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Articles by: Marisa Iallonardo

  • Facts & Stories

    Anna Wintour’s 3-Day Visit Throws Milan Fashion Week off Balance

    The affair, which showcases more than 40 collections from some of Italy’s most notable designers, including Versace, Armani and Prada, was officially scheduled to run from February 24 until March 1. But then Wintour declared she would only be in attendance on February 26, 27, and 28—the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the shows—in order, according to the UK’s The Daily Telegraph, to have time to stop in Paris and then make it to the Oscars in L.A. Many of the big name designers asked to move their shows, not wanting to send their collections down the runway when Wintour’s influential eyes wouldn’t witness them first hand.  

    Needless to say, many industry insiders were upset. "It has bad consequences for many, many
    people involved in the shows, from stylists to models to hairdressers. It's absolutely crazy,” Mario Boselli, head of the Italian Fashion Chamber told theThe Daily Telegraph, "She's welcome in Milan but if she only comes for a fleeting visit, perhaps it would be better is she stayed at home.”  

    What also irks Italian organizers is that although Wintour cut her Paris visit short as well, nothing there changed. Boselli told Italy’s La Repubblica, “Questo discorso l’ha fatto con gli italiani, ma anche con i francesi che sfilano dopo di noi. Solo che a Parigi nessuno ha messo mano al calendario. Qui, invece, è successa la rivoluzione.” (This discussion was made with the Italians, but also with the French, who are showing after us. It’s just that in Paris, no one touched the calendar. Here, however, there was a revolution.)  

    But now it’s looking like the big players might save the week, after all: Prada and Fendi are, in fact, going to stick to showing their collections on February 25, WWD reported on Wednesday. And Giorgio Armani is defending his country, as well. In La Republicca he writes, “….non si possono concentrare quarantacinque sfilate nel venerdì-sabato-domenica perché lo gradirebbe la signora Anna Wintour.” (You cannot concentrate 45 runway shows on Friday and Saturday and Sunday because it would please Anna Wintour.)   
     
     

  • Facts & Stories

    Jersey Shore: The Split on Stereotyping

    In the pop culture arena, there are those who think reality shows are the root of all evil and there are those who religiously DVR Keeping up with the Kardashians. But whether you’re of the opinion that Jon and Kate Plus 8 represents the Demise of Television or you can namedrop from all 23 seasons of the Real World, there is no denying the controversy that reality shows can create.  

    And MTV’s newest series, Jersey Shore, takes it to a whole new level.  The show, which premiered on December 3, follows eight 20-somethings as they spend a summer living and working together in a house on the Jersey shore. What follows is an inside look into the lives of these self-proclaimed “guidos” and “guidettes” as they tan, fight and hook-up.  
     

    In the original promos for the show, MTV claimed it featured a house full of  “the hottest, tannest craziest guidos.” (It has since changed the wording.) But it was precisely these promos that sparked much of the controversy.

    Italian-American groups such as UNICO and NIAF called for the cancellation of the show before it even aired. In a letter to MTV, Robert Allegrini, NIAF’s chairman of the Image Enhancement Committee, wrote, “We find this program alarming in that it attempts to make a direct connection between ‘guido culture’ and Italian-American identity. ‘Guido’ is widely viewed as a pejorative term and reinforces negative stereotypes.”   
     

    MTV, on the other hand, was quick to point out that the show was not meant to depict Italian Americans, but rather a lifestyle led by a group of young people. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Tony DiSanto, the president of programming at the network and an Italian-American, defended the show, saying, “I don't look at these characters as representing an entire ethnic group.

    They refer to themselves as "guidos" sometimes, but it's more about the way they act, their behavior, what they're attracted to, their rituals. It's not about an entire ethnicity.”
     

