Gianfranco Ferre


gianfranco ferre young

Who would have thought that a boy born on 15 August 1944 in Legnano would one day become a fashion legend. Gianfranco Ferre grew up in a traditional family: a father who was a successful engineer working hard to support his family, a wife and two sons. Luigi Ferre did quite well for himself, so the family could afford a few little luxuries, giving Gianfranco a taste for all things beautiful and elegant.

Although the little boy shared his date of birth with Napoleon, his family had very humble plans for the boy’s future. His father saw him as a pharmacist, a job little Gianfranco really wanted to do, while one of his aunts pictured him as a priest.

Still, Gianfranco wasn’t making any plans yet. His childhood was spent playing with his brother Alberto and their school friends, visiting a tailor with his father or helping his aunt Adele in her atelier. It was truly a carefree time.

Things changed when Gianfranco’s father passed away and the quiet boy suddenly took up a new role of taking care and supporting his family – mother, aunts Rina and Virginia and his brother.

At 16 he won a painting competition hosted by Famiglia Legnanese. That oil picture from 1960 was the only one Ferre ever painted in his life. Perhaps it was then when he realised that pharmaceuticals weren’t for him.

Despite family’s expectations, he chose a different path – to study architecture at Milan Polytechnic Institute. Still a student, he became interested in jewellery design and began making leather, metal and plastic bijoux to experiment with new materials and shapes. He created a small collection for Rosy Biffi and Franco Limonta, collaborated with Walter Albini, the Yves Saint Laurent of Italian fashion, and by 1971 was designing jewellery for Elio Fiorucci and Karl Lagerfeld.

The world of architecture was replaced with the grandeur of fashion.

Ferre didn’t make any plans about his own brand or fashion house. Instead, while working for Giorgio Borelli and the line “Ketch”, he went off to India to find inspiration and learn more about colours and materials. He was fascinated by the country of “a thousand faces and a thousand souls” and found it both magical and complex. It was in India where Ferre found and understood his love for a whole range of colours created out of yellow, red and fuchsia, the shapes of sari with a meaning in every fold, the natural relationship between the body and the garment. It was a lesson in elegance, a strong reference that the designer used throughout his career.

He mixed the present and the past, histories of different countries and continents, the reality and his dream world. He understood the importance of fashion evolution that required all those elements in order to move forward and believed that without the East and its charms and ideas, “Western civilization would have been doomed to oblivion or dismissed as primitive curiosities”.

Upon return from his travels, Gianfranco Ferre designed his first collection in 1974 under label “Baila by Ferre”. It was the first time Ferre introduced the white shirt that has since become his signature item.

In 1978 Giorgio Borelli who has became Gianfranco’s good friend, drawn while travelling in Goa. Struggling to cope with a loss of his dear friend and business partner, Ferre ended his relationship with Borelli and established his own label, “Gianfranco Ferre”. His first ready-to-wear collection made of simple lines reflected both femininity and power and was appreciated by women. His attention to form, structure, materials, colours and innovative techniques including laser cutting, got him nicknamed the Frank Lloyd Wright of fashion.

In 1982 Ferre received his first Occhio d'oro award and more soon followed, in 1983, 1986, 1987, and 1989. During those years he was also awarded the "Modepreis" in 1985, the Cutty Sark Men's Fashion Award in 1985, and the "Milanese dell'anno" in 1989.

To be continued…

Gianfranco Ferre jewellery



“Jewellery is one of the most important expressions, a flexible and versatile way of translating ideas and emotions into reality. Or bringing dreams to life.”

Gianfranco Ferre

Jewellery was Ferre’s first love and never ending passion. A hobby inspired by his fascination with precision, craftsmanship, forms and materials was a way to express his vision of beauty.

He began making jewellery while studying architecture spending his time moulding and combining leather and metals into bracelets and belts that he would then give to friends as presents.

His future changed when his childhood friend Isa Bertolini introduced him to Rosy Biffi and Franco Limonta, the owners of Biffi, the most popular Milanese boutique. The couple then approached him with an offer for designing a small collection of leather accessories, which he first refused thinking about his upcoming exams, but eventually agreed to.

