It has been said that fashion is a tangible art form. Over the past century, friendships between artists and designers have shaped fashion as we know it. Salvador Dalí and Elsa Schiaparelli, Alexander McQueen and Damien Hirst, Rei Kawakubo and Merce Cunningham, are just a few names that have given fruit to some of the most iconic pieces of all time. A curator of exhibits and an exotic, rare muse for photographers like Peter Lindbergh and Giovanni Gastel, Nonini is often a subject of art herself. And that is why it should come as no surprise that our brand ambassador’s unmistakable metropolitan, and often times abstract style has been influenced by her artistic pursuits, relationships and international upbringing.
This month, draped in a cosmopolitan Caftanii Firenze kimi skirt and a slouchy Altalen turban (an ensemble that conjures memories from her travels in the Middle East and her Persian/Egyptian roots) Nonini returns to the Cradle of the Renaissance to visit the exhibit “In the twentieth century. From Modigliani to Schiele from De Chirico to Licini.”
Curated by Saretto Cincinelli and Stefano Marson, the array unites 42 sheets of drawings, prints and engravings by artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A journey through all the eras of art history, exploring techniques and languages that characterize works made exclusively on paper — from the ancient design to modern print, from the artist’s book to art photography. Similar to European fashion design, the exhibit celebrates the simplicity of sketching and gestures — a reminder of how fashion is often imbued with an artists vision and driven by an affinity for human movement.
“Art is a dialogue with the world and with fashion, cinema and even music. They are all forms of art and fashion is as well. Cristóbal Balenciaga’s creations, for example, are sculptures, not simple clothes,” Nonini said. “Art inspires, accompanies you in parallel worlds, takes you back to the past and invites you to a future where even without us the great works remain as a sign of an indelible experience.” For this reason, museums in Paris, London and New York are Helen’s temporary offices when traveling, she noted.
“I was lucky to be exposed to art. I have always had deep respect for those who have a talent and in the case of artists, the confrontation with true talent, is a unique experience. I chose the beauty of complexity. It’s a choice that leads to including everything and everyone and feeling things even before you understand them,” Nonini mused, as she strolled passed Florentine monuments like Filippo Brunelleschi’s dome and the 15th century Santa Maria Novella basilica in black and white leather mules crafted with smooth white leather and round toe made by Italian handmade label Tarcio. The geometric heel render them the perfect pair for such a cultural outing.
Helen reflects on her wardrobe for this Florentine sojourn and her affinity for each brand and item: the Caftanii kimi skirt matched with Celine shirt, tweed turban by Altalen and mini safari bag made by Officina del Poggio for her trip to the museum. All three brands are close to her heart because of their Made in Italy allure and also for her friendships with the designers behind them: Allison Hoeltzel of Officina del Poggio, Ludovica and Ginevra Fagioli, the twins behind Caftanii Firenze and Elena Todros and Antonina de Luca the duo behind Altalen. Helen appreciates the quality of the fabrics, the attention to detail and the volumes.
“The caftan allows an elegant, discreet and fluid bearing. And it is precisely the fluidity that is the most obvious trait of the magical relationship between the two twin founders Ginevra and Ludovica,” she said adding that Altalen’s FW2020 collection was made exclusively for Helen and is on sale on The Dressing Screen.
Helen returns to Florentine landmark Loretta Caponi, a boutique that is famous for its hand woven bedding, kids couture, lingerie and above all, its intricate embroidery — a salute to Italy’s artisanal past.
On this crisp Florentine day, that beckons the autumn season, Helen meets its owner, Guido Caponi, who takes the opportunity to show her a few pieces of the new FW 2020 collection and to have her try on an upscale coat. True to her own style, Helen decides to wear it instead as a dress paired with satin sandals by Ambleme. She lounges nonchalantly on an antique sofa with a floral dressing screen, the symbol of our e-commerce, in the backdrop.
“Entering the Loretta Caponi atelier you experience an out-of-time experience. You feel suspended and enveloped in beauty. A living room with vaulted ceilings finely frescoed, well-kept furnishings and an unexpected winter garden. Entering this Atelier is a privilege, it is a place where the quality and the obsession for craftsmanship are handed down from generation to generation with deep respect.”