    Cast members, as can be imagined, are proud to call themselves “guidos.” “'Guido' is just a term.” Ronnie Margo told E! Online, “You don't have to be Italian to be a guido.” But some see the association: Cast member, Pauly D, who also spoke with E! Online, said, “I don't ever remember guido being a bad thing. I'm proud to be a guido. I'm proud to be Italian. I love it." And then, in a video on TMZ, cast member Nicole ‘Snookie’ actually tells off UNICO. (It’s a 2-word phrase that I can’t repeat on this family-friendly website, but click here to see for yourself.).

    But what about those who aren’t in the spotlight? Do they feel the show and its use of the word guido is offensive? Or is it simply a lifestyle that deserves to be depicted on the national stage the same way we do with large families, dancers and wanna-be singers? It seems even among Italian Americans, opinions are divided.  
     

    There are those who feel it’s offensive: Jennifer Brancato of Larchmont, NY, think the show depicts Italian-Americans negatively. “I think of a "guido" as someone who thinks they are Italian because their mama makes meatballs and tomato sauce on Sunday,” she says, “or because they wear a big gold and diamond cross around their neck for the world to see (rather than quietly respecting their God) and takes pride in being Italian when watching mafia movies, but knows nothing about the civilization, style and art that Italians have brought to the world.”

    On Facebook alone, groups such as “MTV's "Jersey Shore" is a Disgrace to Italians and Jersey” and “Real Italians against MTV'S Jersey Shore” together have over close to 5,000 fans. 

    Many feel that MTV did its part in perpetuating the “guido-as-Italian” stereotype.

    “If I could ask MTV one question it would be to inquire exactly why an Italian flag was placed on the front of the house. Why not an American flag?” asks, Joseph Battista of Yonkers, NY. Blogger Greg from Italianaware.com, agrees writing, “MTV wants us to believe that the world has changed since the days of Italian immigration. That’s funny considering how, in my short life, any time someone has called me a Guido or a Guinea, it was to marginalize my cultural heritage- not to laud the achievements of it.”  

    But then there’s the argument that it’s entertainment, and just like the drama-filled shows before them, including The Hills, The City, and of course, all those seasons of the Real World, it’s just MTV banking on the drama that comes with youth culture.  

    Says, Jonathan Quartuccio from Shelton, CT: “I absolutely love the show because that is exactly what it is—a show. There is enough bad news and tragic events that happen in real life, so when I sit down and put on the tube, I want to watch something light and meaningless. Is it degrading towards Italians? Yeah, a little bit. But it is nothing that I haven't seen growing up or even still on a Saturday night.”

    And half-Italian, Entertainment Weekly blogger Keith Staskiewicz, writes, “I’m generally more amused than annoyed. Yea, these guys and gals are trashier than the Newark city dump on delivery day, but reality TV is all about stretching stereotypes way past the point of any reality."
     

    No doubt the controversy has both helped and hurt MTV: While advertisers such as Dominos and American Family Insurance have pulled ads, there has been a spike in the show’s rating from just over a million people the first week to more than two million the next. But will it continue to rise in popularity over the coming weeks or will advertisers jumping ship cause it’s demise? That side remains to be seen. 

  • Life & People

    Ralph Rucci: From Philadelphia to Paris

    If we were to play that old word-association game—the one where I say a word and you say the first thing that comes to mind—“Italian fashion” would likely yield Gucci and Prada as answers. But what if I were to say “Italian-American fashion?” or even “fashion by Italian-Americans?” That’s where things get trickier. A mall mainstay like Armani Exchange? Possibly Lady Gaga—the fashion-loving singer does have Italian roots. But it turns out there’s no need to

    venture very far from the runway: Ralph Rucci, one of American’s most prominent designers and a nearly 30-year industry vet, also happens to be Italian-American.

    Born and raised in Philadelphia, both Rucci’s paternal and maternal grandparents hail from Italy—Abruzzo and Calabria, respectively. His father, who worked as a butcher, and his mother taught him to dream big, that he could do whatever he set his mind to. He told the South Philly Review, "Ever since I was a kid, they just instilled this ambition and belief that the world is your oyster and you're a fool if you don't pick it up and eat it."