A few weeks later Isa’s sister, Luciana Bertolini was spotted at a fancy party wearing a leather bracelet made by Ferre. The accessory caught attention of Anna Piaggi, an editor of Italian Vogue, who quickly sensed a new talent and immediately contacted Ferre asking if he would be able to design a few pieces for the upcoming New York photoshoot.

And so, from bijoux to jewellery, his journey as a designer has began. Ferre stopped working as an architect and completely devoted himself to his new project.

The more he learned and saw, the more elaborate his pieces became. Influenced by West and East, history and places, he would sculpt the jewellery from gilded metals, painted wood, paste, semi-precious stones, tulle and sequins assigning each creation with a symbol, an ornament of India, China, Japan or the Amazon forest.

Everything he designed was “linked to the “physicality” of human form”, focusing attention on the key points of the figure: a long neck, shoulders, wrists and waist. The pieces were placed strategically to construct the body, lengthen it, add a touch of sensuality with a tinkling of bracelets, a necklace that caressed the neck or a wide belt that would mark the movement of the hips.

He saw jewellery as a mirror of the clothing, one impossible without the other, but at the same time, as individual as a woman who wore it. In its most opulent form, the cascades of precious stones and beads laid over a bare flesh would replace a part of an outfit, becoming an item of clothing – it was a beautiful extreme, a totally new vision.


Photo source: Gianfranco Ferre Jewellery Campaign Fall/Winter 1994-1995

The white shirt


gianfranco ferre spring 1994 campaign nadja

Every good designer has a signature item. For Gianfranco Ferre it was the white shirt that he produced in hundreds and hundreds of different designs seeking the naturalness that suited female body. The garments often made of taffeta, organza and silks were light, almost weightless, with the fabric moving around every curve as if caught in the whirl of a gust of wind, accentuating the shoulders and waist, but never taking away the sense of freedom.

An architect in Ferre desired simplicity, precision of cut and origami inspired forms, while Ferre, the aesthete and romantic, looked for inspiration in Renaissance and often used lavish details as decorative touches.

In one of his lectures Ferre said that his “blouses in particular, may retain deliberate traces of opulence, large and emphatic volumes, but are always endowed with a lightness that liberates from any sense of encumbrance and constriction.”

On 25 June 2007, just a week after his death, his last ever men’s wear collection show was closed with children dressed in oversized white shirt as a tribute to the designer who always believed in purity and, as he often put it, rational dreams.

Photo source: Gianfranco Ferre Spring 1994 campaign

Stylish quote


vogue spain april2004 seman

“Fashion lives in reality. It is an expression of it, drawing its contents from it.

Fashion cannot be a sterile cult of the past. Rather it is an extraordinary expression of love for the past and for tradition. An avowed love of what tradition is able to transmit and communicate to the sensibility of today.”

Gianfranco Ferre

Photo source: Vogue Spain April 2004

Gianfranco Ferre Fall 2004 campaign


gianfranco ferre ad campaign 4

It’s time for a fashion week. This time it’s dedicated to the one and only architect of fashion, six-time winner of the prestigious Occhio d'Oro as best Italian designer and the De D'Or as couture designer, Gianfranco Ferre.

There were a few good reasons for me to write about him. I’ve admired the man since I was very young. He was, in fact, one of the few designers I was aware of as a teen and my very first perfume coincidently was by Gianfranco Ferre, so just a mention of his name brings back beautiful memories.

But the most important reason was to highlight the importance of his work both for his own label and Christian Dior and the impact he made on fashion history.

Lets start the journey with a few shots from a beautiful Gianfranco Ferre Fall 2004 campaign featuring Louise Pedersen photographed by Patrick Demarchelier. I chose it because each look had such a timeless appeal. I loved the styling on the first and third photos – long sleeves of the sweater, classic trench, rolled-up trousers, classic pumps, short sleeved jumper worn with a pencil skirt and white shirt. The clothes photographed in a way that make you want to live through those moments and, of course, dress a part. Head to toe in Gianfranco Ferre.

