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Archive: Feb 2015

THE LAST SWAN February 2015


The Last Swan

The Last Swan

There is good taste – then, in a stratosphere all its own, there is Agnelli taste. Last October a breathtaking tome, The Last Swan, written by Agnelli and her niece Marella Caracciolo Chia was published by Rizzoli. It charts the life of the goddess of style through photographs many never published before. This is one of the famous modern fairy tales of love, glamour and heartbreak, Marella Agnelli has become an icon of our times. She married in 1953 the late Govanni Agnelli,, the charismatic scion of the Fiat empire and a man generally considered the unofficial king of Italy. Marella Agnelli, born Princess Marella Caracciolo di Castagneto is not only one of the great beauties of the last century, but also the most elegant and cultured of that exclusive club. She was photographed by the most famous artists of the day and it was Richard Avedon who nicknamed her The Swan. Her clothes her gardens and her many homes had a timeless elegance, each one housing many pieces from their renowned art collection. Agnelli born in 1927 and now 87 years old, is tall and rangy, with a narrow, angular face, thin and fine-boned. “She has always been chic” said one old friend “even in a straight skirt and blouse with the sleeves rolled up. Agnelli says of herself, “I never saw myself as a beauty, so it was important at least to be elegant” The photographs in the book portray a great beauty in a series of divine clothes, from the simplest chinos to the most glamerous ball gowns. Her homes shown in the book are truly envy making but there are details that can also inspire our own humble dwellings. I note that her favourite room fragrance is mine too, Bitter Orange by Agraria, so that’s all right then!

another agnelli

The book is ravishing, showing many of the wonderful Avedon photographs. The tour of the Agnelli homes and gardens is fascinating.

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No one loves a classic more than I.  The more sure footed and stylish a woman is, the more her wardrobe tends to be built on classic foundations. That said, classics do not last for all eternity. Replacing, upgrading and occasionally redefining, none of these activities negates a classics status. On the contrary they prove what a brilliant design blueprint it was in the first place. Over the years I have owned a dozen Pea coats, Blazers etc. My first from an Army surplice store replete with gold buttons and braid, was a real uniform jacket and like most successful uniforms was simple and sophisticated. Others  I loved were from, YSL. Whistles, Hamnet, Dolce etc. The Pea Coat, Blazer, Caban, Reefer Jacket have over the decades varied in proportion from skinny to roomy. The double breasted buttons in brass or plain. Shades of dark navy is always best and today we demand a supple fabric. The real pea coat should end just below ones bottom where as a blazer can be a more jackety length. This is a style that can be worn pretty much anywhere, any time all through the year. As chic for kids as well as mums and beyond. I would probably save my Pea coat from a fire before a fur, well it is partly cashmere.
What not to be tempted by, cheap fabrics, colours except navy, and any little fashion add ons like zips and I prefer them without back belts.
So to be cool and comfortable check that you have the perfect pea coat, jacket/coat at the ready as this is a coat that is the perfect marriage of form and function.

Above right is the new Milano knit Blazer in Midnight blue. Perfect for Spring, super chic and comfy too.


Martin Margiela 2015


Burberry Coat

Monica Vitti



Brigitte Bardot


Joseph 2015

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