Daniela's Diary – Sea Gypsy

How to Travel Sea Gypsy Style - My Top Travel Tips

 

 

 

 

 Daniela's Dairy: How To Travel Sea Gypsy Style - My Top Travel Tips. Searching for fabrics

As you all know, I spend some time each year overseas working on designs and sourcing the most divine organic cotton and linen, scouring markets for the prettiest silk and lace. I spend a lot of time and energy finding embellishments, vintage fabrics and the cutest boho trims, as well as working with tailors and seamstresses to bring my designs to life. I've become something of a seasoned traveller over the years; it's second nature, as natural as breathing. I love the colour and the thrill of sourcing materials, but I also love the locals, the street food and the little back alleys, and of course the cute kittens! So many people ask me advice on what to pack or how to feel comfortable when I travel... so here are my Top Tips for Traveling - Sea Gypsy Style!

 

1. LESS is definitely MORE....for sure.

I never regret packing too little ...never, but almost always regret packing too much.  When I travel I like to move around, and lugging a huge suitcase or back pack can be such a struggle. I love packing light – it’s very freeing! Over the years I’ve learned not to stress too much about the little things, and I have really streamlined my packing list. You can pretty much get anything you need in most countries these days and often way cheaper than in Oz, So why break your back carrying all that stuff?

One rule I try to live by is no more than 2 of anything if going to a hot country. It’s so easy to wash in the sink and clothing dries overnight. Always pack a washing line; a length of plastic rope to hang across a room or on a balcony. and don't forget the pegs! So that’s two pairs of undies (or pack the old horrible ones and chuck them as you go), two light dresses, two bottoms, light pants or shorts (at least one pair of longs as it's great for preventing mozzie attacks in the evenings). I often bring white as mozzies hate white and I couldn't care less if it gets less white-looking. It can always go in the dye pot when I get home! Most of the clothing I make is designed to be scrunched, so it’s perfect for traveling – very suitcase friendly and great to mix and match.

One super light wool pashmina lives at the bottom of the bag for those freezing flights, trains or broken air con in rooms. This can be used when needing to look respectful whilst visiting temples, too. I always bring a cute sarong to lay across the bed to make it feel homey or to wear as a wrap, use as a towel or wear on the beach… but mostly a security blanket for those cheapo rooms that don't provide a top sheet.

 

Lugging shoes is a pain, as are sore feet...so yeah bring the cute Birkenstocks but I have learned the hard way that good foot support is critical for happiness. If you are spending a day exploring, whether it’s a temple, the rainforest or the markets and back alleys, then good walking shoes / sandals are a must. Ugly as they may be, the absolute best shoes I have for back street wandering are my Keens. I adore them and don't care if I look like every other traveller... after all, that is what I am there to do: travel.

  


Even though I always pack light, I ALWAYS bring a spare set of clothes in my carry-on bag in case my luggage gets lost, along with my wool pashmina, a notepad and pen to record any sudden bursts of inspiration and a paperback book to read on the long journey.

 

Daniela's Dairy: How To Travel Sea Gypsy Style - My Top Travel Tips. Flower hair clips are great for a quick up do and to add some tropical ambiance to any outfit.

2.Stuff the Make Up

I’m serious. It melts off anyway. I bring coconut oil that can be used for a myriad of things, oil pulling, moisturiser, anti-frizz or keeping the plaits at bay. So its toothbrush, travel size organic shampoo and conditioner (as I hate chemist brands), my soap container with a small natural soap which can be used for washing clothes too, and a small pot of coconut oil. A travel sized Tangle Teaser hair brush - not only the best ever hair brush invented that doesn't make your hair frizz but also so small and compact. A few comfy hair bands for the above mentioned plaits and I couldn't stand not having at least 2 flower clips that can be used to create a bazillion styles, keep your hair up and add to the tropical ambiance.

I bring a small bottle of Tea Tree oil for cuts or mozzie bites. I usually don't bring any meds as the local Chemist have everything you need at the cheapest ever price and if I do get sick...it's their kind of sick and the local chemist knows exactly how to get me back on track.

Daniela's Dairy: How To Travel Sea Gypsy Style - My Top Travel Tips

 3.Travel Documents & Money

A photo copy of your passport and itinerary...not kept with your passport.

