Fashion Director Laura Lusuardi’s finely attuned nose for style extends way beyond Max Mara’s Coat Kingdom or the shop room floor. With her moccasin-clad-feet firmly on the ground of the company’s Reggio Emilia HQs, she rules with a quiet calm that is rare in a sharp witted, well-travelled dame. In between her high-octane work hours, she still has time to dedicate to life as the consummate hostess. Here, she shares her tricks on living the Italian good life.
Forgo complicated cooking and opt for something simpler: “I love to prepare fresh vegetables alongside simple store-bought pastas and risottos. Life is too short for high maintenance cooking. “
Keep prosciutto in your fridge: “This coupled with a big hunk of parmiggiano means you’re always ready for an aperitivo. I store the prosciutto—always an entire leg that I slice myself at home– in a cotton kitchen towel to keep it fresher longer.”
Offer your guests a cocktail in addition to wine: “We always drink sparking red wine made locally but if you are having guests, serve prosecco with a bit of Kir Royale. It is a failsafe aperitivo drink.”
Do your baking on Sundays: “I always make a homemade cake, usually apple or chocolate. They are simple but delicious and lasts the week. “
Always have fresh flowers: “I love to cut daisies, peonies, herbs and other flowers from the garden and pepper them around the house. I like to have wild, freshly cut arrangements that I display in tall, transparent vases.”
A great tablecloth can solve any problem: “I have cupboards full of linens that I have bought on my travels and they can take any table from flat to fabulous.”
There’s nothing wrong with eating in the kitchen: “I hardly ever do big dinners, even the holidays are casual. Simple food in an intimate environment makes for the best time. “
Balance your time. Focus on what needs to be done and chose what is most important.
Embrace the midday pause: “ It is important to unplug yourself. Sometimes all I need is 15 minutes in the day to unwind and read the papers and have a snack before going back to your busy day.
Embrace flat shoes: “I am always in flats, I do not like heels. I have a huge collection of moccasins and have Belgian Shoes slippers custom-made when I am in New York. Once you wear a pair of these, you will not want to wear anything else.”
Organize your jewelry: “I sort all of mine by color so that it is easier to determine how to match with my outfits.”
All you need is a necklace: “It is the one accessory that can shift gears from casual to elegant. A statement necklace over a plain, black dress can make any look.”
You don’t need precious jewelry: “I never wear it. I prefer the ethnic necklaces I have bought while travelling. I could spend days in the Gem Palace.”
Find your style and color and nurture it: “I dress in a uniform—always a tunic top and trousers and almost always in blue. It works well for me.”
Be true in bed: “You’ll never see me in a baby-doll negligee. I like classic, authentic stuff. I wear men’s classic pajamas in thin stripes.”
You do not need to wear make up: “You only need a good cream. I use Clarins every day over a bit of talcum powder.”
Lipstick is ok: “I don’t wear it but I love buying it. I always select some from Dior and Chanel. I must have ten different red shades in my purse at all times.
Love what you do: “Doing what you love keeps you beautiful. Work is my life but I make sure to have a massage every Saturday too.”
Style is more important than beauty: “I love the style of the American women on Madison Avenue in New York. They wear too much make-up and all have botox but I love their style because is classic but modern- Chanel with sporty shoes!”