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Photo source: Gianfranco Ferre Fall 2004 campaign


Michael Kors Resort 2013 look for less



Those who’ve read my blog for a while know that I adore Michael Kors. Sometimes I may not write about his collections,  but there are always, always pieces and looks that I save and admire.

This particular outfit from Resort 2013 is one of those I love. I think it’s about the gorgeous golden brocade lace and the silhouette that slims down the top part so beautifully.

A great thing about Michael Kors designs is that many can be used as inspiration and re-created from less expensive clothes and accessories. Since the sales season began I’ve been busy browsing for the best of the best until I found my perfect trio below.

So if you have fallen in love with Michael Kors Resort or been looking for a special outfit, this might be the one to consider.


Click to buy: Sweater, Chloe + Cotton lace skirt, Karen Millen + Gold silk, leath & crystal sandals, Unze

Photo source:

Have a peplum


marie claire France februar

Among all spring/summer 2012 trends this one was impossible to miss. Peplums were everywhere. Just a bunch of designers resisted sending them down the runway.

It felt almost as if we got force fed with peplums. They were the answer to everything. Having a happy day? Have a peplum. Feeling flirty? Have a peplum. Feeling like you need to hide a few bumps? Oh, yes, have a peplum. Want a thinner looking waist? Definitely have a peplum. Channelling 1950s trend? Don’t forget the peplum.

I had a few problems with that. Just like in any situation the more somebody tries to convince me that something is that good to make it into a must-have list, the less I want it. My brain develops a fashion antihistamine to stop the trend allergy from developing. Beside, I couldn’t visualise myself in peplum.

A few months down the line I realised that, apart from the above mentioned intolerance, I somehow ended seeing most peplums as a part of a skirt. This is where I went wrong. While the peplum skirts and dresses didn’t agree with me, the tops and jackets were the perfect solution. Something black or white, cinched with a thin belt, worn with cigarette trousers, boyfriend jeans, tulip or full skirt. That felt very “me”.

What I’ve also learned is that there’s the right peplum shape for everyone – some may prefer just a hint of it (Giambattista Valli and Preen) while others will go for a very clean cut (think Celine and Cushnie et Ochs), an absolute fantasy (McQueen, Marchesa or Givenchy) or very “New Look” (Dior, Ermanno Scervino or Zac Posen)

One thing I am sure of is that this isn’t something I’d buy as an investment piece, so high street is the best place to search for my perfect peplum top. And yes, I am still looking for one.


Alexander McQueen * Marchesa * Givenchy


Ermanno Scervino * Jason Wu * Zac Posen


Cacharel * Paul Costelloe * Celine


Christian Dior * Giorgio Armani * Cushnie et Ochs


Badgley & Mischka * Vera Wang * Francesco Scognamiglio


Frankie Morello * Nina Ricci * Dries van Noten


Marni * Giambattista Valli * Preen

Do you or would you have a peplum in your life?

Photo sources: Marie Claire France February 2012,

Stylish quote



“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

Sophia Loren

Photo source: Vogue Australia September 2010

Christian Dior Resort 2013



Once I asked my husband if we could get a video player in addition to sleek and shiny DVD/BlueRay extravaganza that, of course, could do more or less anything apart from probably serving you coffee in bed. I sort of thought that a video player would be the best way to watch my old VHS tapes. Not that they were precious in any way, nothing nostalgic or family related.

Mr gave me a puzzled look as if I suddenly spoke perfect Japanese and said “No”. “Why would I want to go back when technology makes new things so beautiful and exciting to use?” he added. He had a point (while I am probably losing it right now).

In a strange way, Bill Gayttens Resort was that video player. It felt like it. Don’t get me wrong, the collection was beautiful and very wearable. The presentation was immaculate just like the cut. But, as horrible as it may sound, I was happy about Gayttens departure from the Maison Dior.