At least 2 Credit/travel Cards kept separately, one in your wallet and one in your back pack or suitcase (just in case) and I like to split my money too....(just in case). Best card to get....after so many years and so much research is NOT a travel card...they are rip offs....Citibank is the only international card that doesn't double dip, so yeah you pay the fee in local currency when withdrawing money but you won't be slammed at home with the $15 bank fees. Also take out the maximum amount of cash so you are not always paying the withdrawal fee time and time again. Never exchange at the airport before leaving, rates are rubbish.

Let your banks know that you are travelling because they often put a stop on your card due to security reasons if they see a withdrawal from overseas. Maybe even put your daily limit.

 

4. Live like a local

When looking for a place to stay, hotels further away from the man tourist areas will offer a more authentic experience, as well as save you money. I much prefer being further out than being smack bang in the middle with all the other tourists. It’s quieter, and often much friendlier, and I am free to do things at my own pace.

   

No matter where you go or who you meet, always be polite...you are a visitor in their country and they are doing their best to speak English. Treat others as you wish to be treated; show a little kindness and it will be returned to you. I always make great connections with the people I meet when I am traveling, some only for a few moments, some for many years. I often return to the same areas and and it is wonderful to rekindle those connections, and to be remembered fondly.

 

 Daniela's Dairy: How To Travel Sea Gypsy Style - My Top Travel Tips. We travel not to escape life, but for life to not escape us.

When it comes to food, it’s always a good idea to avoid the tourist traps and eat where the locals eat. Street food is often cleaner than restaurants where you can’t see the kitchen. First, you should know that the best street food vendors usually specialise in one dish. The best part is that you see them prepare it in front of you. If you haven’t seen them cook it – don’t eat it! Only eat HOT fried food. Be adventurous and explore beyond cities into the fringes and back alleys, where places specialising in particular cuisines can often be found.  

5. Most of all, get out there and have fun!

Plan ahead, but not too much. Allow a little room for a change of plan should a serendipitous notion enter your head. Be free to change your mind, go with the flow and experience everything that your chosen destination has to offer.

Don't be afraid... The world is a wonderful place.

Hugs, Daniella xx

Daniela's Dairy: A Sea Gypsy's Top Travel Tips

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May 22, 2017 by Daniela Brunelli

A holiday with my inner hippie...

I am up at 4am listening to Crowded House on RAGE (one of those all night MTV type shows), can’t sleep! It is one of the first wintry weekends Melbourne has had all year and definitely my first taste of cold since moving into the new beach house. The air is chilly and brisk and so I am sitting here buried in paisley patterned blankets dreaming about being back at Confest.

 

Confest is a hippie festival that takes place in the NSW bush every Easter. I hadn’t been back in 3 or so years and boy did I need to return back “home”.

 

I first heard of this mystical, magical place of freedom, love and expression almost 20 years ago… a hippie paradise straight from the 60’s that I had always dreamed and yearned for.

 

After many years of trying to keep my head above water in a soulless world that places too much emphasis on money and the status quo, I knew there had to be more.

Danila's Diary: A Holiday With My Inner Hippie. Confest blog post

 

I loved flea markets and boho looks, bare feet and freedom, but I wanted to find a place where this was an actual real and existing culture, not just an ‘ideal’ I had painted in my head. My heart ached, longing to discover my tribe. For me it was like finding Nirvana. And by some great sort of magic, I discovered Confest. I ran away from my mainstream life, gave up every creature comfort and security, and with a shining cohort – (a blonde curly-haired lad from England) – we mutually decided to become nonconformists, completely immersing ourselves into the hippie culture which is still a huge part of who I am today.

 

The road to Confest is beautiful. You drive and drive past desolate, lonely, funny-named towns, where nothing but a tumbleweed could have rolled by for hours. The endless Australian landscape stretches far and wide, at times you may not face a curve in the road for what feels like hours, and so you just watch the pavement shimmer yellow in the dusty, barren heat.

 

The sun burnt orange fields keep rolling past, dotted with all sorts of road kill and carcasses. It reminds me to put my foot down to arrive at Confest before it gets dark, as dusk attracts hundreds of kangaroos who seem to spring towards your car from all angles. Even driving at 120 in my van feels slow, I always know when I am getting close as my heart twinges with excitement, I almost forget to breathe. But with huge blue open skies, fairy floss clouds and eagles soaring above, what else to do but wind down the window and sing at the top of your lungs.

 

When you pull into Confest, you are quick to realise that this isn’t some lavish, big-budgeted festival. First of all there’s barely a sign, if you blink you could miss the entrance. For a festival that attracts more than 6000 people, from the road all you can see is a dusty road and some scraggly faraway tress, a rusty gate with an old broken walkie talkie attached and a bedraggled flag..... and then eventually after you drive deeper into the festival, you arrive at the welcome tent.

