Arianna Chieli portrait
5 min.

She left Città di Castello at the end of the ‘90s “with a suitcase full of dreams and few certainties “A woman able to maintain both the desire to write and a passion for fashion, in the days when the internet was just taking off.

“Fashion is my passion, a great all-encopassing love”

Arianna talks to The Mag in an interview about her life and work in the fashion capital, Milan.

by Cristina Crisci

From Città di Castello to Milan with the aim of becoming a fashion journalist… tell us how you started.

«When I left Città di Castello I wanted to write, but I didn’t know where and how. After graduating in modern literature and with a Master’s degree in communication, I thought more than once that I should choose something more secure. I had several doors slammed in my face, held underpaid jobs, accepted tedious tasks, as so often happens when you’re just starting. But I was very determined and I had what I now consider a huge stroke of luck – I started using the Internet when it was in its infancy. I was young and visionary enough to begin working for one of the first and most important web-based publishers. It was 1999. Since then I’ve been a story teller and created and shared videos, audio and articles online».

Where does your passion for fashion come from?

«Fashion is my passion, a great all-encompassing love. I come from a family of teachers, so there were many discussions around the dinner table about the classics and politics, but thankfully my mother bought fashion magazines in large quantities! These were a window on the world during the long days in the sticks… a dream that carried me away every time I opened ‘Anna’, ‘Cosmo’ or ‘Moda’. I wanted to be there – a world of fabulous dresses, beautiful women and, I imagined, a globe-trotting life. From the professional point of view it was a lucky coincidence that I found myself in the right place at the right time – I replaced a journalist at Fashion TV to cover the catwalks in Milan… and I was really into it. After that, I presented myself to ‘corriere.it’, which at the time didn’t have a fashion section, and put myself forward as a fashion journalist. It went well and I continued to work with them for almost 11 years».

In your profession fashion and technology go hand in hand – how does a fashion blogger work?

«The term fashion blogger is very ambiguous and includes the inherent suggestion of airheaded girls taking selfies to post on Instagram! I’d rather be defined as a blogger – in reality I haven’t really done anything but use a different platform from which to express a point of view».

What’s your day like?

«I’m always working, if you define work as looking for news, keeping up to date and being online. But I do a job I love and often the distinction between work and pleasure is small. I’m always online looking for news that might be interesting for those who follow my blog. I get involved in events and presentations, I meet people, and I find stories to tell. Imagine the job of a reporter who must also be very familiar with technology. I don’t have a typical day, because projects are always changing and blogging isn’t the only thing I do. However, the first thing I usually do is have breakfast with my family with all the technology strictly off. Then I check my emails and, if there aren’t any shows or presentations to go to, I start writing».

You are the founder of Fashion Camp; tell us about it…

«FashionCamp is an event dedicated to fashion and new technologies which I started four years ago, although this year it’s going to be slightly smaller and part of the Blogfest in Rimini. We want to put our energies into next year’s Expo 2015, where the focus will be entirely on ’ Made in Italy’. It’s been a great challenge but also very satisfying because creating a new culture in Italy is very difficult and even more difficult is to get companies to invest in something so different».

How does the event work?

«FashionCamp is a yearly event organized as a two-day ‘camp’ that compares mainstream fashion with those who are experimenting with new technology. It also looks at fashion bloggers, upcoming designers, who’s incorporating fashion ethics and new ideas for the future, and we do this via workshops, presentations and discussions. It promotes an open and shared high-tech vision of fashion and is really democratic. The Milan FashionCamp has proved to be the most important industry event to take stock of where we are, how we’re evolving and what the future will bring».

What about your blog ‘Fashionblabla’?

«I started Fashionblabla in 2010 as an experiment, a kind of ‘blogozine’ on Italian fashion – the first of its kind; the idea being to share a personal point of view on fashion using different writers. I focused heavily on the quality of the content. We had some mad headings, but also some very entertaining ones. I think the collaboration of both male and female writers made the quality really interesting. Since 2013, for all sorts of reasons, ‘fashionblabla’ has become my blog, so it’s my voice that tells the story, but there’s always room for guests. Frankly I don’t know what will become of it, but I like to experiment and will continue to do so».

Post Milan Fashion Week, what do you think of who’s in and who’s out?

«Finally new designers are taking off, such as Stella Jean, Andrea Incontri, Marco De Vincenzo, Fausto Puglisi, N° 21 and Au jour le Jour».

What are the must-haves for next season?

«Head scarves worn as turbans, tropical prints, ripped jeans, high waists and colourful sneakers worn under everything from trousers to evening gowns».

What are your professional plans for the future?

«I’m currently involved in running two campaigns on digital storytelling, another important one for a luxury brand of cosmetic and one in the fashion world. The idea is to continue working as a consultant in this field. I joined the Rimini Blogfest team and in September I’ll be dealing with fashion. At the moment I’m thinking about the schedule».

What is your ideal look?

«The ideal outfit is what makes you feel good. It clearly depends on what you’re doing and where. For the daytime when I’m with my children it’s almost always jeans, jumper or t-shirt and colourful sneakers. For the evening I like a very feminine, ladylike style. I love the 50’s, like a small pullover worn with a high-waisted skirt, or little dresses with a flared skirt and pumps – strictly no wedges. I like small vintage bags – I have an obsession with shoes and hand bags».

What would you never be seen in?

«Never say never. Of course because of my age, I would never expose my midriff. In general I don’t like clingy dresses or a vulgar, ostentatious look».

What emerging designers would you back?

«I’d bet on Stella Jean, the young Italian-Haitian designer; queen of patterns and wax prints… and by far my favourite».

Who’s your favourite out of the high couture designers?

«That’s a difficult question. There are a lot that I love and I can’t say I have a favourite. Antonio Marras because every dress tells a story, Ermanno Scervino for his understated elegance and because it’s ‘Made in Italy’, Maria Grazia Picciolo and Pier Paolo Chiuri for Valentino because they have a little something extra and because of a lifetime dream of wearing one of their dresses. Prada because Miuccia is in another galaxy. Whatever she does takes off».

You have two kids; how do you reconcile your working and private lives?

«Making compromises. I am a very ‘present’ mother, but when there are periods of intense work I have learned to delegate. The profession has many disadvantages, but there’s also the privilege of being able to manage your time. I can write at night and from anywhere. The technology allows me to produce high-definition video with an iPhone. Maybe one week I’ll work 15 hours a day, but the following week I’ll spend every afternoon with the kids».

“The ideal outfit is what makes you feel good”

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