Bringing sexy back, Italian-style

When Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” he must have been referring to the weeks leading up to the holiday season. A frazzled yet fabulous time filled with eggnog, Amex bills and excess.

So naturally, what happened while riding the subway last week (while visions of Holt Renfrew danced in my head) came as a great surprise–a divine intervention. Pasted above an ad for a shopping mall, I noticed a sticker that read, “Consumption does not fill the void.” And suddenly, standing there with my parcels (a haute hostess prezzie and a fab new pair of bejewelled strappies to deck the halls in), I wondered: When did consumption begin to consume us?

I decided to take immediate action. I saved my holiday lust list as an email draft and gave my Visa the day off. I said “Ciao” to the hustle and bustle on Bloor Street and said “Buongiorno” to the Royal Ontario Museum‘s exhibition, Italian Arts and Design: The 20th Century. Within, I found nearly 300 works of eye candy on display (until January 7th) including furniture, paintings, and of course, this fashionable feline’s personal fave: a few well-preserved sparkly baubles.

The exhibit put the passione into Pucci and the bella into Bulgari without the hefty price tag or the buyer’s remorse. Magnifico moments? The green, pleated silk Delphos dress by Mariano Fortuny, which evoked the kind of Sophia Loren sexiness that causes women to plunk down countless paycheques on potions and plastic surgery to achieve. I vowed right then and there to become a blonde doppelgänger of this Italian icon in the new year. Back on the third floor of the ROM, I experienced love at first sight with the Emilio Pucci print dress. Slipping into this numero uno number would instantly transform me into a vintage vixen. Oh, the divine power of a dress.

And speaking of heavenly moments, Holt Renfrew recently launched the men’s section for Diesel, an Italian clothing and denim label. So, I took the stairway (read: escalator) to heaven for a provocative evening of feathered fashionistas. The new campaign, appropriately titled Heaven, features male models wearing little else but angel wings and a pair of jeans. Look for divine dudes everywhere to turn up the heat with this line over the holidays.

Back on earth after my weekend jaunt, I came across a quote from Sophia Loren: “Sex appeal is 50 per cent what you’ve got and 50 per cent what people think you’ve got.” My translation: a Pucci-inspired dress, a push-up bra and a pinch of self-confidence. Ah, bellissima

View a slideshow of Sarah’s day.