 

This has lots of smiling colourful folk, volunteers and Confest Stalwarts who run to welcome you, pull you out of your van and give you the biggest hug. Your weary legs almost buckle as someone whispers in your ear… “Welcome Home”.

 

You could be scared off at this point as Confest is a clothing optional affair....not a full blown nudie land… but a hippie nature free and fun type nakedness...it's natural there and beautiful and boy was it a huge learning curve for me. It was the place that allowed me to accept my body as it is and grow to love my body and feel free from within. It also forces you to question all the things you’ve previously been taught about nudity. The natural human body on its own is not harmful nor is it sexual, yet from such a young age we are taught to cover up, our parents might have even covered our eyes if there was ever a naked person. We live in a world where if people see a photo of a woman’s nipple, and organ used to feed a baby, they immediately report it and feel so offended. Yet, videos containing violence which show people injured and bleeding and in pain are often freely shared on the internet, sometimes without a single person batting an eyelid.

 

As John Lennon once said,  " We live in a world where we have to hide away to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight ".  We seem to have place such a stigma and shame around nudity, it doesn't really make much sense.  At Confest, there is nothing more heart-warming and beautiful than witnessing so many people of all ages and sizes feeling so confident and wandering freely and happily around in their organic form.  Absolutely rocking their Birthday suits!  It is fully empowering, strengthening, liberating and reminds us we are human. If we feel confronted when we see a naked body, yet not at all confronted if we witness a brawl or people hurting one another then perhaps it's time to have a good hard look at ourselves.  The human body is beautiful and nothing to be ashamed about.

Confest hosts the most head spinning array of wonderful, weird and definitely wild Workshops. More workshops than you can possibly imagine. Yoga, meditation, chanting, dancing, tantra, sensual massage, laughing classes, cuddle workshops, kissing workshops, how to overcome trauma, how to move past fear and believe in yourself, compassionate communication, curly hair workshops, you name it, they’ll have it.

 

It’s no surprise that everyone wanders around barefoot, arms open with a huge smile on their face. The workshops send you into an upwards spiral of self-love and total heart-expansion. Including love tunnels which guide you through a wall of people who kiss you on the cheek and tell you everything they love about you. People walk out of the love tunnel with tears streaming down their face, conceding that they’ve never been told they are beautiful or felt that sense of unconditional love before.

 

Rainbow children with matted hair run around collecting sticks and leaving tiny Easter eggs at the foot of your tent to wake up to. The Arts Village attracts hundreds of people baring their bits to mother nature. Dancing around the bonfire naked, melting into the mud bath, splashing about in the river, doing massage trains in the spa or singing in the sauna… everywhere you look there are people embracing one another, embodying their inner child, laughing uncontrollably and waking up to their inner power. It is a beautiful thing to both witness and be a part of.

 

Having my Sea Gypsy Stall there was a great cosy pastel base and meant that so many friends and fellow market gypsies I hadn’t seen in a while could visit me. A lot of them still remember me as Heidi from the days that I used to host the Naked Bike Ride. We drank wine, laughed until it hurt, sang songs and mostly, simply remembered how much LOVE there is in the world.

Daniela's Diary: A Holiday With My Inner Hippie 

 

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April 28, 2017 by Daniela Brunelli

Freeing my inner tomboy

There’s something about getting dirty that I can’t help but love. Or perhaps it’s less about getting dirty but more about not worrying about staying perfectly clean. Coming home with messed-up hair and couple of splotches on my clothes means that I’m really getting out there, having adventures and living life to the fullest. Romping around nature is part of the fun, and one of the secret ingredients that makes outdoor play days so special.

I have always had these tomboyish tendencies, much to the dismay of my immaculately dressed Italian family. I grew up in the ‘60s, which was not far away from the perfectionistic ‘50s, and I remember always struggling to fit within the fashion standards of the era. Throughout my childhood, my beautiful mum was always perfectly coiffed and impeccably dressed. She would never be caught out looking frumpy in her nightie or without makeup. I can still remember her careful primping each day and the need she felt to look her best, no matter the occasion.

