The arrival in Shanghai – this time after two days stop in Beijing- is now like arriving home; another new home for me.  And I as I seat in the 10 Corso Como garden, I am calmer , and happy to be here, as I feel when I am in  Milan.  Each evening I look up to see a beautiful sky, and even with the Shanghai pollution nature’s beauty wins.

Freshly installed in front of 10 Corso Como Shanghai, the six round flower wheel mobiles by Kris turn with the wind.  Their beauty in movement is equal to their beauty in stillness and both are aesthetically rewarding:  but children have great fun spending hours making them turn if the wind does not do its job, and I confess, I also enjoy turning them!

Speaking about friends, my great unique friend Giuliana Scime, who sometimes knows my words better than I do, flew all the way to Shanghai to spend a few days with me.
I am always happy when a foreign country unites people who love each other.

Alfa Castaldi was my mentor.  In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, Alfa taught me a lot about photography and perhaps more about life when I started working in fashion.  Here, 10 Corso Como’s Milanese retrospective made its way to 10 Corso Como Shanghai  for Italian lifestyle week. His son Paolo curated the exhibition and gave a wonderful talk about his father’s diversified work – from the first fashion shoot  in Florence with models posing standing on his  Land Rover, to the dignity of the reportage portraits of Sardinian shepherds, Castaldi broke ground and re-visioned many aspects of photography.

Anna Piaggi for me was simply Alfa’s wife when I met her. She had many extravagant friends in the fashion world, and she introduced them to me. She was a wonderful friend and from the start we always felt close, as though we were sharing more than fashion. She taught me so much and I will always be grateful.  The exhibition of her hats here at 10 Corso Como Shanghai is homage to her wit and keen eye for good talent and objets d’art.   I am glad it could happen during Italian lifestyle week. She knew what style was!

Stephen Jones was a friend first, then Anna’s milliner.  Or as he writes in the text accompanying the exhibition about Anna’s hats he has curated “Anna,  Muse, inspiration, confidante, teacher, and friend”…nobody else could have curated such a wonderful exhibition, where “made with great love” was the driving force. I cannot thank him enough for flying to Shanghai to give this special talk about Anna.  I heard and saw so many things I didn’t know myself!  Grazie, Stephen.

Stephen visualized the exhibition as Anna’s garden, to resemble the flowers of 10 Corso Como.  In a collaboration Anna would have truly enjoyed, Stephen and Kris worked together as the garden filled with vases with Anna’s face, and like in a garden, each vase had a little caption explaining each hat like it was a plant or a flower.

Leaving Shanghai is now a bit triste, as when I leave Seoul, for here also a new family is growing with more wonderful times shared, another family to say “thank you” and see you all soon.

Posted on: Monday, June 2nd, 2014

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