    And Rucci did just that. After his junior year studying philosophy at Temple University he high-tailed it to New York City. There, he worked for Halston, the iconic American designer who created, among other influential pieces, the pillbox hat Jackie Kennedy wore to her husband’s inauguration.

    By 1994, the designer launched his own label, Chado Ralph Rucci. Chado is the name of a Japanese tea ceremony which, according to New York magazine, “represents respect, tranquility, and integrity.” And the description isn’t far from the designs themselves. Rucci creates sophisticated, architectural pieces in luxury fabrics. “Mr. Rucci’s palette, his poeticism with cut, and his almost illicitly sumptuous employment of extraordinary fabric form a pronounced demonstration of comely grace,” wrote Iké Udé in aRude magazine. As a testament to his talent, in 2002, Rucci became the first American since the 1930’s to show and create a couture collection for Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris—a honor that thrust him into the international spotlight. And since then, he’s been twice nominated as Womenswear Fashion Designer of Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America and has had museum exhibits center around his work.

    His most important relationship, however, may be with the women who buy his creations. While many designers skew their collections young, Rucci caters to a more mature audience. Martha Stewart is one of his most famed clients (she even narrated a 2008 documentary about him) and socialites like Deeda Blair are forever fans who don’t mind his high price tags. And Rucci’s admiration for them is mutual: “In a time when most shows are loaded with starlets, store buyers and media, you know a designer cares about his real end-customers when he saves them front row seats,” wrote Christina Binkley in theWall Street Journal of his most recent show at last month’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.

    It was there that he debuted his Spring 2010 collection, which came in a palette of white, tan and black with a few pops of gold and red and featured feminine skirts, gowns and suits created in light, structural silhouettes. Inspired by the late German dancer Pina Bausch and the sculptures of Lynn Chadwick, Rucci says in his notes on the show, “This season the idea of evolution makes a literal impact on the collection in the form of embroidery techniques that can be construed as stairways, or ladders, rising up from the hems of garments and literally becoming more refined as they climb.”
     

    And while you might not find many of his pieces in mainstream magazine editorials, the press praised his spring collection, which received a standing ovation after its debut on the runway. “If Ralph Rucci attracts customers of a certain age, it's partly because the clothes he designs, with their intricate handwork—the sheer paneling, the braided insets—are so very costly. But maybe it's time for the celebrity stylists out there to take another look.” wrote Nicole Phelps on style.com And blogger Cheryl Shops wrote, “Have you ever seen clothes so beautiful, they make you cry? Maybe exhaustion had something to do with it, but during the grand finale of Ralph Rucci's runway show, I was literally moved to tears.” And SFLuxe put it most simply, “It was Rucci at his most original and stunning best.”

    And—sorry Lady Gaga—but when asked about fashions by Italian Americans, those might be the best words to come to mind. Here, a few of looks from Rucci’s Spring 2010 collection.

  • Life & People

    Scopa For a New Generation

    Last week, I played in a Scopa tournament. Scopa, a game of ten associated with southern Italian men sitting around a table and dramatically slapping the cards down while either smiling triumphantly and/or grunting loudly, depending on the outcome of the match.

    Well, at least a game I often assoicate that way. Because, oddly, that scene might very well be my first memory of the game, despitethe fact that it  happens to b e one of the most popular card games in Italy. As a kid I would see my grandfather and other men from the town gathered in front of the bar in piazza playing away a summer afternoon. Later, as winter approached back in the States, the scene would be of my grandfather getting annoyed that my grandmother always beat him. (but we won't mention that to the guys from the summer...)

    The game itself is played using a 40-card deck. For the tourna me nt we played with "napoletano" cards, although I hear, you can play with other variations, including American. Basically, the object of the game is to "sweep"—scopa means sweep in Italian—all the cards off the table. For more details, check out www.boardgamegeek.com.

