Un'altro giorno, another day... these photos were taken by Briana. I am standing in a strada (street) in Cinque Terre. This picture is a pretty good depiction of some of the norms in Italy. For example, the frutta (fruit) stand on the destra (right). The food in Italy is often very fresh and contains little preservatives making it very healthy but you have to eat it fast or else it goes bad.
In Milan, it is mandatory that you weigh your fruit in the supermercato (supermarket) and attach a price sticker before you take it to register. Then, at the register, the cashier asks you how many sachette (sacks) you want to purchase, they cost a few cents but spesso (often) people bring their own bags. You are then expected to sack your own groceries. Another supermarket custom is that le personne (the people) are expected to rent the grocery carts. You drop a euro into a cart from the line and after you are done shopping you put the cart back in line and the euro comes back out.
The street below has no sidewalks but if it did it is not uncommon to see cars parked on the side of the street as well as on the sidewalk. Also, the laundry hanging outside of the windows is very common because although apartments often come with washing machines, dryers are uncommon.
The sign that says "bar" is what Americans would call a "cafe." In a bar, one could find cafe (coffee) and brioche (pastries) and sometimes other items. A pub is where Italians go for beer. Many bars are self-service, meaning to pay for your coffee and brioche first and then you take the ticket to the counter where they serve you. There are often no tables inside of bars, it is customary to stand at the counter and finish your morning meal or go outside where they sometimes have tables.
In an Italian ristorante (restaurant) water is not automatically served to customers as it is in America, you have to order it. The vino (wine) is almost the same price as water here. Another difference between Italy and America is that the restaurants generally don't have doggie bags here. The portions are sometimes smaller than America, which is a good thing because it is seen as a bit of an insult if you don't finish your plate. One of my favorite things about Italy is the fact that tipping is not at all neccessary, it is actually uncommon.
In the photo below, I am enjoying the amazing ocean water. On the beach it was not uncommon to see people changing into their costume (bathing suit) or even going topless. I wasn't that brave, however.
One thing I love about Italy is that animals are often free to roam. This is not rare for cats in America, but in Italy even the dogs are seen running around as they please. The dogs are so well behaved that they are trusted to stay out of traffic and to return to their owners, who are usually nearby.
As in New York, one of the perks of being in Milan is the access to fashion events. A couple of weeks ago, we took a school field trip to the Milan Unica trade show. It was an enormous convention center full of booths for companies showcasing their products. They offered textiles, trims, accessories, books, magazines and my favorite part was the trend forecasting. Fashion-related companies often pay a lot of money to have the inside info for the trends that forecasters believe will become popular 2-4 years in the future. Trend forecasting is kind of a controversial topic. In theory, a trend forecasting company deems a color or silhouette as the next big trend, then it ripples through the fashion community. Textile companies purchase these forecasts and then produce fabric in this trendy color or texture. Multiple designers buying from the textile companies, then purchase the same textiles that were made based on the forecasts and you get a lot of homogeny and less original ideas. Although I don't like the insinuations, I do find forecasting companies to be very interesting. I respect their research methods and the format aesthetic in which they display their ideas.
Last Thursday was Milano's Fashion's Night Out. Everyone got dressed to impress and made their way to the many fashion events around the city. We went to Via Monte Napoleone, the 5th Ave. of Milan, where people came in droves to see and be seen. Since I am starting my Knitwear specialization this Fall, my favorite stop of the night was the Missoni store. It was inspiring to see the knitwear, with its unique zig-zag signature that gave Missoni its name, in the country where it was created.
When I saw the Moschino display above, I was immediately reminded of the hotel in Milan called Maison Moschino. When I came across the website for this hotel, I immediately fell in love. The entire hotel was designed by the creative director of Moschino, and it includes some very whimsical rooms that I would be elated to see. I have already spoken to the director of my program to see if a tour of the hotel could be arranged. I love the quote about the Maison Moschino, which also beautifully sums up my adventure through Europe, "Entering the Maison Moschino is like falling down the rabbit hole: after a while, you come to expect the unexpected."