Fratelli Rossetti is Transforming Footwear

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When you think of shoes, the first thing that pops into your mind isn’t usually carpet. That is, unless you’ve seen Fratelli Rossetti‘s new striped loafers. The Italian footwear brand has teamed up with handmade rug creators CC-Tapis to debut a line of striped shoes that are equal parts classic and contemporary.

Founded just outside of Milan in 1953, Fratelli Rossetti has become one of the leading names in Italian footwear. With a focus on both craftmanship and comfortability, the brand creates stylish shoes for every season. CC-Tapis, a Milan-based brand, produces eco-friendly rugs that are handmade in Tibet and Nepal.

 

 

For their collaboration, Frattelli Rossetti and CC-Tapis created two pairs of multicolored shoes that exemplify both brands’ focus on fashion, function and sustainability. Using white, mauve, pink and black to create a signature striped effect on the soles, the “Stripes Under Your Feet” capsule is a bold, yet understated statement. And in line with both brands’ disdain for mass production, the shoes are limited edition.

So, be the best dressed of your friends and buy them while you can. We have already.

 

Photos courtesy of Fratelli Rossetti

 

Rome’s Legendary Via Margutta in Pictures

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It’s singularly profound that in William Wyler’s 1953 classic Roman Holiday, Gregory Peck’s conniving journalist Joe Bradley in the end chooses honor over remuneration – ultimately refusing to profit from a deceptively procured story about Audrey Hepburn’s starkly naïve Princess Ann. Bradley, by the way, lived at Via Margutta 51.

Seven years later, Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita would decisively contend that Bradley’s war was a lost one, and that celebrity journalism would careen unstoppably towards the ends of crassness and avarice. Fellini himself lived with his famous actress wife Giulietta Masina at Via Margutta 110.

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Ironically, 1953 also saw the launch of one of the earliest contemporary art fairs, the still annually presented 100 Painters on Via Margutta, which is currently on from this weekend through May 6. And as we are now all too keenly aware, art gatherings have irreversibly coalesced with celebrity culture – cementing Fellini as a modern prophet, of sorts…and inevitably closing the circle.

But the Via Margutta, surely one of the most ethereally beautiful places in the known world for a contemplative stroll, has still somehow managed to exist beyond it all. Here, stylish design hotels share a street address with old-fashioned, ivy-draped inns, and chic but independent boutiques are still decisively outnumbered by classically cultivated artisan workshops.

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Yet celebrity and fashion still mark its existence. As night falls here, the elegant Osteria Margutta draws sophisticated locals and Hollywood stars looking for something beyond the same old cacio e pepe: and at the far end of the street, hip vegetarian eatery Il Margutta morphs into a late night stylish dance party. (Unlike NYC, it’s legal to dance in restaurants in Rome.)

One of our fave places to stay in Italy’s capital also calls this street home, the aptly named Hotel Art, which flaunts a sort of futuristic, 23rd Century modernism. To wit, stark white egg pods act as reception and concierge desks, and Pantone hallways make getting to one’s room a bit of a hyper-sensory, sci-fi adventure. But its lobby and bar are fascinatingly fitted into a spectacular, deconsecrated 17th Century chapel – an extravagant reminder of the Via Margutta’s varied and unparalleled history.

Hotel Art Spagna image

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Bey and Jay Celebrate Her Birthday With an Italian Holiday

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With all the divorce rumors surround our favorite power couple, we’ve all been questioning if Bey and Jay are still crazy in love. But of course, it appears that in fact they are—or they are posing to be–thanks to a slew of photos  of the two enjoying their time by sea in Portofino, Italy for B’s 33rd birthday.

Holding hands as they walk down the luxurious Italian streets, Jay looked calm, cool, and happy to be with his birthday girl—methinks,  a smiling Beyonce clad in a floral bikini and thigh-split sarong is likely to have helped. Haters to the left on this one, because from here, it looks like these two aren’t bowing down anytime soon.

See the photos via Radar HERE.

 

Visual Xanax: Blossoming

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It’s officially spring and we’re officially stoked. Flowers, buds, and blossoms — bring it on.

Image: Sophia Loren at home in Marino, Italy in 1964

Need another hit? Click here.

