Book review: Sass, Smarts, and Stilettos: How Italian Women Make the Ordinary Extraordinary by Gabriella Contestabile

Book Details:

Book Title:  Sass, Smarts, and Stilettos: How Italian Women Make the Ordinary Extraordinary by Gabriella Contestabile
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction,  201  pages
Genre: Travel / Arts / Fashion / Self-help
Publisher:  Sumisura Publications
Release date:  November 2017
Format available for review: print & ebook (PDF)
Will send print books out: internationally
Tour dates: April 23 to May 11, 2018
Content Rating: G (No violence. No swear words. No sex scenes.)

Book Description:

Ah, that inimitable Italian style. It’s embedded in an Italian woman’s DNA. Fashion doesn’t define her. She defines herself. She knows an extraordinary life is not about status, money, or achievement. The only mastery it requires is one her heritage has given her, the irrepressible passion to make art of life itself.

Ask an Italian woman where she gets her sense of style and she will tell you it’s not about labels. It’s tethered to humble roots; humanity, community, conscious consumerism, and a profound appreciation for art in all its forms.

Sass, Smarts and Stilettos takes the reader on a journey from the humble hill towns of Abruzzo to the revered fashion capitals of Milan and Rome, into the artisan workshops of Florence, and the humanistic business practices of Luisa Spagnoli, Brunello Cuccinelli, and Alberta Ferretti, from the emergence of Italy’s fashion industry after WWII, to slow food and sustainable fashion initiatives taking root around the world.

Life lessons echo in the words of the author’s mother and grandmother, in the voices of Italian film divas, designers, tastemakers, writers, and artisans across generations, from the first Sala Bianca in Florence to the game changing design ethic of Franca Sozzani, Miuccia Prada, and Donatella Versace.

Learn how to live fully within your own philosophy of living. Say good-bye to mindless consumerism, emotional clutter, and others’ expectations. Create a personal style that fits like a custom blazer by Ferrè and enchants like the colors of a Sicilian sunset. Then go on to craft an extraordinary and empowering life made-to-measure for you alone.

Gabriella Contestabile

Meet the Author:

Gabriella Contestabile is the author of the novel, The Artisan’s Star, and owner of Su Misura (Made to Measure) Journeys; a boutique travel concept for the female traveler who relishes off-the-beaten-track adventures that celebrate the Italian way of life.

​The book/travel initiative has its roots in her pre-writer life as a foreign language teacher, later as Executive Director and Vice President of International Training in a number of global companies (including Estee Lauder, Shiseido, and Prada Beauty) where she would create immersive and unconventional learning experiences in unique settings around the world.

One of her favorite pastimes, wherever she is in the world, is to scout out the best, and most ‘Italian’ espresso in the hood. It requires multiple tastings, but that’s the idea. Gabriella was born in Italy, and raised in Ottawa and New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, her mother, and a furry Shih Tzu named Oreo.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ LinkedIn

REVIEW:
This little book is a delightful combination of memoir, fashion history and practical advice about how to live your life to the fullest and most stylish.  I loved every little chapter – each beginning with a catchy quote.  This book will gently motivate you to be a better you – happier and more fulfilled.
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Here are a few of the tidbits  from the book that I love: (both from the book and cited quotes)
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It’s not about the label.  It’s about the art.
Don’t over-purchase.  When you have less, what you own is precious.
Bad food is never an option.
Travel is the enemy of prejudice, bigotry and small mindedness.
Age is the prison women make for themselves.
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Fashion history has been a passion of mine for many years so I enjoyed the chapters outlining the history of Italian fashion.  I would google the different designers and pour over examples of the clothing they designed.
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All this good advice had me re-think the way I was living, from the food I eat to the clothes I wear.  Of course, I’m not Italian but I am willing to adapt my lifestyle to be more mindful of the way I live and dress. Everyone keeps telling me to get a Vespa … one day who knows?
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