Premier entertainer and Milan’s reigning anti-Sciura, Rossana Orlandi doesn’t mess around when it comes to being herself. She’s the super-relaxed hostess behind the 100-person (seated!) dinner every April that has become one of the most anticipated events of the Salone del Mobile. Surrounded by a formidable mix of dynamic creatives and design darlings, she rules the roost year-round in her trademark black-and-white style and enormous shades, not to mention with her wry sense of humor. Here, Rossana discusses getting dressed in the morning, going barefoot whenever she can and why she leaves her dog at home.
I am not a morning person so I just pick out the same thing, which always involves a scarf. I dress the same for the home or the office, and always in black and white.
I wear lots of layers and am very minimalistic with oversized pieces that cover my hips and stomach. It’s because I became super fat. This is why I never wear Missoni because it’s too tight.
I am always wearing a fanny-pack that I bought in Sardinia around my waist. It holds all of the things that I need: documents, my phone and cigarettes (I quit but then I started again). I look like a Japanese tourist but I don’t care. Otherwise I would lose everything.
I’ve always had dogs. Now I have a chihuahua who I leave at home everyday. Otherwise I’d lose him. I lose everything. That’s why I have my body bag and coat.
I wear UGGs in the winter and the rest of the year I wear Repetto ballerina flats. My windbreaker is always Aspesi. And when it’s a little cooler outside I wear a jacket by Helen Clemente that I can wear like a zaino so I don’t lose it.
At home I like to be barefoot. I feel like Brigitte Bardot in St. Tropez.
I don’t like mixing metals and jewelry. If there’s gold, there’s gold. It really annoys me when people don’t know how to put their jewelry on, or they put on their whole jewelry box and it’s too much.
I don’t do beauty treatments. I don’t go to the gym. I hate facials. But I do go for a manicure once a month. I have red gel nails that are not very Milanese but I don’t care.
I cut my own hair but my hair became a bit yellow because of the sun and the smoke so I went to the hairdresser. I asked them to take away the yellow but I came out looking like an apricot and I was so upset I didn’t know whether to call striscia la notizia or a lawyer. I’ll never go back.
I don’t look in the mirror very often. I’m not narcissistic and as the years have passed I have less desire to look in the mirror.
I wish people would age naturally. What I find embarrassing is when people come up to me and I have no idea who they are because everyone starts looking the same, with these huge lips and swollen cheeks.
I had fake lashes put on once and I couldn’t take it so I asked the make-up artist to take them off. I wanted to pee my pants with anxiety—it was too much
I never cook. Ever. I am so bad at cooking that I burn water. I don’t have the passion for cooking, I just like to eat. My husband is also a bad cook. But I do love giving dinner parties.
I prepare everything except the food. I love to set up the table, clear it and wash the dishes, but I don’t know how to cook so we prepare the food with our housekeeper.
I hate doing dinners just for old people. I mix the old and the young as it’s much more fun that way.
I think twelve is a good number for a dinner party. People always work well in this number. I usually have a buffet but it’s very chic in a beautiful and simple way. We usually make 15 piatti of grilled vegetables and salads, different fish and a polipo salad. But never sushi. I detest it.
I don’t believe in seating arrangements. It’s much more fun to have all of the food on the table and you can eat what you want when you want. I use napkins in 2 to 3 different colors and everything is mixed. Nothing should be fixed.
I like using things in an opposite way. I will use a vase as a carafe or put bread in something meant for flowers. I will even put a small chair on top of the table to prop things.
I love to have flowers on the table but I prefer to put vegetables, and the Fiori di Cavolo are spectacular. I use them just for decoration and then I eat them the next day.
I like to eat on white because you see the food. My plates are Richard Ginori and I also love Astier de Villatte, which is produced in the center of Paris. And for the silver, I always set the table with posate, which are old family pieces.
At home, the only thing I am nuts about are the closets—they must be organized. Everything is divided by color. This is fundamental. I divide them by type and then by color. Everything in the closet needs to be super tidy. Outside of this, it can be a mess.
I’m a maniac about ironing. Men’s shirts are ironed but also the sheets (which I always buy at Milan’s Society). If you see they didn’t put the pressure and the creases right, I just assume they didn’t do it at all. When I see wrinkles on my sheets I go crazy.
Striscia la notizia– Late-night comedy show (like David Letterman)
Piatti– small plates
Polipo– octopus usually served grilled or cold
Fiori di Cavolo– cabbage flower
– Meredith Nichols