I don’t buy post cards

The first time she slept in the house was the night she came home from the hospital with Verde, her first-born daughter, seven years ago. She never gave it much thought, but 31 is quite young to be a mother of two. Maybe it’s an Argentinian thing or just the lucky chance of a globetrotting spring chicken to find the man of her dreams straight out of the coop. Candela Pelizza Tricarico came to Milan when she was 17, with her twin sister Vanesa. The girls both landed a shoot for Italian Vogue with famed photographer Bruce Weber after a few months and started traveling the world. When she met the architect Fabio Novembre, Candela would eventually make Milan her home base. Now they live in a converted leather factory and storage house near Umbria station. “Fabio pulled everything down and rebuilt it the way he dreamt our house should be,” she tells me proudly. “If you look at the house from the outside you can see that it resembles a tree, and we are Adam and Eve, living in the tree of sin, eating apples!”

Verde doesn’t want to be in the picture but Celeste is demanding every second of her mom’s attention. (I try to speak Italian but it’s too basic, even for a 4-year old…. Besides they understand English!) It’s refreshing to see Candela with her daughters. She’s calm but animated and doesn’t seem phased by any of the urgent questions or ushering requests – it’s all part of the weekend routine. “Do you want to be mommy’s assistant and help her get dressed for the photo shoot?” she asks Celeste. Nah… So we wait until the girls leave with dad to have lunch. There was a flood in the basement a few months ago which got some of her stored wardrobe damaged but she was able to dry clean most of it. Candela has a noticeable, wonderful relationship with each one of her vintage pieces. “My vintage comes from all around the world, and I remember exactly where I bought each piece. Every time I’m in a new country, I look for the flea market or litlle thrift shops. I don’t buy postcards; I buy something that I will wear someday and that will remind me of that trip. So in a way vintage shopping is like keeping a travel journal. Or like going inside your grandma’s wardrobe, where you can find treasures that make you happy, things that are unique and carry with them their own secret story.”

Candela describes her style as “Virgin Suicides meets Blondie” which doesn’t mean she aspires to be either of these characters. In fact she doesn’t have any style icons. “I am not really able to compare myself  to anyone. Maybe it’s the result of being a twin…” she thinks. Her look is somewhat unfinished, she says, “a work in progress”, though the classic 60’s influences are undeniable – she looks prim and proper and cute every time. She admits she doesn’t hang on to “a typical outfit but I find myself wearing dresses really often, with boots in winter and cute flat shoes in summer.” She hasn’t worn heels much since the girls were born. And these days electric blue is the new color that makes her happy – “I don’t ever have a favorite color. It changes constantly.” It’s fun shooting Candela in this house. It’s like one gigantic prop set! And running up and down the stairs from the bedroom down to the studio and court yard is more exercise than I’ve had in a month. And then it hits her: “You should go to the flea market! It’s today!” And off I go.

March 15, 2012

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