We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what's "you"? These are some of the questions we're putting to prominent figures in our column "How I Shop."
Maybe you've been a loyal reader since 2009 when then-law student Chiara Ferragni founded The Blonde Salad in the early blogging days of yore. Or you're one of her devoted 17.6 million (and rising) Instagram followers. Or you breathlessly Insta-salked her nuptials to Italian music star Fedez last year, which kind of overshadowed the Royal Wedding. Or all of the above.
But, believe it or not, the influencer-turned-fashion and media mogul has way more to share with the world through her documentary "Chiara Ferragni: Unposted," which premieres on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, Nov. 29. Because, never forget: The Blonde Salad never stops.
"Even if you follow me every day, you only get to see maybe 30% — or 40% — of my life and who I am because there is so much that you cannot really understand from Instagram and Internet in general," Ferragni tells Fashionista, as we sit in a vintage-chic event space in The Bowery Hotel, surrounded by her team, which includes Fabio Maria Damato, Chiara Ferragni Collection & TBS Crew General Manager, dedicated shopping partner and film supporting player.
"With the documentary, you get to see 70 to 80% of who I am — or who I think I am — and the rest is from people who really know me, family and friends," she continued. "But I feel like, from that, people will get a clear idea of the person I am, my values, what I stand for, my story and I hope it can be inspiring for people to pursue their dreams in general.
Well, Ferragni's story is legend at this point: skyrocketing from studying law in Italy to pioneering the influencer space to expanding her blog into a brand encompassing editorial, talent management and e-commerce for her ready-to-wear and accessories line. She's now conquering Hollywood: First, with the documentary, which topped Italian box offices with its release in September, and then by joining "Project Runway" alums Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn as a judge on their upcoming competition series, "Making the Cut," alongside fellow arbiters, Naomi Campbell, Carine Roitfeld, Joseph Altuzarra and Nicole Richie, also premiering on Amazon next year.
To tide us over for the U.S. release of "Chiara Ferragni: Unposted" on Black Friday, the documentary subject shares how she and hubby Fedez negotiate closet space, when she bought her first Gucci and Louis Vuitton and how she turned her teenage talent of taking "500 photos of herself, while slightly changing her position" — per a heartfelt story by her proud (and slightly incredulous) dad in the doc— into a thriving entrepreneurial career in fashion.
"Oh my god, I remember that afternoon so well because we were going to the mountains [on a ski trip] and he's just so mad [laughs]. I was 16 and I was just expressing myself. It was one of my first digital cameras. For the first time, I didn't have to develop film and I could take as many photos as I wanted. I was really trying to find my angle.
He doesn't understand anything fashionable and he couldn't understand why I would do that and for him it was all about being very vain. So he got so mad at me. It made me feel really bad. But deep down inside, I was like, 'I know it's something good.' I've always had the instinct that what I was doing — the way I express myself — I would find a way to for it to give me some results. I could have never imagined it became my job, but I could see that following that instinct was powerful. That's what I could understand since I was 16. What I do makes me happy; It makes other people happy.
At the time, I was buying my first little designer pieces with my own pocket money because my dad wouldn't buy them for me. I had my first Gucci bag, like a tiny one, my first Louis Vuitton bag. My first skinny jeans. I remember I had this almost neon green Ralph Lauren sweater I wore so much. Ugg boots. Very teenager of me. I was feeling like I was really cool in some ways. I need to find those photos! A lot of them are out there on the internet. But I need to find more. I need to ask my mom. She has photos for everything.
My mom is my first woman crush, ever since I was a child, because of her working in fashion and being so classy and stylish and the most beautiful mom. She's always had [an influence] on me and I always wanted to be like her and make her happy and proud. Now she’s at my number one fan. She was at the premiere last night, as well. She was cheering so much — even too much sometimes.
She taught me to really focus on myself and just really not try to act like I'm somebody else. So when you wear something, you have to wear it your way. Never overdo. Never become a character. You are yourself. You don't need to be anybody else. So clothes can be an accessory to show your personality and who you are more, but just focus on who you are.
I love to describe my style as 'effortlessly cool.' It's a little bit of everything. I want it to be like I didn't think too much about the look. I never think about it too much, honestly. My whole dressing up process has to be very fast, otherwise that means it's not a right look. I'm very fast and very decisive on what I like and what I don't like, what fits me and what doesn't. I always start from one item: 'Today, I want to wear these shoes.' Then I already have the outfit in my mind and maybe I change the jacket.
I have a lot of stuff. I have a house in Milano, where my main walk-in closet is. It's kind of like a little house. It's upstairs in our penthouse. Then I have another walk-in closet in my L.A. house, which is more simple. Still very organized, but most of my favorite clothes are in Milano now. That's where I spend more time.
[Fedez and I] have two different walk-in closets. It's super different. They're on two different floors actually. So mine is upstairs and his is next to the bedroom. At the beginning, I was kind of jealous. I was like, 'It's right next to the bathroom and bedroom.' But then it's so amazing because mine is upstairs. So when I'm there, it's like my own little world and when I pack, I can do it at any time without waking everybody up. It's perfect.
My assistant helps me a lot to organize and then I have a friend who's a professional organizer. So once in awhile she comes and she organizes my stuff by color, but it doesn't last long. The bags and shoes are very organized, but the clothes... it depends because I have a lot. There should be less, so sometimes I give stuff away, but it's a whole process.
Yeah, I shop all the time [as Damato looks up from his phone, gives a teasing side eye and laughs]. Fabio has a lot of similar taste to mine. Sometimes we have to think about looks. I trust him. I've never had a stylist, but Fabio, he's my stylist a lot of time because we understand each other very well.
I love going shopping. Sometimes I go on my own. Most of the time I go with friends or my mom or my sisters sometimes. I love going to the stores. Sometimes I buy. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I just go to a store to see what's new. Even if you've already seen it on the catwalk, it's different. If I like something, I buy it right away. I never think twice, unless it's something very expensive.
Since I receive so much stuff, I always buy more accessories because I'm going to wear them a lot. If I want to borrow something from a designer, I can borrow it anytime. So I would never buy just a very unique dress that you can only wear once. I would borrow that. Like my walk-in closet has some space but it's not infinite. So when I buy, I try to buy more basic items and more accessories of the season, if I haven't received them from the brands that I love, and try to wear them multiple times.
I recently bought the Prada boots with all the little bags [above]. Those ones are my favorite and Bottega Veneta as well. I was wearing them yesterday. And the Chiara Ferragni Collection combat boots. I'm so into boots and combat boots. Those are my three top favorite of the season."
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