Have you missed a short trip?
By train? By plane?
To Italy? Milan, perhaps?
Let’s go there right now. With our imagination.
On the occasion of how much I have missed Italy and the classy cafes of Milan in particular,
I will meet you for our Saturday dialogue in one of the most central cafe bars of Zurich.
So meet me there in five minutes?
Bar 45 is one of the most elegant meeting points in town.
The imposing charm of the historic Bahnhofstrasse building leads you to almost blindly visit a part of it.
The sun falls beautifully after 09:30 on the marble walls and the massive impressive bar.
A short stop is required to drink an espresso of the highest quality.
Fashion people, construction workers, bankers, well-dressed couples, housewives with their morning groceries.
Jazz and soul music is the perfect good morning for your ears.
Black great artists from the 70’s sing to you while you grab a bite of the Sicilian vanilla cream croissant.
Languages : Swiss, Italian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek.
The staff indescribably polite and smiling.
Some of them communicate in Italian with the regulars.
“..Buongiorno, come stai?
Complimenti….molto bello… delizioso… ben fatto amico mio…”
On the opposite corner the shop of PRADA.
Ιn the pedestrian street, CUCCI.
The Milanese corner of Zurich in all its glory.
While I wait for you and while you are late for our appointment, I take out my laptop, order a cappuccino and an amaretti biscotti and start writing.
I reintroduce the file with the manifesto of Gentle Living that I had begun to present to you in the previous article.
Watching the customers coming in and out of the two big fashion stores ….I realize how wonderful it is to have created your own style.
To know what suits you, why you want to wear it? and why you feel good in it? even if others think it doesn’t suit you.
We live in the decade where everyone has an opinion on what is tasteful and what is not. Reading two of the (let’s say) well-known fashion blogs I am shocked by the rudeness, conservatism, and lack of sophistication.
Living in the Netherlands where the most common google question is:
“Where can I find good sneakers ?”
I realized that style is not only a personal matter.
Your past, the country you live in, the history of your ancestors, the weather, the educational system, political circumstances, and the art~revolution that each nation has made can influence the way we dress.
How we walk and how we communicate with others and ourselves.
In Amsterdam the weather is rainy and the wind is always strong.
Freedom and total acceptance lead Dutch women and men to a better relationship with their bodies and their sexual choices.
On their bike .. they feel like Queens & Kings.
But the suits, ties, airy silk dresses, and heels are not something one would choose for everyday life.
Beautiful, colorful raincoats, cheerful beanies, white t-shirts with prints & yes …. magic snickers is the answer.
My friends, don’t be fooled by the fashion judges, the judgmental hairdressers, the flashy celebrities, and the models of catwalk police.
There is no one who knows her/himself better than you.
Find your personal style and underline it with tenderness.
It doesn’t take much money to feel good about yourself and the way you take care of your appearance.
Scarves, hats, a pair of glasses, second-hand wristwatches (even better old pocket watches) your perfume, your favorite soap, your smile or your crown, your polite nods to those who serve you, your proud or cheerful gait.
These are all your way of standing out. Without any great effort.
Don’t be afraid to be bold, don’t shy away from colors.
Beige and grey are wonderful but …Red … will always be “The Red Colour”.
Wear your yellow gloves in a slow ritual.
Run behind your straw hat when the wind gets it.
Buy those huge umbrellas with the carved handle and rainbow colors.
Read poetry please.
Smoke a cigarette(just one, please don’t become a smoker) secretly or openly like Betty Davis when she comes down/up the stairs in the famous movie “All About Eve”
However, to make you feel more comfortable, I confess that I am thinking of introducing papillons into my daily life…
What about you?
Don’t be afraid to dispute those who taught you what choices are right for you
Those who taught you what makes you happy.
Delete. Remove. Enjoy.
Come into conflict with the conservatism of religions and try to rebel against the imposed rules.
Support the strong woman inside you.