    What was different about this tournament, though, was that almost everyone playing was under 25. There were exceptions of course (to try and win, I had my grandmother as my partner – although, possibly because I'm not my grandfather, that didn't really go as planned), but overall the majority were twentysomethings who probably learned to play the game around Sunday afternoon dinner tables or on flig hts to Italy.

    It was interesting to think that while so many Italian-American youths are often stereotyped as "guidos" or Mafiosi-wannabe's, here was a group of young people who actually have ties to a culture and an interest to play a game that goes back hundreds of years.

     I asked 21-year-old Tom Chianese, who helped organize the tournament, why he was interested in doing it and he said, "Being a second generation Italian-American, I surprisingly wasn't taught this game, so I learned it by myself. I find it import ant that the younger generation should play because it brings you back to a simpler time. Today, people are preoccupied with work and money and overlook the fundamentals of lif

    e, which is to have fun and relax. Scopa for my friends and I brings that old school mentally back. Just to sit around, talk, play a game and enjoy life."

    And with a few triumphant smiles and/or loud grunts, that's exactly what we did.

    Here are a few pics from the tournament. Oh, and today, I found this! www.scopacards.com - you can play online!

  • Life & People

    What the Boys are Wearing

    While women’s fashion usually gets the front row treatment—and comes chock-full of celebrities, gossip and ankle-breaking stilettos—men’s fashion often takes a backseat. But that wasn’t the case during the last week of June in Milan, when some 40 designers debuted their 2010 spring/summer menswear collections.  

    And it couldn’t have come at a better time for Italy’s suffering fashion industry. Profits are still down and back in March, it even went so far as to ask for a government bailout. But there are signs of life: 15 percent more collections were shown this time around than in January, according to Mario Boselli, chairman of Italy’s National Chamber of Fashion. How did it go? “Designers at Milan's fashion week sought more to reassure rather than provoke with easy, familiar styles and vibrant colours for men next spring,” wrote the UK’s Telegraph in its headline on the week.  

    To keep you on top of the trends, we rounded up a few of the must-have styles for next spring—whether you’ll be wearing them yourself or buying them for a boyfriend, brother, or that co-worker who wears the same t-shirt and jeans every.single.day.  

    Grey skies:

    Even though grey has been a trend in men and women’s wear for the past couple of seasons, it seems grey, which took center stage at Prada and Versace, is here to stay—and colored everything from suits to vests, trousers to sweaters. 

    Denim all day:

    Jeans, as we know, tend to be the cornerstone of most guy’s outfits, whether at a bar, or baseball game. And as luck would have it, D&G, Moschino and Trussardi, among others, are sending the message that anything goes next season: Ripped, almost-white, shiny, bedazzled or cowboy-esque, paired with button-downs, vests, or lots of plaid.  

    See-through:

    Transparency was all the rage on the runways, with filmy sleeves, sheer raincoats and leave-nothing-to-the-imagination tanks. A trend that the Financial Times likens to the current economic climate: “Calls for transparency have been a feature of political discourse for the past year, so maybe it was only a matter of time before the theme filtered down from men’s minds to men’s wear,” writes Godfrey Deeny.  

    Shorts story:

    The boys were showing some leg with to-the-knee shorts topped with traditional jackets, like in pin-stripes at Gianfranco Ferre. I’m not sure if I could actually see any men walking around in these suits, but maybe in the post-recession era attitudes and fashions will be equally laid-back.  

    Bold and bright:

    If fashion is known to mimic the feelings of the times, the strong colors present in many of the collections might indicate a much-needed reprieve from the recession—or at the very least a glimmer among the grey. To that end, Dsquared2 provided oranges, teals, greens, bright blues, Ferragamo added some yellow and Bottega Veneta displayed a full-on fiery red suit

  • Life & People

    Italian Designers & Obama for Hope

    When Barack Obama was elected President, I received lots of emails, IMs and Facebook messages from friends all over Italy expressing their excitement and happiness over the new appointment. And while Italians general love affair with Obama has been well documented—check here, here and (especially) here—the First Couple, who has already made a mark on the American fashion scene, seems to have Italian designers smitten, as well.