As for us kids, keeping up appearances was definitely important. We always had to look spic and span when going out, whether to the doctors or the city or out visiting friends. We had our Sunday best to wear to on these occasions—beautiful pieces of clothing painstakingly hand-crafted by my mum or grandma. It was our one and only special outfit and we always had to take extra care not to spoil it. They were taken care of immaculately, always darned and washed and looked after. I grew up knowing I'd be in huge trouble if I got dirty or ripped or ruined anything.


I can still remember how uncomfortable I was those Sunday mornings, getting ready for church and visiting friends. It felt like a nightmare wearing those itchy clothes and having to stand still so as not to get them messed up. Even for school we had a uniform that had to be pristine and ironed and pressed and in perfect condition… socks pulled up, shoes polished every morning, hair pulled back in tight tidy plaits or pigtails, ties and hats and gloves… Absolute torture for a budding little tomboy like me.

No matter how much I enjoyed the beauty and colour and prettiness that come with being well dressed, I detested the pressure to be ladylike, and to keep prim and clean all the time. It grated on me being told to keep my shoes on or not to mess up my hair. I just wanted to to do cartwheels and climb trees and not brush my hair for days. Sitting still and looking perfect did not make my heart sing like fun and adventure and frolicking did.

But fortunately, I got a glimmer of another way to live. We had a beautiful tradition of family picnics, when carloads of cousins and aunties and uncles would all head off to some wild place for the day. On those days I got to wear my Snoopy sweatshirt and Levi’s jeans, without a care in the world for how pretty and perfect they looked. It wouldn't matter as much if I got dirty or scuffed my shoes or jeans… I was free. The feeling was incredible. Racing around in the bush, playing in creeks with stick and stones, climbing trees, huddling around a campfire after dark… I couldn’t imagine anything better. And in those rare moments, for the first time in my life, I got to escape the echo of the perfection and truly feel like myself.

These experiences are exactly what led me to create Sea Gypsy. As I grew older I realized that pretty clothes are wonderful, but not if they stop you living. Of course I wanted to wear clothes that looked gorgeous, but it was important to me that it was not a problem getting a little stain something on them or wearing them for an afternoon in the garden. I wanted to be able to tear them while climbing a tree without shedding a tear and even sometimes sleep in them.

And now that I have more beautiful Sea Gypsy pieces than I could ever have dreamed, my favourite clothes still remain those that have been the most well loved and well worn. The patches and mending that keep them together is what makes me love them more. All those signs of wear are no different than the so-called “imperfections” that make us ladies who we truly are as well. To me, they’re like those smile wrinkles or sunspots or sparkly gray hairs that we all experience as a result of years of having fun. Those little details are what makes us special and real and alive. They are signs that we have lived and loved… and they are precious reminders to me of the beauty of adventuring.

Which is why I’ve specifically designed each Sea Gypsy items to be washed and worn over and over and over again. In some ways they truly get better with age. The colours fade and they get torn and tattered, but I see that as opportunity to help them transform into something new and even more lovely. Dye them once more, tie a knot where that tiny rip is, add a flower scrunchy or a sweet lacey patch to where you dropped oily pasta on them. The possibilities are endless.

So breathe easy with your Sea Gypsy clothes… They’re made for that. Enjoy them, wear them to death, sleep in them, get them filthy. Bleach them, hang them in the sun, roll on the sand and take them on every adventure your heart desires. Throw them together even if they might not match and add a ribbon a little flower when they need it.

And as much as we can still feel like those little girls wanting to please our mums and behave and stay clean, I believe there is a way to look pretty and feel amazing. I deserve that and you do, too. Times have changed and we’re able to truly be ourselves like never before. And my true self isn’t happy unless she is free.

October 07, 2016 by Daniela Brunelli

Pyjamas Are The New Black



I'm skipping and jumping today! The soft winter sun has made a starring performance, brightening up the world all around me. Even better… I've been getting the chance to share the new Sea Gypsy collection—our prettiest ever—with my favourite gals. After months of sweating in back-alley warehouses filled to the brim with fabric, and scouring crowded Chinatown to find that particular lace trim, our newest comfy little gems are finally here.

This collection is not only about having something sweet and comfy to wear, it's also the fulfillment of a long time dream for me. Many years ago I worked in offices and shops where we had to wear stockings, tight suits and even tighter shoes. I always felt so uncomfortable putting on a fake face for the world, and the actual experience of going through my day like that was a nightmare. My clothes itched, pantyhose drove me nuts, synthetic materials gave me thrush, and I had constant blisters on my feet.

