Being one of those who look cheap even when dressed in a haute-couture gown, none would suspect my career is in luxury. In fact, I feel the most comfortable me when in a pair of black trousers, boots and a grey t-shirt: the most modest and unnoticeable, the better. My mother says my lack of elegance depends on the fact I have such a big colorful personality I shall not add turquoise or flowery patterns to my figure, but I think she loves me a lot and sees more than it’s there. No. Truth is: I just can’t dress myself.
The art of choosing items matching colors that enhance your body without looking a tramp. The technique to seem perfectly comfortable with what you are wearing. The capacity of walking in a stiletto without falling on your face. The courage of not wearing a pair of alpine socks when the temperature goes below ten celsius. The aim to suffer in the name of glamour. None of that: not for me.
Do not misunderstand me, in my (tasteless) aesthetic behavior I am the absolute best, the epitome of wrong colors on badly matched textiles all together: I am the guru of non-fashion, I am the black hole that devours every stylist’s ambition, I am the Yang of Scott Schuman and the desperation of my fiancée, a glamourous guy who dreams of a world where I am Elizabeth Taylor.
Like those uber-professors who teach surgery in prestigious universities but have never held a surgical knife, I too know by experience quite a lot about style and design while I am completely incapable to apply very simple rules for the dressing-up routine. Strangely, that part of me that sees immediately what’s wrong in people’s clothing or houses, doesn’t work when I get to pick up my own apparel in the morning or have to decorate my own place - this only happens if I really must, if nobody else is around, if I have no choice, if a complete set of furnishing has been delivered at the front door and important guests are coming to visit within one hour - I think I made the concept clear.
People and properties are quite similar, in my judgement, for rarely crass humans will end owning a classy villa: they will overdo it, the same way they layer tags over tags and, while spending an insane amount of money in a giant jacuzzi, they won’t be able to make a living room seem comfortable. On the other hand, fellows who are nice will have their disposition reflected in a gracefully magnificent home. I know this because of my job: I have been inspecting luxury villas located in Italy and retailing them to companies located abroad for twenty years.
Having started from the ugliest of the available properties in Italy I expected to abandon the monstruosities while rising to the top of the real estate, however I can say there is no limit to the decorative horror even in the best possible economical conditions: painted bows, giant Maos in flashy colors -if MOMA has it, how awesome would be in my living room-, bathrooms that look (and feel) like morgues, bedrooms with pink canopies, trompe l'oeil with venetian masks and Tyrollean furnishing to fill the beach cottage.
After twenty years I still get amused by how depressing the Italian bedding is: the Country that owns the trademark of taste cannot pull a proper bed off in ninety percent of the cases. I am talking about flat pillows, one per bed only of course, lieing on yellow quilted, asymmetric, old blankets: a tragedy for the eyes, an uncomfortable date with an ugly night.
I wonder which satanic force leads a normal person, someone like us, someone who is not blind and hasn’t attended schools in the Antartic, to buy a marine themed sofa cover. Who likes a set of powerful lights that, when at the table, make you look like you just spent your afternoon in front of a propulsion engine? Shouldn’t Calacatta marble of Carrara be destined to glorious statues rather than decorating corridors like mausoleums?
My personal terror is, indeed, the decorating wife, a creature with plenty of time in her hands that, after surfing Pinterest heavily for two months, feels ready to express her own “touch” to the world, imposing it to her very poor mansion, now a gigantic italian reproduction of a pink mexican ranch. A little bit like the tuscan-style mansions around Napa Valley, a sort of colonica houses on steroids, the frenchy fluffy tuscan cottage is an epidemic mistake on the theme of style we need to be aware of.
Thankfully, instead, I get to meet some unbelievably tasteful proprietors who, unlike me, can dress superbly and are not afraid of space: their homes are a work of art, a happy place we are happy to present to our partners and guests, an inspiration to learn how to get things done properly when it comes to our own house.
They do not search for a theme, they are big on the spirit of the place, and help it shine a little like fillers and botox do with us middle-aged women: nothing plumped, nothing too glossy. Just a magnificent version of the truth, organicly located in its surroundings.