     
    Case in point: At the recent Rome Haute Couture Fashion week in January, couture designer

    Guillermo Mariotto sent an American model down the runway to display the final piece of his collection—an oversized caftan featuring a picture of Barack Obama with the word “Change” along the bottom. That same week, veteran designer Fausto Sarli announced the pink, crystal-encrusted gown he showed, symbolized hope and was dedicated to Michelle Obama. Sarli’s spokesman Carlo Alberto Terranova told Reuters, "We dedicated this as a message of hope — that she can bring hope in the world during this period of crisis. It's a homage to the audacity of hope and youth."
     
    And it wasn’t only in Rome. At the Milan menswear fashion week, the Los Angeles Times All the Rage blog, describes the finale of the DSquared show (which actually took place on the day of the Inauguration) that featured “Faux-bama”, as the blog called him, and the song “The sun will come out tomorrow” playing in the background. Also in Milan, Donatella Versace dedicated her collection to Obama. And check out these t-shirts, featured in a recent issue of Vogue Italia.

     
    Here’s my take: It makes perfect sense. Rome and Milan were the first fashion weeks in a season marred by a recession. Luxury advertisers are pulling out of magazines (American Vogue’s ad sales were down about 44 percent in January), people aren’t dropping thousands of dollars on a designer-branded dress or handbag so quickly—if at all—and, in an effort to cut costs, designers like Marc Jacobs, Betsey Johnson and Luca Luca are not showing at NY Fashion Week (although many are said to be staging their own shows).
     
    So while many argue that there’s an oversaturation of Obama-loving—I swear the other day I saw a news segment describing the backlash about Obama coverage. Literally, news about too much news—I think Italian designers' attraction towards the President is simply another incarnation of what he means for so many people: hope, change, optimism and all the other words the world needs right now, regardless of political affiliations. Even if that means caftans become the new “It” piece of the season.

  • Facts & Stories

    Scopa For a New Generation

    Last week, I played in a Scopa tournament. Scopa, a game often associated with southern Italian men sitting around a table and dramatically slapping the cards down while either smiling triumphantly and/or grunting loudly, depending on the outcome of the match.

    Well, at least a game I often associate that way. Because, oddly, that scene might very well be my first memory of the game, despite the fact that it  happens to be one of the most popular card games in Italy. As a kid I would see my grandfather and other men from the town gathered in front of the bar in piazza playing away a summer afternoon. Later, as winter approached back in the States, the scene would be of my grandfather getting annoyed that my grandmother always beat him. (but we won't mention that to the guys from the summer...)

    The game itself is played using a 40-card deck. For the tournament we played with "napoletano" cards, although I hear, you can play with other variations, including American. Basically, the object of the game is to "sweep"—scopa means sweep in Italian—all the cards off the table. For more details, check out www.boardgamegeek.com.

    What was different about this tournament, though, was that almost everyone playing was under 25. There were exceptions of course (to try and win, I had my grandmother as my partner – although, possibly because I'm not my grandfather, that didn't really go as planned), but overall the majority were twentysomethings who probably learned to play the game around Sunday afternoon dinner tables or on flights to Italy.

    It was interesting to think that while so many Italian-American youths are often stereotyped as "guidos" or Mafiosi-wannabe's, here was a group of young people who actually have ties to a culture and an interest to play a game that goes back hundreds of years.

     I asked 21-year-old Tom Chianese, who helped organize the tournament, why he was interested in doing it and he said, "Being a second generation Italian-American, I surprisingly wasn't taught this game, so I learned it by myself. I find it important that the younger generation should play because it brings you back to a simpler time. Today, people are preoccupied with work and money and overlook the fundamentals of life, which is to have fun and relax. Scopa for my friends and I brings that old school mentally back. Just to sit around, talk, play a game and enjoy life."