Let yourself truly free the man you oppress.
Say no to the hills with Zara shirts.
And surrender once a year to the services of a tailor.
Resist the clicks of gossip sites and fall in love with architecture albums.
Reject the low-level Facebook chats
And encourage a conversation with your children around the kitchen table, with linen tablecloths and china plates.
Style isn’t just about clothes and shopping.
Unfortunately, we have all associated style with scandals and big labels.
That’s probably why we fear it.
Do not stay quiet and invisible behind your parents’ choices.
The Italians have so many battles and civil wars in their history … that’s why they gave us “the renaissance”.
I can’t imagine this world without the explosive renaissance era.
We are grateful to them.
Style involves education, vigilance, aesthetics, narrow contact with every form of art.
It wants us active in every political choice.
Let’s not forget that fascists have always been in bad taste.
They burned art.
They loved animal skins.
They repeated blathering lines about superior races.
They hated colors and difference.
They wanted everything to be the same.
All white ..all in sets…So that they can control them.
I can’t imagine what the fashion world would be like without African Americans who in hard times taught fashion, art, and aesthetics.
All the great designers have admitted their influence from the movements of our black brothers and sisters.
Especially in the 50s, almost everything we loved was a copy of the lives of the black jazz artists .
And if someone tells me:
Panos …I’ve tried hard, but I can’t find my style.
Then I’ll urge him to open a bottle of good wine and call on the phone, someone he loves very much, and have him listen to Billie Holiday’s “When You’re Smiling“.
I will ask her to read a short poem by the national poet of her country and record it.
Then she should listen to the recitation of the poem and the power of her voice.
I’d try to convince him to light up white long candles and make the best dish he knows how to cook while listening to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 “Pathétique“.
After that, nothing will be the same in the way he listens to the world. The way she walks on the ground will be slightly different, and let no one notice this change.
My relationship with classical music is rather imperfect. I love it but my knowledge is always so limited.
One morning in April 2020 (in the middle of the great quarantine) in a village just outside Amsterdam, I put “Vivaldi’s Spring” on my little speaker and rode my bike.
On the right is a vast meadow of yellow wildflowers and on the left is the sea.
In front of me, a beautiful girl with long brown hair was riding through the meadow.
How happy I am for the cinema moments I often live in my life.
28 April 2020 in Amsterdam
I assure you that nothing is accidental.
Beauty is something we ought to look for.
Usually, it is right next to us and we are convinced that we do not deserve it.
That’s why I’m writing these words to you now.
To move you just a little out of your comfort zone.
The style contains madness.
We all have an insanity in our brain.
Before I close this chapter I would like to pass on to you something amazing that one of the top conductors of my generation said recently in an interview.
The Greek charming, unconventional, orchestra conductor :
“If aliens come to the planet, in order to show them that we are in a peaceful mood,
We have to play Beethoven’s Ninth to them.
It is a sign of human civilization.
It’s like the Parthenon.
My intention this Saturday (as I announced to you on Instagram) was a little analysis and conversation with you about the documentary “The Tinder Swindler” and the film: “Don’t look up”
But since I am in this superb Italian corner. I suggest you enjoy the most beautiful film of the year (personal view)
The Hand Of God
I confess to you that I identify myself with what happens in the movie a lot.
Paolo Sorrentino is one of the greatest European directors and his film is autobiographical.
What prevails is the warm relationships, the intense father, the mother playing jokes, the big noisy family, the exuberance, and the pleasant bustle of a typical Mediterranean upbringing, with freedom and open doors.
Living in an environment like this until I was 19, I enjoyed every minute of the film.
Naples as it has never been seen before. Charming, festive, dark.
I felt the same joy when I saw Alfonso Cuaron’s film “Roma”.
Everything filmed there is like describing my own childhood.
I will look forward to your reviews.
As you all understood this article was almost a special tribute to Italian culture.
Yes, it’s time for a trip.
Buongiorno e buona giornata.