 

Does Reiki Work? Discover NYC’s Alternative Way To De-Stress

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"Anxiety, anger, heartbreak," says reiki master Gianantonio Corna. "These are the top reasons New Yorkers come to me." 

As New York’s leading reiki master at his Reiki Vitae studio, Gianantonio taps into what he calls "the universal wifi" – that vital energy around us – transferring this energy to his 100+ clients with the slight touch of his hands. The technique: reiki,  a 90-year-old Japanese practice known to cure such physical ailments as headaches, back pain, and digestive problems with its supposed ability to detoxify the body and mind. 

"Imagine your desktop screen, full of all these folders you don’t look at anymore," Gianantonio says. "Through reiki, the energy scans your body and mind: clearing it, cleansing it, and releasing it from its usual patterns."

Known for his 5-star reviews and ebullient spirit, Gianantonio – who began his practice 13 years ago in his hometown of Italy – has watched reiki transform his NY clients in three sessions, and even as immediate as their first. Since seeing him, many of his clients have stopped taking Advil and other painkillers, and Gianantonio himself hasn’t taken any medication in over 10 years.

The practice is simple: through meditation, the reiki master channels energy through him, transferring it via the light placement of his hands on various stress points of the client’s body, and the client experiencing the results.

And results are what we’re after: actual physical healing, and that sense of peace and lightning of spirit that usually accompanies a far-too-expensive vacation away or a spa massage at its best

So when I walked into the Vitae studio to meet with Gianantonio, I entered with high expectations – and high skepticism too. Where does this energy come from? Can it even be transferred? How can my ailments be lessened by simply energy and not high doses of medication?

Within minutes, I found myself on the massage bed, being asked to "bring my attention to to the tip of the nose," all while sinking into the music of waves and seagulls overhead. 

And then slowly, after placing his hands lightly on the tip of my head, I felt a warm prickling sensation, like currents, across my body. Like someone had attached a charger to my back (very Matrix) and simply plugged me in.

The feeling stopped and started – mostly depending on my concentration: if I was focusing on my body, or my lunch order of either spicy tuna or miso soup. After the 60-minute session, I sat up and looked at Giantanonio in a nearly-cataonic state: completely blissed out in my world of seashells and sailboats and electric.

And that’s when the best part came: post-session, the reiki master sits down with you and tells you what he felt – what kind of energy he sensed upon your body (mine was "wind"), and the fairly-specific circumstances that could have caused the ailments, and how you can set out to cure them. 

I walked out with a customized list of foods to avoid or devour, and the simple instructions to spend time with good friends more  and stay active outside. Simple, right? It sounds even simpler and jollier in Gianantonio’s Italian accent.

And believe it or not – I really did feel a difference. After a good week of living this way, I actually went back and did another session, and since then the turnaround in my attitude and ailments keeps getting better – to the point where I’ve nearly forgotten what hurt at all.

Sure, sure, it could have been the effects of all the consecutive happy hours and taco dinners with my work buddies – or simply pure, clean energy at work. You decide.

Check out Reiki Vitae, & follow Bonnie on Twitter here

Scientist Scrapes Bowls for Resin, Upends French Wine World

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Just days after I wrote about the rock-star status of booze archaeologist Patrick McGovern, he’s back in the news with an iconoclastic discovery. The discovery is that, contrary to established lore, France didn’t pioneer winemaking. They were, in fact, taught how to do it by the friendly, share-and-share-alike Italians, who brought their grapes and winemaking techniques over to France some time around 500 B.C. How does McGovern know this? Science, of course. Like so many college kids, he scrapes the bowls he finds lying around for resin. In his case, however, the resin he found in ancient wine containers in the south of France was pine resin, which was likely added to pots of imported Etruscan wine to keep it fresh as they schooled the Gauls in the art they’d one day perfect. Given the not-always-friendly rivalry between Italy and France, this has to sting a bit. But not as much as another French wine fact you don’t hear about very often: French wine grapes actually grow from roots imported from America, after a blight of aphids wiped out French vineyards in the mid 19th Century. In other words, Italy invented French wine, and America saved it. I think the word you’re looking for is merci

It was called the Great French Wine Blight, and I first learned about it from Tom Standage’s awesome book A History of the World in 6 Glasses. All these nasty little aphids started chomping on French grapevines, sending winemakers into a tizzy about what to do about it. They tried everything, even setting toads underneath each plant to slurp them all up. The only thing that would save the French wine industry turned out to be grafting French vines to aphid-resistant rootstock imported from spunky upstart country America.