The house is desperate for a fashion designer because Gaytten isn’t one. While every collection created by him was inspired by the archives, this one WAS the archives. Re-worked to avoid complicated corsetry and fancy weighty undergarments, it looked so very much like the New Look.

He truly showed his ability to construct and recreate beautiful clothes, but totally lost it when it came to originality, vision and je ne sais quoi that one has to have in order to be a fashion designer and move forward.

Missing Galliano so badly right now…



Photo source:

Linda Evangelista in Chloe campaign


chloe fall winter 1995 lagerfeld linda 1

Today I am continuing with another beautiful Linda moment, but instead of an editorial, I chose these two shots from Chloe Autumn/Winter 1995 campaign shot by Karl Lagerfeld. I think these photos, especially the first one are some of the best portraits of Linda Evangelista I’ve ever seen.

chloe fall winter 1995 lagerfeld linda 3

Photo source: Chloe Autumn/Winter 1995 campaign

Currently loving



…this Valentino meets Alberta Ferretti vintage-inspired dress from ASOS Salon collection. To see all pieces or buy this beauty, visit the website.

Photo source:

Weekend sign off



Sometimes my need to blog feels borderline strange and pointless. Perhaps, it’s my cold talking… I do feel a bit down because of it, I must admit. It was almost gone, within just a couple of days and so I decided to get back to exercise. And it was the most silly idea to come up with! Working out in a cold room gave me a temporary burst of endorphin-induced joy, but got me back to day one as far as the cold was concerned.

The rest of the week that followed such a magnificently ridiculous decision was spend looking pretty unglamorous in  layers of knitwear, box of tissues on stand-by.

I blogged because I felt the need to blog, but I kept thinking if the world would actually remember Fashioned by Love if I suddenly stopped. Do you ever think about importance of your blog and responsibilities that come with it?

Anyway… The week happened to be pretty eventful for the fashion world.

H&M site crushed following the company announcement about new collaboration with Martin Margiela.

Christian Louboutin 20th anniversary capsule collection was released.

Fendi celebrated the 15th birthday of their Baguette bag.

Devil Wears Prada sequel was confirmed for release in 2013.

Chloe has been preparing to celebrate its 60th anniversary with a special 'Chloe. Attitudes' exhibition.

And the season of summer sales has began… Should you feel like shopping, Browns, Monica & Joe, Bastyan, MONNIER Frères, Anthropologie and KurtGeiger are most recommended.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Always yours


Photo source: Vogue Russia June 2012

My favourite organic and natural skincare products


Vogue Italia Beauty May 2010 (Ellen von Unwerth)
Have you  noticed it’s been a whole a month since I wrote about my favourite natural and organic make-up? I didn’t meant to keep you waiting this long – it just happened and I apologise for delay.
As you know, I am very very picky with what I use on and inside my body because, lets face it, we only have one and if something goes wrong with it, one way or another, there’s no substitute available.

I spent months and months looking for my perfect skincare regime and at this point I strongly feel that I finally nailed it. In the beginning all I wanted was paraben-free products, but as the time went by, my demands piled up. No longer paraben-free was enough… I wanted to find products that were almost good enough to eat. Ok, don’t panic, I wouldn’t actually attempt to use my face cream as a sandwich spread, but what I wanted was to find products containing easily recognisable and readable ingredients and formulas that wouldn’t take more than three lines to label. Basically I adopted the same rule I use for my food – clean and simple, no chemicals, ideally organic. I also wanted to find lines that are packed in glass (do not wish to add xenoestrogens to my system) and aren’t too expensive as they would have to be re-purchased regularly, so you’ll see a few options to suit different budgets.

The only natural ingredient I have avoided was honey. Honey is a nature’s gift and absolutely wonderful for many things, from treating the body from infections internally to keeping your skin beautiful when used as a mask or cream ingredient. However, my dermatologist told me once that I must avoid putting honey on my face because it’s not suitable for super sensitive skins, particularly with fragile blood vessels that are too close to the surface (my case). Additionally you should also be careful with honey-containing products if you are allergic to it (for obvious reasons) and have tendency for excessive facial hair growth (hirsutism).