It was then that the dream came to me very very clearly… In the future, my life and my clothing was going to be as comfortable as possible. I dreamt that all of us would be able to go to work in our pyjamas. Since then my goal has been to live in surrounded by cosiness at all times, and to create clothing that is nurturing for the soul. I envisioned soft textures and hand-dyed non-toxic colours, all faded and washed many times until they are part of us. No fussing and paying top dollar for clothing that felt like a straight jacket.

I launched Sea Gypsy to make my dream come true, and to help women enjoy comfort and fun and play in their day-to-day lives. This season, more than ever, I’ve made sure to focus on bringing you lovely pieces that you’ll never want to take off. Our new pantaloons and bloomers are made for wearing out or for staying in, to be layered under dresses with slouchy tops that look cute as button but can be worn to bed too. I made sure we used only the prettiest of fabrics with the loveliest details. I fully believe there’s nothing more fun than to be out and about in such pretty things, adventuring your way through the world, but to be so comfortable at the same time.

Introducing the latest additions to the Sea Gypsy collection…. Can’t wait to hear what you think. Comment below and let me know which ones are your new favourite!

 

Spring Gypsy Flannie Bloomers

 
I proudly admit I created these soft flannelette pants as a very sneaky way of wearing my pyjamas out. I decided I looked so cute in PJ’s that I tried to figure out a way to blend my love of bloomers and all things old fashioned with the softness of brushed cotton that I cherish in my favourite nightwear.

I am loving wearing these under dresses like my pastel pink Prairie Gypsy Laura Dress or just with a shirt such as the Classic Gypsy Andrea shirt. I quite literally haven't taken them off in two weeks. When it's cold I wear them under things, or all by themselves in warmer weather. They’re ridiculously versatile and come in two different sizes.

These bloomers are similar to the Prairie Gypsy pants—loose and comfy pantaloons with a wide leg, accented by frills that are so flattering. Plus two deep side pockets for all your treasures and a little sweet low front pocket with an adorable frill too. Their elastic soft waist and flat front means they sit beautifully while keeping you extra comfy.

It took me so long to find the perfect flannelette cotton for these cute little bloomers. I was close to cutting up my old flannelette sheets for these, but luckily after months of searching this divine fabric appeared at the very back of a tiny store behind a market in Bangkok. The soft flannelette is not too thick, and it’s just barely brushed with the sweetest lilac and blue flowers. Well worth the effort and time it took to get it perfect!

 

 
Spring Gypsy Kitty Bloomers

 
These are named Kitty Bloomers because I really feel as sweet and adorable as a newborn kitten in these pantaloons. These are the same exact shape as the Spring Gypsy Flannie Bloomers but made of the finest loveliest printed cotton instead of flannelette.

I searched high and low for the prettiest softest cotton fabric in the loveliest florals and pastel colours. Sadly I was only able to find limited quantities of this divine fabric, so I wasn’t able to make as many pairs as I would have liked... but I just had to use these divine patterns when I got the chance.

They have deep side pockets and a cute frilled pocket low on the leg that's sweet as can be. The frills of course is what makes them so special. I wear them under dresses or with a shirt and they are ridiculously cute either way.

These come in the softest pink, mauve and aqua, and the flower pattern is so romantic and vintage. They are 100% natural cotton and are available in two sizes.

CLICK TO VIEW SPRING GYPSY KITTY BLOOMERS

 


So excited for these because they are our prettiest and most feminine pantaloons ever! The idea for these has been in my thoughts and dreams for a long time. I was inspired by Little House on the Prairie and Picnic at Hanging Rock, two of my childhood favourite books that always bring back feelings of olden-days nostalgia. Putting on these cute-as-a-button pantaloons make me feel like I am living in a romantic novel.


I designed the cut of these to feel like pyjamas but added two layers of ruffled lace to doll them up a bit… and I think it worked, because these look adorable. I absolutely love the way that the ribbons on these flutter in the breeze as I play outdoors. It turns out my obsession with ribbons and cotton eyelet lace just never seems to fade, no matter how old I get. Who says you can’t stay girly as you age?

To create these lovelies, I searched high and low for the most beautiful cotton and lace to make these and hand-picked a few different patterns. Sadly, I was only able to find limited fabric quantities, so we only a few in each size and pattern. Fortunately, with three (!!) different sizes there is something to fit everyone. And with an elastic soft waist and flat front they’re absolutely divine to wear. Not to mention the two deep side pockets and sweet layers of eyelet lace… I’ve gone gaga for these.

