The month of March has brought us Spring, and the 100th birthday of a legend, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, celebrated poet and San Francisco’s first Poet...
These days, most people answer the phone in a few ways. Either with disdain or with intense caution as if ready to say the word “No,” before you even say hello. But when calling fashion designer Nadia Bozzetti, she did neither. Instead, her voice was like pure sunshine, bubbly, speaking both in English and Italian with a graceful ease. I told her that while I could simply email the questions, I preferred to meet in person. “Oh, sì” she stated. “I want to meet you.” Unlike others in the past who have had to check with their secretaries, their IPhones schedules, she simply agreed to a Saturday morning meeting. Easy breezy. “Starbucks,” she said. “Newport Beach.”
Newport Beach is in many ways Orange County’s Riviera. A place where old money meets new money amidst a glamorous backdrop of beachfront estates, fashionable stores and the iconic Balboa Peninsula. Next to the more artsy, surfer feel of Laguna Beach, Newport is where you can showcase your Ferrari or Lamborghini Gallardo, shop up a storm, and dine at some of the best Italian restaurants around.
After a morning of hazy weather for most of Orange County, somehow the sun was shining brightly in Newport Beach. Once inside Starbucks, I waited when the door opened and a beautiful blond walked in. With long curly hair, Nadia was dressed in jeans, a delicate scarf loosely wrapped around her neck. She looked just like her voice. Una persona solare, and had all that wonderful Italian style I had expected. Italians, she would later tell me, are born with a sense of style. “Starts at childhood...style is a way of life,” she said, noting how Italians take pride in how they look the moment they step out the door.
Nadia offered me a cup of coffee, un espresso, which I gladly took and sat down across from me.
I have, in the past, worked with fashion designers. With a flurry of assistants and staff, they usually have their cell phones buzzing and are always troppo busy. No eye contact, their minds miles away as they plan their next fashion show or collection. But Nadia did not look stressed. Instead, she looked calm and focused, despite the fact that leads what some would call a stressful life. For the past six years, Nadia has owned and operated her own company which specializes in cashmere knits. The company is called Lunalba--a name that symbolizing its dusk to dawn facet, cashmere that can be worn from the office to a night on the town.
Wearing so many hats, Nadia has a schedule that is jam-packed. She is responsible for designing, showcasing her clothes in a showroom in New York City before distributing them around the world. But sitting across from her, she sat calmly drinking her caffé, concentrating on the interview.
Born in Milano Italy, Nadia grew up in the fashion industry and was influenced by designers Armani and Dolce e Gabbana. Her parents are both well known and highly respected in the business while she credits her stepfather, fashion legend Mario Carradore, as her greatest mentor. “He taught me everything about fashion. I literarily ate and breathed the fashion business.”
At just thirteen, Nadia began to work with her father and learned the “A,B,Cs” and the ins and outs of fashion. She first attended the Marangoni school of fashion while she later went to an accounting school where she picked up its business aspects. Her big break came when she began to work for the fashion house St. John, a giant in the industry which specializes in women's knitwear and is based out in Irvine California. Back in Italy, Nadia headed their Research and Development office, and was instrumental in bringing the latest trends and ideas from Italy. She also traveled the world, attending fashion shows in Paris, Shanghai and of course Italy’s fashion capital, Milano. “When I was twenty-five, I started to work on the St. John sports line which began to incorporate french terry.” Back then, french terry was instrumental in the success of its sports line as activewear became not only chic but also comfortable to wear. After working for St. John for six years in Italy, she was transferred to Orange County where she began another six year stint.
In 2007, Nadia launched a company, Marlova, along with two friends, and began designing cashmere sweaters. The company did well and in 2009, she decided to go on her own and created Lunalba. She now distributes her designs globally.
“How do you do everything and not look so stressed out?” I asked. Here she is working in a hugely competitive and cutthroat industry, dominated by just a handful of big names who do not necessarily roll out the welcome mat for newcomers- and yet despite all this, along with being focused and calm, Nadia is surprisingly sweet. Unscathed and cheerful.
“I work out. I have a personal trainer,” she said. She also enjoys spending time with her family, and with her dogs, Gioia and Bobby.
The rest of her time is spent working. She must fly around the globe, design while keeping customers and distributors wanting more. “What do you want to do in ten years?” I then ask her. “More companies? Another fashion line?”
“I want to spend more time in Italy,” she tells me. “I want to enjoy more of la dolce vita.”
After spending a bit of time with her, I am almost certain that this young lady who has made her parents so proud, has indeed already experienced la dolce vita as she is living it.
I love to create,” she tells me as we both finish our last sips of coffee. “I love to see where life takes me.”