Now all areas covered, lets talk creams, lotions and potions.

organic skincare trevarno o
Just like my make-up, the skincare is also quite basic, although there are a few additions that I just like to turn to occasionally.

My biggest and favourite discovery was Trevarno organic skincare. I first bought an eye cream following a shocking discovery that my Korres eye cream contained parabens.

The Trevarno eye cream pot that I received contained 30ml of pure goodness. The cream was very light, absorbed easily and smelled nice. It was made purely of oils and herbal extracts blended in a base of olive oil and rose flower water. For less than £10 I finally found my little treasure that got me interested in the other products.

Coconut oil. I use raw organic virgin coconut oil by Biona (not pictured). I usually get a 400g jar (I also use it for cooking and eat a little every day as it is – it’s antibacterial) and de-cart some in a small container that lives in my bathroom. The most perfect make-up remover that calms the skin, too. Smells like paradise. Very important that your coconut oil is raw organic virgin oil packaged in a glass jar.

Trevarno Rose & Jojoba cleanser. Made with organic rose water, jojoba oil, wax, grapefruit seed extract, vitamin E and vanilla. It’s light, creamy and thinner than a regular creamy cleanser, but it won’t run. The smell is absolutely comforting. It is natural, herby with a sweet note, nothing close to perfume-like. I haven’t tried removing make-up with it, but as far as regular cleansing goes, it is my little hero. (RRP £19.90 for 100ml)

Alternatives I have also tried: Organic Surge Cleanser/Wash (£5.19 for 200ml) or ThisWorks Cleanser (£19.00 for 120ml). Both are ok, however packed in plastic. Organic Surge made my skin feel a bit tight afterwards.

Rosewater. I buy organic pure rose water and use it as a toner. Trevarno Rosewater & Chamomile toner (£19.90 for 100ml) is a wonderful product, too, but I prefer a pure rose fragrance without anything else, so I switch between the two.

Trevarno Rose & Jojoba Moisturiser. Made with organic rose water and oil, olive oil, calendula, cocoa butter, vitamin E, grapefruit seed extract and wax. I chose this one because I really wanted to have a cream with rose oil in it as I swear by it, particularly because of its anti-aging properties. Plus I loved the fact that the formula contained calming calendula (I’ve used extracts and tones since I was 12 – made them myself at home) and nourishing vitamin E. It’s very creamy, but light and spreads and sinks in easily. The colour is sort of like custard, which always makes me smile. Because of its rich texture, only a small quantity is required to cover the face and neck, so 30ml jar (£13.50) will last you a good month. I have to mention here that this particular moisturiser is more suitable for mature skins, so if you are in your twenties try the Day Cream instead.

Trevarno Overnight Replenishing Cream. Ingredients are similar to the moisturiser, but the formula also contains wheatgerm, frankincense, rosewood and cedarwood oils. The last three have very particular fragrances, so you will probably notice it when you first apply the cream. They are, of course, very pleasant, especially if you, like me, love essential oils, but if you are used to confectionary sweet smells of regular creams, you may need a couple of days to get used to it. Frankly, I am positive you will soon be addicted as the smell has a wonderful ability to help you unwind and relax at night. I also get 30ml version every 5 weeks or so, for £13.50.

Alternatives I used: Organic Surge Super Intensive Daily Moisturiser and Organic Surge Overnight Sensation Night Cream, both £8.99 for 50ml. I liked the smell very much. I also liked the texture of the night cream. The daily moisturiser had a consistency of cold cream (think Ponds), but melted quickly and was easy to apply. What I found, though, is if it blocked my pores or created sort of a film over my skin. The big bonus of these two, apart from the price, is that they both contain organic aloe vera known for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Although the come in glass jars, the label design is sort of too busy and too 1980s for me to process aesthetically – I would never leave Organic Surge products on a shelf for that reason.