CLICK TO VIEW SPRING GYPSY KNICKER BOCKERS

August 08, 2016 by Daniela Brunelli

Learning to love the great indoors

Hi my sweet darlings!

There’s no place like home, and as hard as it may be to put the brakes on adventuring, even this gypsy’s wandering soul needs to return to the nest every once in awhile. After flitting about in Thailand and Italy for the last three months, it was certainly a shock to return to chilly Melbourne in the middle of an icy cold winter, but I’m taking full advantage of that cozy indoors feeling while it’s here. There’s nothing like a bit of cool weather to make you want to sidle up by the fire, dig into the craft pile, and start creating something beautiful to warm your soul.


And while a traveller’s life is exciting and ever changing, there are some disadvantages to spending so much time on the road. Every time you return somewhere it takes a whole heap of effort to settle back into the familiar rhythms. There’s nothing like cleaning up three months of cobwebs and dust bunnies to remind you how much love and energy it takes to make a house a home. I’ve been keeping busy trying to breathe some life back into this place after all this time. Meanwhile my poor aching body is in shock with the dramatic swing from Thai summer to Australian winter and I often find myself missing those delicious massages and fruit shakes I became accustomed to over the last few months. Oh, the luxuries we take for granted!

Fortunately I’ve been through this cycle before and was wise enough to get a few bits and bobs together before I left home three months ago. The house was stocked with all the essentials I can’t live without, like coffee and longlife milk. And I’m fortunate to have a strong support network: a lovely mother who brought over a pot of delicious soup; a wonderful neighbour who pruned all my roses and mowed the lawn; long-distance calls with Mambo to keep me warm on chilly winter nights. It’s easy to feel like the luckiest girl in the world.



With Mambo still in Thailand for another month, I’ve been trying to keep myself busy, enjoying a rare moment of alone time while also throwing myself into projects to make the weeks pass faster. It’s a fabulous feeling to sit at home on my own on a cold winter’s evening, sorting through scraps of lace and bits of ribbon, dreaming about what I’m going to create next. I’ve found that all my best ideas come from these quiet moments of reflection, where I get to go deep into a creative space and play with all the gorgeous materials I’ve collected over the years. It’s days like these that helped birth Sea Gypsy so long ago, and that still shape the heart and soul of the collection to this day.


So as I sit here amongst all the pretty things I’ve picked up to share with you, I am relishing the chance to settle down and reconnect once again with all my lovely sisters across the world. Thank you so much for keeping me such good company on my travels. I hold you so dear to my heart and am so appreciative of your friendship. Sea Gypsy wouldn’t be what it is without this lovely community of women, and it’s been beautiful to watch us all come together to support each other everyday on our Sea Gypsy Sisters Facebook group. The love, generosity, and insight that are flowing from that group has just about made my heart melt.

And now that a few new goodies like our gorgeous floral pantaloons and bloomers are almost ready to go, it’s getting hard to contain my excitement. I just can't wait to show you what I have been sweating over for the last few months. It’s been a true labour of love, but I know it will be worth every second when I get to see the photos of my dear sisters living fabulously in their new treasures.


If you want to be the first to know when the new lovelies are available, make sure you’ve joined our group and signed up for our newsletter, where I’ll be sharing the happy news.

Hope you’re having a lovely day, wherever you may be in the world.

Love and kisses,
Daniela

August 01, 2016 by Daniela Brunelli

For the love of Italian romance


Daniela Brunelli Sea Gypsy Italy women's fashionHello my beautiful sisters... so good to see you again.

What a whirlwind these last few weeks have been. Though I have been back in Thailand for over a week now, my heart still remains in Italy, where I just spent the last three weeks.

For me it was an emotional time as my family originates from Italy and I grew up with all their stories, feeling as much a part of Italian culture as I did Australian. I had not been to Italy in many years and it was touching to feel such a sense of home, despite the passage of so much time.

It was also the first time I was to meet my darling Mambo's family and see the places he loves and where he grew up. Yes, there were tears... What a delight to be surrounded by such, warm and incredibly open-hearted people. (Though it's a pity about the five kilograms of extra weight I'm bringing home, thanks to all the beautiful meals they prepared for us – not to mention all the pizza, pasta, gelato and wine that I couldn't seem to resist while out and about!)


I often describe Italy as like a Disneyland for adults, with all the intoxicating sensations that abound there. There is such beauty in the ancient architecture where ghosts of centuries past still linger. Not to mention the colourful bundles of flowers hanging out of balconies, noisy lunch time trattorias, incredibly sexy guys and gals on cruising by on chic little Vespas, and outrageously charming waiters that leave you grinning from ear to ear... I fell in love with Italy over and over again, every single day.

