The pinnacle of Italian savoir-vivre? It’s style … and the excellent cuisine, of course. That’s how our newest TDS muse Matilde Marzotto sees it anyway. An even-minded fashion maven who embodies the eclectic spirit of iconic Milan, she’s a young mother with an industrialist heritage. And while she takes the time to enjoy the beauty and creativity around her, she is also busy envisaging her own entrepreneurial projects. A fashion and culinary aficionado, Matilde shares a foodie spirit with her siblings: “We have collected a vast directory of addresses — from intimate restaurants to excellent trattorias. It’s a reference also for many of our friends, as well. And not only in Italy. My sister and I lived in New York, my brother in Hong Kong … we are from Veneto and good food is a part of who we are. So this is why I said ‘why don’t we make this information available to everyone?’ Right now, we are working on a digital platform that brings all of these recommendations together, categorising them according to different cravings… it will be online soon!”
A globe trotter by nature (she lived in Verona until she was 13 and then moved to Milan), Matilde resides in the heart of Milan’s upscale Brera neighbourhood with her husband and daughter Costanza, who is a year and a half old. We are obviously tempted to ask her what her own recommendations are … “In Milan, of course, the Latteria di San Marco is the place for genuine, home style cuisine. The restaurant has very few tables and for many Milanese it is the place to be. In Verona, the Locanda di Castelvecchio is the best place for roasts and bolliti. They are amazing! An unforgettable experience in Senigallia is certainly Uliassi, a [Michelin] star restaurant that is simply best fish restaurant in the world.”
In terms of style, Matilde also has clear ideas. As a knitwear enthusiast… Milaura boutique, not far from her home, boasts a fantastic selection of products (with an attractive price range) while for special occasions, the well-known multi-brand store Banner is a cult destination. “I have always followed them since the owners are family friends. It boasts a select array of unconventional brands, such as Saloni, which I recently chose for my sister’s 40th birthday.”
After many years of living abroad, Italian style is immediately recognisable to her in terms of its craftsmanship and elegance — truly the hallmark of this nation. “The craftsmanship is perceived where it would seem more difficult to find it, and the beauty of The Dressing Screen embodies precisely this. It gives people a chance to admire this beauty all in one place. After all, our cultural heritage is unsurpassed in every aspect. Only in Japan can I say I have seen such a high level in terms of variety and quality.”
Audrey Hepburn reigns among her style icons but Matilde’s mother has always been number one. “She taught us everything we know about beauty. We have always been very well dressed. At 13 she wanted to send me back to school with embroidered collars … only then did I begin to rebel! For me, she is elegant even when she wears jeans. After adolescence, she started to lend me some of her own clothes as well. The first? A garment by Stephan Janson which was the first serious dress given to me by my mother.” It’s no coincidence that Stephan Janson also stands out among the designers available on The Dressing Screen. Beloved by Matilde and others for his minimal, colourful flair that is expressed through his ample dresses, like the one featured above in emerald silk Paisley print ton-sur-ton. A real treasure, ideal to combine with a rounded headband by Bluetiful — for a Renaissance aristocratic touch. On her feet, Matilde wears flat Friulian slippers from Vibi Venezia, a brand with which Matilde joyfully identifies. “They are my favourite shoes! I also got married in Friulians.” Niche items like abound in a fashion-forward wardrobe that includes gold hoop earrings, classic shirts adorned with appliqué or tailored with original cuts.
“I look for the particularity even in the simplest things. That’s how I fell in love with the Vernisse brand on TDS,” explained Matilde, whilst admiring her animalier dress that is fastened by a romantic bow. “Vernisse is an entrepreneurial project of two women working with vintage fabrics in order to craft versatile, ultra-feminine dresses. I would wear them from morning to night.” Luxe garments with a vintage appeal are ideal for strolling through some of Matilde’s favourite corners and hidden addresses in her Milanese enclave. Tucked away spots such as Leonardo’s Vineyard or, in Paris, the Musée d’Orsay among them. Thanks to her flat shoes, she walks non-stop. Strangely, Matilde has difficulty wearing heels in summer. “Heeled sandals are not for me. I use Capri sandals, espadrilles … even for parties and weddings, I prefer an ultra-flat sandal.”
Her penchant for authenticity and genuineness is her beacon in researching and discovering new brands. “I was captured by Caftanii Firenze’s clothes, as they are light and wearable, very chic … I had already bought one in Tuscany. For this season I opted instead for a caban in wool crêpe, ideal for creating a practical look, paired with black trousers and an Officina del Poggio bag. ODP is known for its rigid shoulder straps and retro style that immediately transmitts a pure sort of energy to me, especially the cobalt blue model I wore.
Even the ODP water bottle holders are irresistible. I bought one immediately! I still remember my first big splurge after months of saving — a beautiful bag from Givenchy … but after a few years I was tired of it. Now I look for items that will never cease to be attractive to me.”
In terms of jewellery? As of late, she’s been mesmerised by the botanical world of Gala Rotelli. Matilde immediately opts for butterflies, bucolic ginko leaves and adornments inspired by a Van Gogh sun. It’s a project that Gala, a designer who hails from a family of artists and architects, created and based on simple but complex jewellery pieces that are subtle yet don’t go unnoticed.
The look is completed by a Crepundia ring, born from Florences antique goldsmith tradition. “They are contemporary, handmade rings with a vintage touch. Never exaggerated and very practical, they are suitable for women like me, who have a busy life and prefer to wear something beautiful and light.”
It’s a simplicity that pervades from fashion to décor. In fact, at home, Matilde opts for a a linen bedspread by Once Milano. “They are simple but high quality products, made in Italy and of Venetian origin! The rusty nuances were totally in-line with the walls of my house and in harmony with the colours of a vintage chair.”
For her daughter Costanza, her choice from The Dressing Screen is immediately certain: I Marmottini. Matilde loves this brand not only because of its elegance, but also because she shares childhood memories with the founders, vacationing in the Italian mountain destination of Cortina. “Cute designs with a handmade appeal, reasonable prices and their pajamas are irresistible! I also like Dalwin Design, a brand that makes baby onesies, as well as lovely homeware pieces, which their designer paints with fanciful initials and animals. For Costanza, I asked for watercolours that combined the letters of her name with animals….
I also got a shirt painted with palm trees. I could not resist!”
A great children’s classic? Certainly Baroni Firenze, whose doll-like dresses have conquered Matilde’s heart. Baroni Firenze was founded in 1912. Over the years, its popularity has spread worldwide and is known for its children’s leisurewear and clothes made for a real prince or princess.
The time has come to say goodbye but not without chatting with Matilde about what her plans are for the next month. “During truffle season, every year, my siblings and I return to our favourite spots … this year we will also go back to my favourite restaurant: the Antica Corona Reale in Cervere, a [Michelin] star restaurant in the Cuneo region in Piedmont. They have the best truffle tagliolini I have ever tasted!”