I Want To Be A Battaglia

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Giovanna Battaglia: Une Fille Un Style

Giovanna Battaglia appeared in the "Une Fille Un Style" section of the April 2008 issue of Vogue Paris and thanks to City Lights the text is translated from French to English. This wonderful section is always my favorite in the magazine as it gives readers a thorough look at the style of an individual that is typically amazing. The interview with Giovanna by Olivier Lalanne does not disappoint, we learn that Gio has a beautiful voice, that she ignores Italian adages when it comes to style, and that with a few scarves and candles she can make herself at home anywhere in the world. Read on for more details about Giovanna...

Italian, 30s on the horizon, an ex-model, and currently a fashion editor, Giovanna Battaglia is a silhouette and a temper. And that is without even mentioning her irresistible voice. In a few seasons, she has imposed herself as one of the most inspirational style figures of her generation.

A GIRL: An extra-slender figure, brown almond eyes, long ebony tresses, the eye-catching physique of Giovanna Battaglia cannot easily hide her origins. Her father is Sicilian, her mother from Calabria, the fashion editor grew up for the most part in Milan. “My first address was 1 via Montenapoleone (the equivalent of L’avenue Montaigne),” she says. “If that is not an omen, I don’t know what is!” A freelancer working for, among others, L'Uomo Vogue, the American and Italian versions of Vanity Fair, and the Chinese and German Vogues, she lives today between New York and the capital of Lombardy [Milan]. “As a teenager, while my friends all had Take That posters in their rooms, I had those of Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford. At the age of 14, I was already smitten.” Her art studies quickly folded, a model since the age of 16, Giovanna melted the Dolce & Gabbana team, who made her their in-house model. “I spent eight years stuck to Stefano and Domenico,” she says. “My adolescence in a way was an endless rounds of fittings, voyages, parties, vacations…One could say that they are kind of my family. They used to call me their musina.” A little muse with a feisty nature, without complete knowledge of the language, who dreamed of expressing herself in her turn. “I was a bad model. I would give my opinion on everything.” Since then, becoming a stylist emerged as an obvious path.

A STYLE: “The first word that comes to mind is glamour,” she says. “And, I hope, sexy. I dread the ‘total look’. Nothing is worse than resembling a photo on style.com.” Each of Giovanna’s appearances at the fashion shows is a lesson in class and is witness to her passion without restraint for fashion. Among her favourite designers, mixed naturally according to her mood, are Dolce & Gabbana, Lanvin, Balenciaga, Ferré, Chanel (for the mini-dresses), Marni, Miu Miu, Ferretti, McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent, and Derek Lam. “One cannot forget Azzedine Alaïa. Each time you go out wearing Alaïa, you can be sure that you will not return alone…”

FOR EVENINGS: “Either very long, in vintage Azzaro, Yves Saint Laurent (Stefano Pilati is the chiffon God), or very short, in Gucci, Balenciaga, or more Balmain.” And in both cases, perched upon very high heels.

JEANS: “I plunder Topshop. It is inevitably my first shopping stop when I am in London. Right now, I have a weakness for the boot cut, the 70s cuts.”

CRUSH OF THE SEASON: “My checked trousers from Balenciaga from the autumn/winter pre-collection.”

TABOOS: “Comfort shoes. They kill!”

ACCESSORIES: “My absolute priority: shoes. I have about 250 pairs, mainly high heels. Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Roger Vivier, Alaïa, Giuseppe Zanotti. I also have several pairs of ballerina flats from Chanel, Alaïa, Lanvin, and Marc Jacobs. Handbags, thankfully I own in smaller quantities. This winter I alternated Corto Moltedo, Dolce & Gabbana, and Prada. Without forgetting my Hermès Birkin. In the Italian bourgeoisie, the adage is that you should not own a Birkin until you reach the age of 30. I didn’t wait.”

IN HER BAG: An iPod (tune of the moment, Peter Bjorn and John’s "Young Folks"), her Bose headphones, a gold Dupont, a tube of YSL’s Touche Eclat (ideal for perfecting her appearance), her credit cards, her Blackberry, her passport, and her Smythson notebooks branded with her name...”Gio.” “When I am on a flight, I make use of the time by maintaining my journal. It is therapeutic.”

JEWELS: "I do not lack for watches. Notably, a Cartier ‘Ballon Bleu’ in yellow gold, and a steel Rolex. I like family jewelry, presents from my mother like a pair of pendants made of links of platinum and diamonds by Sabbadini, a Milanese jeweler." Her wish list: everything from Cartier’s "Panther" collection. An address: the jewelery boutique Karry’O in Paris, "an inexhaustible mine."

AT NIGHT: "I wear silk pyjamas from Olatz that I buy in New York. When you slip them on, you could be deep in the heart of Texas in a seedy hotel, but you feel as if you are in a suite at the Crillon. I also like to scent my sheets with rose water from Santa Maria Novella.”