The most touching was going home to Verona, where my father was born and where I spent many childhood summers. I have only one auntie left there, who is 90 and still so full of life, truly wise and loving even beyond her numerous years. Showing Mambo my father's town was a delight, and the memories of my late father kept flooding back, bringing brought tears to my eyes. This enchanted ancient city inspired Shakespeare to write Romeo and Juliet, and I can see why. It is truly the city of lovers, unbelievably clean and endearingly small, with bridges and castles and stunning little boutiques and romantic cafes dotting the landscape.

My days were spent smiling as I passed lovers kissing in doorways and holding hand in lovely little parks, locals buying bread and calling out to each other across crowded piazzas, children singing songs and bursting with the joy of youth, divinely elegant ladies with their equally pampered pooches.

The whole experience left me longing for the old-school European glamour that we so often forget about in modern-day Melbourne. All throughout my trip, I found stolen moments to jot down little notes of inspiration, sketch out designs, and collect colourful trinkets and photos to use as the basis of our new Sea Gypsy range. I'm so excited to bring a touch of Italian romance into your wardrobe in our next collection. It's going to be divine and I can't wait to see what you think.

And so, with a smile on my face, a delightfully full belly, a head spinning with fashion inspiration, and a wistful feeling in my heart, I said goodbye to Italy once more. And although it may be awhile before we meet again, I'm so excited to be bringing a little European spirit and Italian charm back to Melbourne with me just in time for next season. Big things are coming and I can't wait to share them with you. ♡


Love and kisses,
Daniela xx

June 30, 2016 by Daniela Brunelli

Voyage to Boho Beach Mecca

 

 

Positano Italy Amalfi Coast

Dream of a lifetime. La dolce vita. I am sitting writing this in our sweet little apartment perched high on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on Italy's Amalfi Coast. Mambo and I have just spent four glorious days here in Italian paradise and words will never be enough to describe how beautiful this enchanted little corner of the world is.

It's actually amazing that I am here at all. It took all my willpower to overcome my fear of heights on the ungodly little roads that snake around these steep and treacherous cliffs. I spent most of the drive here struggling to even look out at the incredible view through all my squealing and gripping the armrests and praying for help. Worse than any scary carnival ride. But in the end I am so glad I made it.

Tiny villages perched on cliffs, ancient pastel-coloured houses covered in shockingly bright pink and orange bougainvillea, bunches of wild flowers sprouting from every crevice and rock. Tiny churches with colourful tiled roofs alive with the tinkling of church bells. Seafood restaurants with grapevine-coveredpergolas and crisp white tablecloths on balconies overlooking the vast blue sea. The colours are enough to make me faint.

Daniela Brunelli Sea Gypsy Italy Amalfi Coast Beach Fashion

I imagined in this touristy part of Italy, where the rich and famous come to play, that the people in the shops and restaurants would be uppity and snobbish. Instead we have been so pleasantly surprised at the warmth and kindness of everyone we have met. 

Not to mention the fabulous fashion inspiration around every corner, both in the divine colours and the mix of classic with cutting-edge styles. The Amalfi Coast is where the hippies of the '60s and '70s would come to spend their summers, and that history is reflected in the amazing boutiques here now, which capture the 'endless summer' look like nowhere else in the world.

Beach fashion was born here. The city folk wold come to spend their summers here and wanted clothes to reflect the climate and atmosphere of gorgeous beaches and breathtaking sea views. The local tailors and shopkeepers began to create incredible outfits out of anything they could lay their hands on.

Antique tablecloths, lace curtains, hand-embroidered linen towels, the crochet doilies of Italian grandmothers... these treasure troves were masterfully turned into stunning and unique bohemian dresses that defined the fashion of an entire generation.

Daniela Brunelli Sea Gypsy Amalfi Coast Italy Beach FashionVisiting fashionistas like Benetton and Fiorucci shared their knowledge of sewing and dyeing with the locals, and soon many small artisan factories sprung up all over the area. Some of them still survive to this day, including the divine Antica Sartoria, Nadir Positano, and La Bottega di Brunella. Their collections offer the ultimate in sun-drenched bohemian style and have formed the inspiration for Sea Gypsy since our earliest days.

