BG Conversation: Life Of The Party

GIO

Glamorous globe-trotter Giovanna Battaglia has compiled a new array of her Instagram-worthy images and fashion-world wisdom in Gio_Graphy, published this fall by Rizzoli. She will be sharing the book, alongside a personal selection of her favorite looks and accessories of the season, at an exclusive pop-up shop on our Third Floor from Saturday, September 2 through Monday, September 25. Gio will also curate a series of can’t-miss displays in our windows including standout collections from her native Italy—see them from Saturday, September 2 until Tuesday, September 19.

We caught up with Gio in Stockholm, where she and her husband now live part-time, to discuss her extravagant lifestyle and hotly anticipated new book.


How are you finding Stockholm so far? Is it a fashionable city?

It’s very elegant. Maybe there’s not like, a Madison Avenue amount of fashion stores, but when I got married last year, the first Chanel store opened here, then Moncler. They’re opening one after the other— they must have known I was coming! [laughs]

So, how did the idea for a book come about?

I’d been doing the Gio’s Journal page in W magazine for five years or so when I met [Rizzoli publisher] Charles Miers at a dinner. He says to me, “I’m a really big fan of your work. Would you consider doing a book?” I was like, “Of course, let’s do it!”

So, in terms of sharing advice, what is one thing that helps you maintain a successful and fashionable lifestyle when traveling?

My trolley? [laughs] I did a piece in the book that’s a 12-step program for Overpackers Anonymous. I never really learned to pack correctly. The book is more advice about the crazy things that can happen to you. I may not have the answer, I just try to make it fun.

How do you stay lighthearted in an industry that at times seems so serious?

Maybe because I’m Italian? [laughs] My family are all in art and creative things, and they’ve never taken themselves too seriously. I’m reading a book about [Marcel] Duchamp, and he explains how important irony was for his job—and that was 1913!

Duchamp famously welcomed spontaneity in his work. Were there any surprises in the creation of the book?

Yes! There was a chapter on costume parties, because I adore dress-up. Every time you can be a different woman—a Playboy bunny, a maharani, a lady of the 1920s—and transform yourself à la Cindy Sherman, but in a more fashion way. So, I was coming up with captions for the costume photos and thought, “Hmm, so I took more or less three kilos of Swarovski and two pounds of gold chain . . . Wait a second, it’s a recipe!” So, it changed the way I decided to explain the outfits, as though it was a cookbook. I had so much fun, like, “Mix the three wigs in a pan, and put it on your head once prepared!” [laughs] Even the advice from my friends, it came about organically.

Of those friends whose advice is in the book, does anybody stand out as having shared something particularly valuable?

The person who gave me the green light to be whatever I wanted in New York was Bill Cunningham. I would come in with a crazy outfit, and his face would light up. Then one day I said, “Bill, I can’t help myself, I’m overdressed once again at a gala.” And he was like, “Child, you have to be overdressed. This is what makes the party fun! It’s what makes me come out and take pictures.”

How do you maintain these friendships while traveling so much?

You know what? Sometimes the galas are really handy for that, for me. [laughs] And weddings. It’s nice to have these reunions.

Last, what’s on your agenda today, and what’s the plan for the wardrobe?

Today, I’m really happy. I’m working from my home office. It’s one of those rare, amazing, quiet days.

So, you’re not wearing a ball gown?

No, no. A comfy sweater, because in Sweden it’s not that hot— Céline “home wear.” [laughs]

SAVE THE DATE!

Meet Giovanna Battaglia as she signs copies of her new book Gio_Graphy.
Saturday, September 9 • 2:30-4 p.m. • Third Floor

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