I’ve promised myself to take more photos of people next time I’m in Italy. And not just ones I know. There’s really no excuse. Stylish subjects are hardly in shortage supply. Even if one in ten of them agrees to let me snap a semi-impromptu I’ll be doing well. Plus Italians love getting noticed. Attirare gli sguardi is a national pastime, and nor only for the young and zany. And that’s what makes the difference in Italy. Anyone can play. Every age has its style but that’s not to say a bit of cross-generational trend swapping doesn’t go on too. On the contrary. As I write this, there’s a well-known and well mature Lega Nord politician on television rocking a rather hip, plaited leather bracelet on one wrist and a Rolex on the other. And I’m pretty sure I’m the only viewer taking notice.
You see in Italy, growing older doesn’t feel as scary as it’s made out to be on this side of the planet. Quite the opposite in fact. Fashion pundit Scott Schuman routinely showcases Milanesi of every age for his blog The Sartorialist. This divine signora wearing a white chiffon scarf is the inspiration for this post in fact. These are the looks, the faces I’d love to capture for myself. And I know they’re out there. In Perugia last May I popped into the hip, highly addictive and always jam-packed KIKO Make Up Milano store in Corso Vannucci where two very elegant signore, each of them seventy-five if they were a day, were busy choosing nail polish. One of them at least was a regular too, judging by the perfect bitter chocolate manicure peeping out from under an immaculate white coat sleeve. Not to mention the attention being lavished by the commessa. I remember just standing back a moment and thinking how fabulous they were. How I want to be like them when the time comes. But the pair were having way too much fun to notice the smiles and admiring looks they were getting, as the new season sun shone outside. Or perhaps they’re just used to it by now.
Top tip: Italy’s style capital of the plus-60 tribe has to be Verona. The vintage boutique windows are surpassed only by the über elegant Veronesi themselves.