Il momento di Elizabeth

Elizabeth's Moment  

The computer screen turned ochre as Elizabeth's fingers finished typing the last sentences. The call with the editorial team had been longer than expected, but she hadn't found the effort burdensome. She knew that the January edition would be more challenging than usual, and her decision to return to Tuscany for so long over the Christmas holidays hadn't helped. However, she told herself, a change in perspective was needed.
The month's theme centered on iconic garments, those that had etched themselves into the collective imagination. Elizabeth, in line with this, chose to contribute with an editorial focused on the timeless allure of the white shirt.
Elizabeth's decision had been a surprise. Having risen to the head of the magazine thanks to her clear and convincing style, she had reserved the role of coordinating journalists and contributors. She felt that to make a mark, talking about fashionable items was not enough. Of course, the white shirt was an excellent theme. A garment that had transcended time, constantly renewing its allure. The image of Beatrice Cenci, painted by Guido Reni, came to mind as soon as the editorial meeting had proposed the topic. The contrast between the model's blonde hair and the purity of her gown served as a poignant reminder that white is more than a color; it is the canvas from which light emanates.

"The alliance between the white shirt and the stars of Hollywood's bygone era was a symbiosis of style and personality. The celebrities who left us a lasting mark did so with eternal style and elegance. Their ally? A simple white shirt..."

The beginning started on the flight from New York, which had remained pending once in Val d'Orcia. Arriving at the cottage, the air of the Sienese countryside reminded Elizabeth that here, times spoke of grape harvests and festivals, of living in style and not for style. The beauty, which had helped Giovanni convince her that the most important moments of the year should unfold amidst these hills, permeated every corner.

"...the rolled-up sleeves of Lauren Bacall, which enhanced her haughty air; the class of Grace Kelly, regal even before becoming a princess; the charming lightness of Audrey Hepburn and the strength, feminine in all its aspects, of the other Hepburn, a Katharine capable of being elegant even in an oversized shirt..."

She was not short of examples, but there was a problem. The connection between the shirt and the woman was a dance between two independent charms. The white shirt had traversed generations, and the allure of women—charm, not mere beauty—persisted. What, then, rendered this union so remarkably evocative?

Elizabeth wondered this while strolling through the market of San Giovanni d’Asso as her companion chose the finest truffles.
“La cena è quasi pronta”, Giovanni’s hand offering her a glass of red wine brought her back to the reality of the moment.

“A good vintage.” The notes of sour cherry and berries awakened Elizabeth's taste.
“Four years in the barrel. Not one less: it takes time for fine works.”

Elizabeth's fingers played with the button of her Raffaello, another splendid piece that had captivated her on the day of the meeting itself. Some online research, a land of adoption rich in high-level artisans and the approaching holidays, had led her, in a case of serendipity, to find what she didn't know she was looking for.

The puff sleeves, the elegant knot cinching them, and the row of buttons discreetly veiled by a double flap of fabric seized her gaze. A collar of the perfect length—neither too lengthy to overshadow, nor too short to succumb to shifting fashions—resonated with the very theme of the article she was beginning to contemplate. What made her give in was that piece which her expert eye had understood to be the work of fine goldsmiths. An elegant button, almost a cameo from another time, laid at the exact centre of the collar. For an infinite time, Elizabeth remained gazing at the delicate swirl of the engraved initials. “Mmm...marvellous!” she whispered unwittingly. Having that shirt sent overseas would have been all too easy for any woman of good taste, but for Elizabeth, that item was more than a seduction.

It was something that needed to be understood right down to its origins. Only after the editorial was published would the editorial office grasp its significance. Next to the fireplace, Elizabeth returned to observing the spacious lounge of the cottage, adorned with prominent heraldic crests and paintings depicting hunting scenes. A morning of research had made her understand what she was trying to convey.


Shirts, actresses, painters, women: everything is authentic. Beauty is authenticity as is authentic that which then becomes timeless. Tailoring and goldsmithing were authentic in her new shirt. This is what had conquered her. This was the sense she wanted to give to her editorial because this is what she wanted fashion to be, one that aspires to transcend time.

The smile that Giovanni had taken as a compliment to his wine, held for her all the sense of clarity rediscovered. After all, the taste was authentic too, she thought as her gaze wandered outside the window, beyond the vines, towards the woodland's foliage.