"… two French wine growers proposed that the European vines be grafted to the resistant American rootstock that were not susceptible to the Phylloxera. While many of the French wine growers disliked this idea, many found themselves with no other option. The method proved to be an effective remedy. The following "Reconstitution" (as it was termed) of the many vineyards that had been lost was a slow process, but eventually the wine industry in France was able to return to relative normality."

And so the takeaway here is that French wine, still undisputedly the finest on the planet, has historical roots in Italy and biological roots in America. Of course this wouldn’t be a big deal if the French didn’t take such pleasure in dissing wines from both Italy and America, but since they do, I think the two nations can take a polite little bow today and utter those precious little words, "You’re welcome."

[Related: Cheers to Science, and Beer, and Using Science to Justify Your Beer-Drinking; More by Victor Ozols; Follow Me on Twitter]

Atheists Can Go To Heaven, New Pope Says

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We’re still a little flabbergasted by this—we did just dispense with the Nazi Pope, after all—but apparently it’s not a mistranslation: Pope Francis (first of his name!) just told the world that even atheists are redeemed by Jesus Christ if they do good in this life. So you’re saying I had to wear a white Colonel Sanders suit to get first communion for nothing?

All your prayers were moot! There’s actually no reason to sing hymns! Pope Francis even cited the Gospel of Mark to make his point—take that, fundamentalists. Between this comment and his earlier remarks condemning a global culture of money that precludes compassion for the poor, he is really angling to make some conservative heads explode. For that, we must salute him.

But I’m also really enjoying this idea that people can be redeemed almost against their will. Take someone like Ricky Gervais, who’s completely obnoxious in his atheism but gives millions to charity—how mad would he be to find out that heaven exists and he has to hang out there with the devoutly religious for eternity? Jesus saves whether you like it or not, I guess. And if you don’t, better cook up some evil deeds.   

Follow Miles on Twitter here

Photo: The Independent

New York Opening: Antica Pesa Williamsburg

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In many ways, Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood is not unlike Williamsburg, a former working-class neighborhood eventually overrun with hipsters. So it’s only appopriate that Antica Pesa, the restaurant that’s been open in Trastevere since 1922, opens up in America, Brooklyn, NY, right in Williamsburg. The name: Antica Pesa Williamsburg. Very fitting.

And just like the original, the new restaurant is a cozy, rustic space (designed by Brooklyn’s BArC), complete with a working fireplace, and serving elegant and simple Roman classics (Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe, Tortellini Di Manzo, Baccala Alla Romana). The Trastevere Antica Pesa counts celebs like Colin Farrell and Matt Damon amongst its fans–so expect a Fellini-esque buzz on Berry Street.

Want to be first? Sign up for BlackBook Happenings now and get the latest openings and events in the city of your choice delivered to your inbox every Monday.

Fashion + Celebrity: The Lady in the Size-Six Pumps

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Before email Blasts went out proclaiming “Celebrity X spotted in Brand Y at Red Carpet Event Z,” the relationships between actors and designers were less transactional. One of the most intriguing of these relationships is the subject of an exhibition at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence. The exhibit, entitled simply Marilyn, explores the disparate worlds of the Florentine cobbler and the Hollywood starlet and how they overlapped from the late 1950s to her death in 1962.

Though the two never met, Monroe was Ferragamo’s most devoted client. She wore, almost exclusively, his five-inch size 6 pumps, which she ordered at his Park Avenue boutique in an endless variety of colors and textures. As curator Stefania Ricci writes, “The shoes forced her to wiggle her hips as she walked, so seductively and in a manner that was all her own.” The shoes, therefore, were integral to turning Norma Jean Baker into the icon and eventually into the myth of Marilyn.

But the exhibit also seeks to draw parallels between Monroe and the broader Florentine cultural history from which Ferragamo also emerged. Juxtaposed with Tom Kelley’s infamous pinup photographs is Francesco Furini’s Penitent Magdalene from the 17th century. Monroe’s pouty beauty is prefigured in sketches by Michelangelo of Cleopatra which were, fittingly, completed a few blocks from the Ferragamo museum. Exhibit continues through January 2013.