Yesterday, the greatest thing happened to me.  I have to tell you all about it.  But where to start?  Hmmm…. Alors voilà…

Aurora and Viviana are Italian.  They are friends and work together and every time I run into them, I fall under the charm of their outfits.  Always chic, always fun, often a little rock, with a bit of everything.  Some designer stuff, luxury stuff, vintage, but also some Zara, all things i love.

Little by little, we got to talking quite a bit.  I think you can see in these photos that these two girls are rays of sunlight.  They appeal to my better nature.  They told me about a sublime little restaurant in Milan, the Fioraio Bianchi Caffé.  Ah.  Marvelous.

Okay, in short, two wonderful wonderful girls.  And yesterday morning, between a Max Mara show that was breathtakingly dull, and a Dolce and Gabbana show that was outrageously glamourous, we said to each other, hey, why not go get a coffee at 10 Corso Como, where we met up with Scott.

I don’t know if you know just how I curious I get.  I love hearing people talking to me about their style, their work.  On top of that, Aurora and Viviana have a job that isn’t exactly run-of-the-mill.  They’re assistants to Anna Dello Russo.

If you read Scott’s site, you know Anna.  Anna is the fashion director of Japanese Vogue.  This incredible specimen is always incredibly put together, always sophisticated with a unique allure.  Just spectacular.  A true rock-star.  But really, at least in Japan, quite literally.

Photo : The Sartorialist for Garance Doré (!)

So they’re telling me that the started with an internship, that the admiration that had for Anna started in adolescence.  Viviana tells me that it all started with a shoot Anna did in the village she was born in, Bari, where she made all the young people in the village come and help dream up the various shots.  To have seen work like this has stayed engrained in Vivian’s memory to this day.  She’s just enchanted.

I let myself get filled by these stories, drinking my cappuccino.

And then suddenly, we’re all swept up in a whirlwind.  Anna, statuesque in Dolce & Gabbana, she’s got a last minute shopping trip to do.  She gives us all warm greetings in the most Italian way.  We exchange a few quick words.  I have to add here that she loves Scott and his photos.  She talks about how fashion changes, that is just wonderful and that he does incredible work, and then she’s gone.  We keep on talking with the girls.

I think that is an amazing and important thing to surround yourself with.  Between the three of them, it just flows.  It’s light and lively and you can just feel it.

They tell me about Anna’s incredible style, her passion for what she calls la muse.  Fashion.

And then Anna comes back and honestly, I don’t know if she heard us… But she says to us, “You want to come over to my place?  I live two steps away.”

Really, seriously, I’m not messing around here.  My heart stopped beating.

And then voilà up and left.  How am I supposed to tell you about all this?  Anna Dello Russo, already part of the  fashion hall-of-fame, to visit her dressing room….  It’s a little like what I was feeling when I visited the Yves Saunt Lauren archives with Géraldine.  You get goosebumps.

Anna has two apartments, one for her and one for her clothes.  She keeps very precise archives.  It’s that she’s a buyer.  She never borrows clothes.  She likes them to have and hold.  A few years back, she was saying that she had around 4,000 pairs of shoes.  She dreams of one day having a foundation I must add.

In the sublime little salon of the clothing apartment (et oui!), she’s got two finely worked display windows.  One with her favorite shoes and of course that theme changes regularly, and the other with a selection of the most fantastic jewelry.  The rest is everything you’d expect from a fairy tale dressing room : every time you open another door, you’re stupefied by the splendor, the quality, and of course, the quantity.  You get the impression you’re opening up a treasure chest.  You want to pass a few hours, strolling, touching, trying it all on.

And reading this, as impressed as I am by all of it, you must be imagining that this is all going on in some sort of religious atmosphere.  Not at all.  Aurora and Viviana are there joyously commenting on everything in the visit.  Scott is asking millions of questions.  Anna is there, calm incarnate, almost teasing herself over this whole ordeal.  She is neither pretentious nor overly-sentimental.  She loves fashion.  It’s her life, and that’s it.  And her apartment is her image: sublime but accessible.  You walk in and are just dazzled, can’t take your eyes off anything, but in two seconds, you feel at home.

We finish with a little tour of her terrace, where a few of her outfits are getting a bit of fresh air between the flowers and climbing ivy.  It’s surreal and magical.  I had some luck with getting to see one of the pieces she had picked out for Paris.  Mamma mia.  I’m all turned around.

Bien sûr, I’ve missed a hundred or so details to tell you about.  I could have talked about a photo that Helmut Newton took of Anna and how that happened, or the giant visual of Visconti’s Le Guépard that she uses to decorate the salon of the clothing apartment, or even her book collection…  Bien sûr, I didn’t take a single photo.  When someone opens her doors to a friend, and when she says that she doesn’t do it often, you keep discrete about it and open your eyes wide.

We said thank you, laughing to each other down the street on the way to the Dolce & Gabbana show, stars in our eyes, delighted, riding on a cloud.

Translation : Tim Padraic Sullivan