Trevarno Revitalising Facial Oil. Oh, I am so so so excited and in love with this one! I only have a tiny bottle of the beauty elixir made with rose water, jojoba oil, vanilla and wheatgerm, and use it a few times a week after cleansing and before applying my night cream. It smells heavenly of vanilla and sunshine. About 4-5 drops are enough for the entire face to make skin super-soft and happy. £13 for 30ml.

Trevarno Calendula Ointment. A very rich product that melts in your hands to be used on irritated skin. As much as I believe in herbals for skin health I was a tiny bit sceptical to try this one, but it really worked wonders. I had an angry little spot that was buzzing ready to come out, so I used a little ointment to calm it down. I had a wedding to attend next morning and had absolutely no hopes of going spot-free. In the morning the spot gone all quiet and looked very pale and barely there. The most wonderful thing is that the skin around it was no longer inflamed as it often happens with spots. Miracle product. 30ml for £9.50 will last you ages.

Aveeno Intense Relief Handcream is always on stand-by for a daily dose of softness (paraben-free), however, once or twice a week I indulge in a little Trevarno Gardener’s Hand Salve that is, first of all organic and natural and secondly, created for very dry hands. No other cream made my hands this soft, ever. It is thick and takes time to absorb, so I use it almost as a hand mask – apply and relax for about 10 minutes. 30ml for £9.50.

Kevin Murphy Hydrate.Me. Wash + Conditioner (not pictured) is the only shampoo I use. It is not organic, but paraben and SLS free. £14.95 for 250ml - try the full range, you will love it. 

Argan oil. I don’t use any regular moisturisers or branded argan oil products. Instead I pour a little cold pressed pure oil in my hand, add a few drops of either neroli or rose oil, mix up and apply. Tons of pleasure and 100% natural.

Organic Trevarno soap. I switch between chamomile, rose&jojoba and calendula. It’s inexpensive (£3.90 for 75g bar), simple, non-fussy, unpretentious and kind to the skin. Smells like baby products – soft, gentle and comforting. Didn’t dry the skin out like many soaps and gels do.
Alternatives I have tried: Organic Surge shower gels (£4.00 for 250ml) and Balance Me Rose Otto body wash (£12.25 for 260ml)

Green People Organic Self-tan lotion. Yes, this is a self-tanning lotion that develops into a golden tan within 3 hours. Organic and free from parabens, lanolin, phthalates, artificial perfumes, petrochemicals and colourants. It is the purest one available around. Not only the results are wonderful, it also doesn’t have that horrible fake tan smell that lasts for days. Instead you get sandalwood fragrance that fades away after a few minutes. I would not use anything else. It’s easy to apply, although it’s a good idea to wait a few minutes before getting dressed. The colour is very beautiful and personally I used it once every 5 days without re-applying to maintain a sun-kissed glow.

And that’s about it. The only things I haven’t mentioned are masks and scrubs because most of them are actually home-made or have been mentioned on the blog before.

Remember that if you have never tried natural skincare, it’s wise to order samples first to check if your skin is happy with the ingredients. If you don’t develop any reaction within 24 hours, just go for it and enjoy.

Photo source: Vogue Italia Beauty May 2010 (Ellen von Unwerth)

Nina Ricci Resort 2013



Nina Ricci Resort collections are highly dangerous for my emotional health. I want them. I want the dresses, accessories (especially gold cuff, statement rings and clutch), and, of course, the shoes… Wedges in a colour of blueberry ice-cream, rope leather sandals and gorgeous flats because dreaming of one pair just wouldn’t be enough (greedy mind, I know, I know – naughty insatiable mind…)

What would you choose? The delicate sparkling sequined coat, the silks in pale powdery pink or covered in butterfly prints? The lace or raffles?

Gorgeous collection to dream about and use an inspiration. Daytime dressing up like a little Parisienne… Playing asymmetrics with cashmere… Paying your toes in delicious ripe cherry rouge noir and dipping your fingers in barely there shades… Wearing flats with an evening dress… And never forgetting about importance of gorgeous lingerie because sometimes it just likes to play peek-a-boo… Why not? Perhaps it’s one of those subtle ways to channel your inner Nina Ricci girl…