Hello 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,