BEAUTY: “I usually start the day with a hot shower. But if I wake up in a numb mood, I take a bath with Bigelow Mustard Bath. It’s one of the oldest pharmacies in New York. They have these amazing citron shower gels. I use a moisturizing cream for my body, Bliss Body Cream. My fragrance is Escentric Molecules. When I apply it, people come up and start talking to me… It’s unstoppable. For the face, it’s pretty minimal. I moisturize with Chanel's Hydramax, a dab of Dior Eyes Ultra Capture Totale, YSL’s Touche Eclat, NARS cheek blush, and a swipe of lipstick, Calvin Klein’s Natural Rose. And always, mascara on the eyelashes.”

EXERCISE: “Nothing regular. I run and I especially love to swim. I can swim two miles in the sea without stopping. I think I have the largest collection of diving goggles that you can imagine. I wear them systematically because I am terrified of jellyfish.”

TRAVEL: A white Goyard bag with her name “Gio” tattoed on the side, her computer, a Loro Piana cashmere travel rug, a ton of fashion and gossip magazines, Marc Jacobs cashmere socks, a trio of scented Jo Malone candles, and scarves. “I was once at a photo shoot in the desert. My motel room was depressing. All I needed to do was drape scarves over the lamps, put my travel rug on the bed, buy some pillows from the corner supermarket, and light the candles for me to feel magically at home.”

HER HOME: “It is in New York, in my apartment in the Village, that I feel at home. I try to spend as much time as possible there.” On the 11th floor, with a view over the rooftops of downtown, the space is pure with white walls, bohemian furniture, and a contagious sense of comfort. Piles of books and framed photos are placed on the ground, disparate carpets and reflective lamps warm up all the rooms, a white fox blanket gives the room a cozy 70s accent that would not displease Tom Ford. What about her Milanese mansion? “I am moving so it does not resemble much of anything anymore. Let’s just say that it is a wardrobe with a bathtub.”

"Une Fille Un Style" images of Giovanna Battaglia © 2008 Condé Nast. All Rights Reserved.
Giovanna Battaglia in "Une Fille Une Style" in Vogue Paris translation courtesy of City Lights


I Want To Be A Battaglia

Yes, it is true and time to say it I Want To Be A Battaglia! (Too?!) I hope no one out there is worried about my split personality disorder, quite harmless I assure you. All kidding aside, Giovanna Battaglia is a style star, she absolutely owns whatever she wears like no one can. If you have read my posts such as Battaglia: In Just-Spring, in which I compare Gio's singular way with fashion to an e.e. cummings poem, or Battaglia, Dolce, Gabbana In Cannes, in which D&G and their favorite muse take a sad headpiece and make it better, this site will come as no surprise.

Additionally I hope by now we have all stopped taking the "I Want To Be" in the name literally. Truly what I Want To Be is helping to focus your attention on the women in the fashion industry that are worthy of your interest including but not limited to Carine Roitfeld, Emmanuelle Alt, and — Giovanna Battaglia! Happily Carine has two children of legal age that socialize well and photograph beautifully that add to the fun of my first site, I Want To Be A Roitfeld, but I assure you little will be said about the young children of Madame Alt on the second, I Want To Be An Alt. Note that if Gio and Vladi were to have children, all bets are off!

Back to the serious stuff, I sincerely hope you will enjoy reading along with the adventures of the inimitable Giovanna Battaglia as much as I will enoy writing about them. My sincerest hope is that it makes her mom happy, read Gio's fun remarks from Swide by Dolce & Gabbana for further evidence of her greatness...

We call it Giobsession! Should you ever have experienced the incontrollable urge to look up Fashion Week photographs in the hope of spotting beautiful Giovanna then you've got it too. Fashion director with panache for Vogue Pelle and Vogue Gioiello and fashionista with flair she has also surprised us with her honesty and simplicity and her very own brand of humour. Come meet Giovanna:

Where do you find inspiration when getting dressed?

Depend how I wake up... from the mood I have, and maybe some time just because I want to wear that pair of shoes and I work around that.

Do you ever have off-days?

Yes I do and I dress like a boy in that days.

Do you feel any pressure when dressing for Fashion Week?

You cannot think too much about it. It's a marathon... You go with the adrenaline and it works out... 
Just better to be a bit ready before it starts of course...

How does it feel having your picture taken so often?

It feels very flattering... and you cannot complain about it.. and it makes my mom very happy!

Do you enjoy your status of ultimate fashion icon?

Hahahahahahahaha... it's a big responsibility... ;)

Who are your personal style icons?

Nobody really, but I love Monica Vitti, Audrey Hepburn...

Giovanna Battaglia photograph courtesy of purple-diary.com. Text ©2011 Swide S.r.l. con socio unico P.IVA 06388470962

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