Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Milano - Mariella Burani

Mariella Burani
via Montenapoleone - Milano

When Raffaella and I decided to get married we did not want to go with the white dress, church, and all of the fanfare, instead a simple wedding with a few friends and family in an unusual setting. We were married in the Grand Canyon after a 45 minute helicopter ride from Las Vegas but our adventure started many months earlier.

We enjoy shopping together. I find it interesting to see the new clothes, colors and textures presented each year. Raffaella loves to model the clothes for me, and generally for just about anyone, so each store is a new experience. During a 3 day trip to Milan we were shopping in via Montenapoleone when we stumbled into the Mariella Burani store. We had been to many of the stores in Rome and already visited different ones in Milan but nothing seemed to be just right.

The store has 2 floors, a showroom on the ground floor and an upstairs area, separated in two large open rooms, wood floors, and heavy drapes with various types of apparel in each room. The rooms also had a comfortable sitting area, which is where I immediately took up residency. We explained to the sales rep that we wanted something unique, formal enough for a wedding but not something to wear once and put it away. I suggested a solid color while Raffaella wanted something full of colors and flowing. And the sfilata [fashion show] started. Mariella Burani uses natural colors combining silk and cotton lace creating texture and often has several layers resulting in depth.

After about 20 minutes Raffaella showed up wearing an outfit that was chosen to appease me. The dress was beautiful, made of cotton and silk, bare shoulders, cut just above the knee. A 2 inch white border outlined the upper body creating a focal point leading to Raffaella’s sparkling green eyes. White shoulder straps hold everything in place. The skirt portion of the dress is actually two pieces a white underskirt which show about 1” under the hemline of the black dress. The back is laced with a white ribbon and pulled tight into a string bow giving a hint of the 1930s bustier. Black spiked shoes complete the outfit.

I like this dress, but I cannot express too strong an opinion. This is for our wedding and she needs to have something that she feels is beautiful, yet if I indicate a preference she will buy the outfit I want. Just on queue the dreaded question arrives, “ David, what do you think?”

“Bebe’, it highlights your eyes! Anything that helps others to see the beautiful woman you are, I like. Let’s keep this one on the side and try something else.”

The next outfit was a tight fitting, off-white cotton crochet lace with a natural colored silk base. Bare shoulders and long sleeves and hand gloves completed the upper torso section of the dress. The lower potion slid along Raffaella’s body finishing just below the knees. Simplicity, complimented by the intricate pattern of the hand-made lace, to accent the woman wearing this outfit is the best way to describe this dress. Cream colored spikes finish out this outfit.

Again, the question, but this time the answer was easier. I liked the dress but did not think that it could be easily worn very often. One of our prerequisites was that this could be used in various occasions. I expressed that thought and the dress went back to the rack. I know Raffaella and was sure that the dress she liked had not appeared. It would be either the last or next to last showing.

Another 10 minutes and she arrived prancing; this was the dress! Movement and color is the best way to define this outfit. A bright floral pattern on a light tan silk base makes up the body of the dress. Red silk and cotton lace is the outlining feature creating color flow from the main body to the borders. A silk half jacket completes the outfit, again creating depth through layers. The lace neckline offers some protection, in those air conditioned rooms, without distracting from the upper chest and throat area. The lower hemline is follows the pattern of the lace with a series of semicircles. The lower portion of the silk body is split to the high thigh and the area is filled with the red lace creating an illusion of see – can’t see. Cream colored spikes complete this outfit.

The sales assistant knows this is the dress, exits the room while we chat and returns with a red lace large brimmed hat. The lace is the same as the dress and suggests that Raffaella try it on. Raffaella does not like hats but this is unique so on it goes. From my controlling position in the oversized chair I have a vision. We are in the deep south, Savannah, Georgia, in the 1930s. Raffaella is sitting on the swing in the back yard. The two person white swing is under the weeping willow tree and the smell of the musk covering the branches permeates the air. She is brushing honeysuckle under her chin amused at the taste of butter it creates in her mouth. The outside temperature is in the low 90s and the humidity is the same.

Things go slower when it’s this hot and the wide brimmed hat creates just a little extra shade allowing her to stay relatively comfortable slowly moving the hand held fan back and forth. I arrive with the mint juleps, the mint is refreshing as we slowly swing back and forth in the sea breeze. Raffaella takes a piece of ice from the drink and melts it on the side of her neck cooling her down a bit and we chat.

As I shared this picture with Raffaella she exploded in laughter, almost to tears. Concerned that the sales associate might think we were making fun of the hat she repeated the scene, but the sales associate did not care, she knew she had a sale.
We decided not to buy the hat, but we did buy both dresses. Raffaella had the dress she wanted and with the excuse that we would be entertaining after the wedding at dinner and a show, I had an excuse to buy the black and white outfit just the same.

Needless to say we were appreciated however, the truth is, we are very difficult to please. It is not sufficient to have nice things that we like. The workmanship must be excellent and the pieces unique. I would not want to find another person wearing the same things that Raffaella wears so it is important to find a quality supplier who prefers not to be involved in the mass market. This does not have to be expensive, just exclusive.


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Blogger Beau said...

After reading this I am definitely going to take my wife dress shopping soon, and I have a good excuse since my sister is getting married next year. Dress shopping here won't be the romantic experience you described in Italy, but at least I have inspiration.


5:13 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Beau - Most men hate shopping. I love shopping with my wife she makes it fun!

I think the trick is in the way the woman goes about it. If I have to work, she does not press, and if I get a phone call she does not get upset. When she models the clothes it's as if she were on the runway (and I have seen quite a few fashion shows). Most importantly she listens, her primary market to please is me so if I do not like it she does not bring it home.

Have a great time and try to get your wife to buy something unusual.


6:08 PM


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