    And with a few triumphant smiles and/or loud grunts, that's exactly what we did.

    Here are a few pics from the tournament. Oh, and today, I found this! www.scopacards.com - you can play online!

  • Art & Culture

    "I Love Italian Shoes"


    Fashion week wrapped up in New York yesterday, and with it, the legions of designers, stylists, makeup artists and fashion-loving fans have undoubtedly packed up and headed back to wherever they came from. And judging from the voices I heard last Friday afternoon inside the tents at Bryant Park, many of those people came from Italy.


    I was there to check out the exhibit, “I Love Italian Shoes,” see some great styles on the tons of people in and outside the tents, hopefully grab a glass of wine and um, swipe a few of the free magazines they were offering. (I didn’t even know that Fortune had a style issue. All in the name of research, you know). The exhibit itself was in a booth towards the back of the tent filled with glass cases containing every variety of "Made in Italy" shoes you could want, all from the spring/summer 2009 collections. Think great pieces by Claudia Ciuti, Gardenia and Alessandro Ronci, as well as  designs by Moreschi, Lorenzo Banfi and Jo Ghost.


     The exhibit was organized by The Italian Trade Commission-ICE, along with the Italian Footwear Manufactures Association (ANCI), and was on display for the entire week. The Italian Institute for Foreign Trade, or ICE, was set up to promote trade and business between Italian companies and the rest of the world. According to their website, the exhibit featured, “…expressions of: creativity, innovation, details and craftsmanship coupled with quality leathers and materials with unique and new finishes.”


    I myself have always loved buying shoes in Italy. Well, shoes and bras, but we’ll save that for another entry, yes? I find that the shoes tend to last longer and fit better, and, I’ll be totally honest here, whether the pair I’m wearing comes from the mercato (my growing collection of InBlu flip flops are a testament to that) or from Diesel, the quality is always top-notch. And with the amazing brands and available styles on view at the exhibit, there’s no doubt the Italians are continuing to exceed expectations.


    If you’re interested in seeing more of what happened during fashion week go to, www.mbfashionweek.com or if you want to learn more about the ICE, visit www.italtrade.com. 


    On this end, I’ll be tracking down many of these shoes here in the states and will make sure to grab a pair of Taccetti (so colorful!) next time I head overseas. Which, crossing my fingers, will hopefully be soon.

  • Facts & Stories

    Italians Do It Better—Style-wise, of course


    I really like lists. “The Top” of this, “The Best” of that, “5 Reasons Why” whatever—it’s no wonder I work in the consumer magazine business, we’re suckers for these kinds of nicely drawn determinations. You can imagine, then, that I was interested in reading Vanity Fair’s 2008 International Best Dressed List, which is set to appear in their September issue, but was also released online early last week.

     

    Turns out the Italians had quite a nice showing.

     

    Gracing the cover of the magazine is none other than Italian-born, French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. Born in Torino, the former top model is the subject of an entire feature in the magazine. Her style is high fashion without a doubt, and various articles have been written about her fashion choices, which tend to steer towards high-end names like Dior, Galliano and Yves Saint Laurent. They’re so high-end in fact, that Women’s Wear Daily wrote in April, “Who pays for Carla's clothes? That's a question that has been raging ever since Dior-clad French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy wowed the Brits last week on an official visit with her husband, French President Nicholas Sarkozy. British papers have had a field day speculating about who paid for the first lady's Dior coats, dresses, bags, shoes and evening gowns.” In the same article Bruni’s agent responds by saying she either “borrows or buys”—either way, the girl has style.

