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Lucia Odescalchi

Contemporary princess

Statues and frescoes alongside her own design.

She made her latest appearance during the Salone del Mobile at the atelier in via dell’Orso, in the Brera neighbourhood of Milan, which, professionally speaking, is the jewellery designer’s second city: a fluorescent invitation to an exhibition entitled Fiorescenze which showcased pieces in luminescent Plexiglas against a set designed by artist Simona Bertolotto.

Luminous visions of a designer who sets out from reclaimed stones and vintage pieces to rethink them in a contemporary key.
Precious or experimental materials, leather chokers that encroach on the face, long dangling necklaces and other more classical models, as far as anything treated by Odescalchi can be defined as such.

Conceptual in form and experimental in their material mix, her unique pieces resemble their maker: the Roman princess reveals the powerful impact of her chains against a low-necked garment, medieval style under a red leather zippered jacket, statement-making bracelets accompany a long dress worn with flat loafers and jeans are accessorized by her favourite bag. Odescalchi travels mentally and professionally, accompanied by the awesome past surrounding her intimate and contemporary everyday life.

We meet her in her workshop, having gone through the side entrance of the family palazzo in Rome’s piazza SS. Apostoli, with 17th century stairways and statues and her own avant-garde touch that has given a new take to everything. Under the frescoed ceiling of the workshop, the iron tables she has designed herself are accessorized by powerful lights directed onto the mix of steel and fluo colours, chains and diamonds, all adding up to an easy-to-wear yet angular world, similar to the way in which thought can chisel the times we live in, accomplished in her case by the shaping of objects.

We follow her to Castello di Santa Marinella, a coastal location for events and parties ( and a refuge for family weekends just outside Rome. “Whenever possible, we come here to breathe in the scents of the Mediterranean vegetation”. On our part, we were seduced by the romanticism of the little church standing in the inner courtyard, its walls covered with greenery and a bell tower reaching up into the blue of the sky; the atmosphere is one of times gone by, as on the panoramic terrace descending to the sea: its steps echo the inimitable – and very Italian – elegance of the coast.
We enter the private quarters of the castle, which is surrounded by a palm grove, and reach a dining room dressed in total white with touches of blue. Once again, a graphic effect that intersects a century-old elegance.

The stairway leading to the upper floor of the owner’s home is decidedly more complex. A labyrinth of corridors packed with pictures and family busts takes us to the desk where Lucia works. The immense picture above her sketches is out of scale, like much of the beauty in the Roman capital she grew up in. “I never rest. Work is the fabric of my life, maybe too much so. Let’s say that when I finally slacken the pace and allow the tension and my concentration to ease off, I feel……exhausted, complete with a stiff neck, not something I really want to have on Christmas Day”. Creativity has no set times, and neither does it have any rules. We go as far as the bedroom to take a look at the wardrobe, which is always an indicator of style. Hers is on view and the steel racks are distributed around the room that serves as a closet. Colour is the general criteria adopted, but without an excess of zeal: “Sooner or later, I’ll make it a bit tidier”. Her style of dress oozes confidence, because, after all, her work is all about balancing forms and different periods, so what she does with a bracelet can easily be transferred to a body, particularly hers, that of a former model.

Packing for the weekend:
I start with shoes, they determine the sort of weekend it’s going to be.
Or rather, let’s start from basics: super comfortable ballerinas because of their versatility. They can be elegant or laid back. There’s always the chance of a nice walk so I need some trainers in my travel bag. I only take heels if I know there’s going to be an evening that calls for them.
A fun scarf, one with fringes maybe: it adds an incredibly “decorative” touch and you can wear it with the usual T-shirt.
A jacket is always a must. In green velvet with contrasting piping in winter, in cotton or linen in the summer months: what really matters is that they have pockets. Pockets are essential when travelling.
A casual pair of plain coloured trousers.
A purse holding small travel-size beauty creams, as on planes.

In my handbag:
a small cosmetics purse for makeup.
Keys galore (home, office, car, scooter etc.) and phone chargers.
My Ipad, an ultra-flat grey notepad for jotting down impressions, pens that are not likely to explode, newspaper cuttings I intend to read again, and never do.
I often take a pair of tights with me: I always leave without them and regret it later….

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