So as you can imagine, I am totally in my element. As I dream up the latest Sea Gypsy range, I can't imagine a more inspirational place than the birthplace of boho beach fashion. This fabulous region is full of reminders of my first loves: embroidery, crochet, lace and beautifully upcycled handmade pieces built to last a lifetime.

I have truly found my mecca. And as I think of leaving this beautiful slice of heaven, I know I will return with a newfound sparkle in my eyes, the sound of waves still crashing in my ears, and best of all, a worn sketchbook full of new designs for my Sea Gypsy sisters around the world.

 

Hugs,

Daniela

 

June 10, 2016 by Daniela Brunelli

Welcome Back

We have been missing you!

The summer has been wonderful chasing dreams and living our gypsy existence under the sun...roaming the wee early hours in our wee little van to  sea side markets and joyful music festivals around the land.  Mambo and I hope you like the new website...a work in progress and every bit a labour of love so please forgive the hiccups and feel free to offer advice and let us know if something stuffs up :) Which it will :)

There is still more of this glorious summer left for us here in the Southern Hemisphere to enjoy and we are here to welcome the Spring in for our Northern Sisters too.

Mambo and I are so happy to finally show you what we have been up to with our Look Books....our Air Stream Dream Beach Holiday with Demi and Claryssa and the Ethereal Beach Picnic. Please don't forget to keep sending your Sea Gypsy pics too....we love them and you so much for sharing them and I get so inspired to see what you do with outfits. I'm loving seeing ladies come visit at the market that have so cleverly upcycled and changed their dresses by dyeing them or adding bits of lace or embroidery.

You know Sea Gypsy is so much more than a business to me. I grew up with no sisters and a big closet of clothes just for myself. With you I get to share my closet with Sea Gypsy Sisters from all over the world. It always astounds me how much we are all so very connected and alike in many ways. Beach loving, fun loving...dreamers, creators that no matter how hard life gets we still want to sing and skip and play in the sun and spread summer vibes to every corner of the planet.

Thanks for coming back and joining us on our sun chasing, beach tripping, picnic making, flower sniffing journey:)

Love Daniela and Mambo xxx

 

 

February 04, 2016 by Daniela Brunelli

Back in Oz

Finally home and I'm so happy to be back in Melbourne! We have made the most of the last few glorious Indian summer autumn days, including that divine full moon last night. We've taken so many pictures, including a photo shoot in the Dandenong, and are digging through treasures squealing with delight. 

I have the beginnings of next season's collection underway and have brought home some cooler weather goodies to keep my Aussie loves warm this winter. Crocheted backpacks and bags, big soft cotton crochet throws, funky knitwear, tie-dye overalls will make their appearance soon. We will be posting photos soon with a few little surprises, like giveaways and a competition and other fun stuff.

If anyone has a photo of themselves in Sea Gypsy clothing, I would so love if you would share it with us on our Facebook page. I get such a thrill to see the amazing ways you mix and match our pieces and make the items your own. Something I love about these clothes is that they can be put together with nearly anything in your closet, then thrown on your favorite chair and remade into a whole new outfit another day.

As you can tell I am beside myself these days. I'm feeling blessed and grateful to be alive and making the most of every sunrise, bird chirp, friend's voice, smile.... every moment! It is so wonderful to go away alone, though a little confronting at first. A month was just long enough to turn off and go inwards and let life settle enough to remember the good things, be inspired and return grateful.

Sending hugs your way,
Daniela

May 04, 2015 by Daniela Brunelli

Wanderlust

I can't believe how fast this month in Thailand has gone. I'll be back home, back in the arms of my sweetheart in no time. It has been busy but also relaxing and refreshing to be away on my own. You should see the state of my room! The freedom to sleep, wake, eat and most importantly SHOP when I want has been wonderful.

Of course I've missed Mambo but the space we get when one or the other is travelling helps to keep it all fresh and wonderful. I have so enjoyed flying around the back alleys of Chiang Mai on my bike, spending hours at the hilltribe markets and burying myself in piles of fabric to my hearts content.

We have so many suprises coming this season. I've felt so inspired and hope you'll love our new range. We're exciting about adding new colours to our Prairie and Earth Gypsy collections and some divine new tribal jewellery.

I am so looking forward to some winter months at home in my studio creating some great handmade goodies. I'm bringing to life a whole new tribal, linen, lace and hemp range of simple but exciting dresses, pinnies and pants. Off to catch the rickety train to Bangkok. Thank you all for always being there and part of my journey.

Hugs and love,
Daniela

April 30, 2015 by Daniela Brunelli