     

    Next up is Lapo Elkann, the heir to Fiat and member of the Agnelli family. Once described by Vogue as “possibly the best-dressed man in the world,” Elkann is often pictured wearing a host of variously colored suits (check out this one, oh, and this one too), his hair often slicked back. He might have survived a near-fatal drug overdose a few years ago, but it seems that from starting Italia Independent, a fashion company and Independant Ideas, an advertising agency, that’s old news.

     

    Joining him in the ranks of powerful families are brother Andrea and Pietro Clemente, sons of Naples-born painter Francesco Clemente. I can’t seem to find much on the brothers except that they were featured in Paper Magazine and seems to have an affinity for suits with t-shirts. And last but not least, Count Manfredi della Gherardesca, a descendant of the Fenzi family of Florence—who, as seen in this pic, has a quirky style all his own.

     

    Taking the top honor in the 69th annual poll was Michelle Obama, the wife of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. The magazine calls her “Our commander in sheath,” and her style is known for being sophisticated and classic, with a look that’s characterized with lots of belts, structured jackets and color. Her style has more commonly been compared to that of Jackie Onassis and The Wall Street Journal writes, “First there's the hair. Worn flipped or curled under, Mrs. Obama's style is reminiscent of the volumized "Swan" look that Mrs. Kennedy -- who would later be known as Mrs. Kennedy Onassis -- tucked beneath her pillbox hats. Then there are the accessories: single-strand pearls the size of grapes, as well as the three-strand version.” And it’s not just major fashion magazine’s that are taking notice: At her June appearance on the talk show The View Obama wore a $148 Donna Ricco black and white print dress which only a few days later almost completely sold out in stores.

     

    On the rest of the list you’ll find celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton and Daniel Craig, royals like Kate Middleton (technically not a royal yet) and the Crown Princess Mathilde of Belgium and others including Iris Apfel, Carine Roitfeld and Karl Lagerfeld.

  • Facts & Stories

    Animal Rights Group Protest Against Armani


    The Milan-based group 100% Animalisti joined the ranks of PETA in protesting against major fashion labels on behalf of animal rights on Thursday, with a poster campaign targeting mega-fashion designer Giorgio Armani.

     

    During the early hours of July 31, the group attached various posters to the front entrance of the Emporio Armani store on Via Manzoni in Milan, berating the designer for creating an outfit for the renowned Spanish bullfighter Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez. The posters had such messages as: “Armani, bulls have hearts too and you’re dressing the bull fighter.”

     

    “It seems embarrassing that an Italian fashion designer with worldwide fame could support such a barbaric tradition as bullfighting, and to go so far as to create a custom-made outfit for torturing bulls,” the group said in a statement on their website.

     

    However, this isn’t the first time Armani has worked with 31-year-old Ordóñez, who hails from a long line of matadors (famed artist Pablo Picasso designed a similar outfit for Ordóñez’s bullfighting grandfather). Ordóñez has walked the runway for the designer and appeared in ads for his Hand Made-to Measure campaign.

     

    This time the outfit, which Ordóñez will wear in the Corrida Goyesca de Ronda, in September in Ronda, Spain, features, according to Fashion Week Daily’s Chic Report, “a jacket, trousers and cloak in techno satin in a signature Armani greige. The three pieces are embroidered with sequins, glitter stones and thread, all matching the color of the primary fabric.”

     

    But 100% Animalisti aren’t having it. They not only protested against Armani for designing the outfit, but criticized him for appearing in a current Italian PSA, where he talks about how much he loves animals and employs Italians to not leave their cats and dogs on the side of the road as they head off on vacation this summer. “It’s hard to understand how, for the designer, animals such as dogs are cats have the right to be loved, cared for and defended, while others, like the noble bull, can be tortured, humiliated and killed in an arena for pure entertainment,” they say.

     

    The group, which has no political or religious affiliation, is no stranger to protests. They are known to launch various “blitz” throughout the country and in recent years have staged feedings of the pigeons in Venice’s Piazza San Marco, protests in front of the Ikea in Padova and others against the circus in Modena.

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