigious and refined materials tell intense and dreamy stories. Among them, a stunning and catchy dress seems to overlook the whole studio. It’s a red satin dress, which was made of 41 metres of fabric. It’s easy to enjoy the vibrant and creative environment. Carlotta’s warm smile, her radiant and Mediterranean personality is undeniable and overwhelming.

“It took me a while to understand that I wanted to be a fashion designer. I started to think seriously about it when I was 24 years old. I realized that fashion had always been part of my life and that it was time for me to follow my dream. Sometimes I wish I understood it earlier, but I am happy to be the person I am now.”

London gave you the opportunity to get into the fashion industry. You graduated at Central St Martins College, probably one of the most important fashion college in the world, worked for designers like Stella McCartney and Balmain and was spotted by an agency who sponsored your first collection and allowed you to establish your label in 2010. These are big achievements for someone who had nothing but just a genuine dream and left everything behind her back at the age of 27. London is an inspiring and vibrant city but very demanding at the same time. Tough for someone who is looking for her place, especially in this and difficult sector. Tell me about your approach with this city. How everything started. “At the beginning it was difficult. My English was not so good and it took me a while to integrate myself in the city. I think that nowadays London is the new Mecca for fashion. All the best colleges are here and many international students move here to learn and improve their skills. There is a lot of competition but I would say that it’s a good competion. Personally competition has always helped me to become more creative, by learning from other designers. My family has always supported me, they decided to move with me and my mother in particular is still directing the label with me.” Carlotta lights another cigarette up. Her sparkling eyes speak by themselves. They are alive, smart, curios.

“I got this change to be sponsored by an agency for my first collection. After my third one, I understood that this was becoming real. That I could really think about having my own label.” Her attention to important political and social subjects shine through her garments which become the carriers of strong and provocative messages. In the past, her collections told the story of the Shoah and the problem of the Holocaust and gently touched the racism issue within our contemporary society.  With her Ready-to-Wear Carlotta wants her woman to be independent, clever, determinate, versatile, successful and driven by strong social values. Fashion for Carlotta is more than Aesthetics. But it’s not just politics and social issues that move Carlotta’s spirit. Arts and Music have always driven her creativity and her need to represent the world through her drawing.  Carlotta knows how important the link between these arts is. She thinks it’s important to let them dialogue and influence each other. Steam Punk movement and avant-garde for instance influenced her last collection. Building a collection it’s not only about inspiration. It’s about research and new inputs. Carlotta likes sourcing new fabrics, creating new prints, discovering cultural and music influences. “Every collection has its own story. I think that my last two are becoming more personal, more mature. I am getting closer to my style.” In the last few years Carlotta also had the opportunity to collaborate with Kate Nash, the English songwriter who likes wearing her dresses during her performances. For the future she also would like to involve more celebrities and cooperate with international fashion bloggers.

Carlotta is full of dreams, but she wants to remain down-to-earth. She knows very well that fashion industry is a really demanding sector and it is not enough to be a good designer with trendy and innovative ideas. You have to work hard, think about what the market needs. You have to get used to all the commercial dynamics and the cultural differences without forgetting what really drives you. The genuine love behind this. It’s a fragile balance between becoming more popular and remaining the person you have always been. « It’s a perfect mix that I want to achieve. That would mean I am successful enough. I would be able to develop and increase my label without getting rid of my personality. »

“I like thinking I have two different personalities. Carlotta as a designer is much more organized, focused, target-driven. The ‘normal’ Carlotta is messy. I think that my pieces become the mirror and the expression of both of my personalities.”

Her body language reflects her strong and histrionic personality while she is talking. Her gestures are enthusiastic but her sensitivity shows through her authentic glance. When things seem to become more difficult, drawing is the key for Carlotta. It calms her mind. It’s the hook that brings her back to her primordial push, to her pure passion, where there are no specific expectations, no particular pressure to achieve any professional goal.

A Fashion Finest night with Carlotta Actis Barone designer of the year

 

 

1385671_161104914098962_667198143_nGreat night at the Fashion Finest Award 2013. Carlotta Actis Barone, London based designer, was declared Best Designer of the year with her feminine and original creations.

Extremely elegant catwalk for 6 Carlotta’s statement garments. Wearable, intense and eclectic art pieces that aim to inspire and surprise at the same time for their finest materials and couture.

Carlotta Actis Barone’s label is playfully elegant with classic styles enhanced with contemporary elements such graphic prints and sculptural pieces. Carlotta likes giving a voice to her clothes of their own by conveying statements and messages through intricate shapes and slogans.

Both press and consumers agree about Carlotta’s great talent: her collections have received much praise with excellent reviews from international high profile magazines such as Vogue, Glamour, L’Officiel and ID among others.

Congratulations Carlotta!

Thank you Sara Clarke for editing my picture! I love it!

 

Advertising course: How to find the right product

As I anticipated to my italian readers I am attending an inspiring course in advertising at Central Saint Martins College. We are working on a campaign which can be developed through different media. It’s really challenging because media and their dynamics are changing all the time. Moreover, the aim is to come up with a big idea for an ambient advertising. In other words all the advertising activities that use the ambient to get to their target.

Below you will be able to watch a video which gives an example of what an ambient advert is.

So, today our task was to look for an interesting and easy product to advertise. Believe me, it took time to come up with a good idea. I am really impressed by this course because it allows me to work deeply on my creative thinking and although I consider myself a creative person I am often struggling to produce productive ideas. Then, during the week, when your brain is probably taking some time to relax, or at least just think about simple things, you realize how your mind is influenced by this kind of efforts and works. Personally, I think that being creative means being able to find solutions, new opportunities. So yes, I definitely enjoying improving my creativity!