Silent films can be an acquired taste. Melodramatic plots and the absence of synchronized sound are not to everyone’s liking, but those aren’t good enough reasons to dismiss the genre as archaic or tedious. There’s much more to these films than meets the eye, including the story of the Italian divas, Lyda Borelli first among them, who defined the a...

Certain images from films just don’t fade from memory. Take, for example, actor Toni Servillo playing the jaded Jep Gambardella, king of Rome’s nightlife, in Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar-winning The Great Beauty. Who could forget his above-it-all gaze and supple yellow sports jacket that screamed Neapolitan elegance? Then there’s the mysterious scaled...

What happens when award-winning Italian and American costume designers get together on a university stage to discuss cinema, fashion and costume design? The audience is treated to a little slice of cinematic magic.  There’s the lively repartee between masters of the craft – costume designers who have created the wardrobes for the best-known movies...

The man who buys a $25,000 handmade Stefano Ricci suit doesn’t really need a suit. He doesn’t need a $26,000 crocodile leather briefcase or $1,000 custom-tailored silk shirt. He can do with one less $500 tie. He already has everything he needs and can satisfy his sartorial cravings anywhere he chooses. Except that he actually buys these luxuries at...

I am a lover of paisleys, particularly Etro’s paisleys. The Italian textiles-turned-fashion label has made the teardrop-shaped form with a curvy tail the centerpiece of its brand, creating a sort of paisley heaven for devotees. Every new fashion season brings a refresh of Etro’s paisley patterns -- a new cultural influence, different colors, revamp...

  Family business dynasties abound in the luxury Italian fashion sector. There are the Zegnas, the Ferragamos, the Versaces, the Della Valles, the Benettons and others, but the Fendi dynasty – including the five Fendi sisters – has been a nearly all-female-run operation from the start. An enduring brand That makes Fendi stand out. The Sorelle Font...

In the last 25 years some of the biggest names in Italian fashion, including Armani, Bulgari, Versace, Fendi and Ferragamo, have extended their reach into the luxury hotel business. Development has largely followed economic cycles, occasionally defying the odds, but the fit between Italian fashion and hospitality has proved to be as resilient and e...

In a world of customer profile analyses, response rate statistics, and tracking tools, Pellegrino Artusi’s innate ability to understand what was needed to get his audience to read, engage with, and advance his seminal 19th century cookbook, La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene (Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well) is refreshi...

In this season of holiday gift-giving and round-the-clock shopping, you might wonder about the origins of the madness: How did we become such ardent consumers? When did shopping become a social/leisure activity? Look no further than 15th and 16th century Renaissance Italy for answers.

Etiquette seems negotiable these days, a nice-to-have when the occasion warrants but few people can cite the rules of conduct for any given situation with accuracy. Of course, there are the gaffes that make headlines, most of which could be avoided by consulting guides or just using common sense: Remember when Trump walked in front of, not slightly...