Behind the Scenes of Your Italian Fix: Day 6

by Bianca Gignac

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>> This is day 6 of a 7 day party delivering a sneak-peek at how getting your Italian Fix is the best thing you can do with your precious vacation time. <<

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I want to share with you how brilliant my friend Filippo is.

Filippo is a fashion photographer who lives in Milan.

We connected last winter. It was friend of a friend sort of thing.

When I peeked at his portfolio I understood why he works for all the top names — cause he makes women shine.

Filippo’s schedule is jam packed. Whenever we chat – he’s always working. He travels around the world shooting photos for Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Campari, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Vogue Italia, Cosmopolitan, The Guardian, Newsweek – you get the picture.

Anyways, I wanna tell you how we started working together.

I believe I posses a strong sense of intuition.

It’s guided me my whole life – and it’s given me the confidence to live an unconventional life that is very “me”. It has let me follow my passions and allowed me to make choices that have made me wildly happy (sure — sometimes it’s not all unicorns and rainbows). But my whole life I’ve done stuff I love. I’ve travelled tons. Went to art school. Lived abroad. Lived in Italy. Married a man who didn’t speak my language. Became a mom.

Now that intuition has led me into building an Italian travel business born from the desire to help others.  And so I lean into it.

So when I met Filippo, I had an intuitive flash: give my guests a once in a lifetime opportunity with an Italian fashion photographer.

And that happened last June.

My vision was for each guest to own a photograph of herself that would symbolize something greater than just another travel shot. It would be a talisman of her strength, her beauty, her resilience and more poignantly, her desire to live a life she loves by embracing new experiences.

I wanted that photograph to also serve as a tool: a head shot for her business. An heirloom for her kid. A print in her home. A memory. Or just some dangerous Facebook fodder.

And so Filippo travelled from Milan to the Cinque Terre for a photo session with each guest; the overgrown flowery stone paths was our backdrop. We had a blast.

Filippo is a sweety.

You might think people who work in fashion all day are hysterical stress bags who might be hard to handle. But it’s not like that at all.

Filippo grew up in a family of all girls and spent a lot of time backstage at his older sister’s dance recitals. He watched them in child-like fascination as they practised, put on costumes, and did their make-up.

Over coffee, Filippo told me that he reveres women; he has a deep love and respect for females. And it makes me understand why I love his photos so much. They are taken in a protected sort of intimate way. His fashion photographs don’t scream sex and glamour. They just speak about life. About the many seconds that make up life. His style is raw and postmodern. And unpretentious. And just freakin’ lovely.

This season Filippo will be photographing you if you join us in Florence + Milan for our dreamy trip. We’re using the Milanese landmark, the gothic cathedral for the backdrop of this shoot, just steps from the hotel. Can you picture yourself there – in your best outfit – being photographed by a Milanese fashion photographer? Pretty crazy, no?

I can’t wait for you to meet him and own a photo of yourself that will serve you in your life; whatever that looks like for you.

See that full itinerary now.

For now, enjoy his beautiful world.

Celebrations!

To celebrate the release of our upcoming trips to Italy we are giving away free stuff.

Win it: this map of Italy.

Would this print look pretty at your house? This map was drawn by UK artist Laura Bird for Italian Fix.

Enter the draw by leaving a comment before November 30, 2013.

Chat about anything! What do you think of these photos? Is the idea of a photo shoot in Milan exciting? Freaky? Which elements of the Florence + Milan trip do you like the most?

{Luck + Love, Bianca}

{giveaway update: Marina is the owner of this pretty map of Italy. Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful comments.}

{All images by Filippo Mutani except the first one by Leela Cyd}

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie Dahlgrin

Really enjoying your party and super amazed by the itinerary and all the incredible people you are bringing together. This work is fabulous! Up up and away!

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Bianca Gignac

Hey Marie, Glad you like our party. I love showing everyone the back story of these trips. xx B

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Marina

Freaky…yes…yes…definitely freaky. Did I say freaky, what I meant to say was it’s freaky, I mean really freaky!!!

I’m not ugly or anything, but I really do not take good photographs, not sure why, but that saying that the ‘camera loves you’, well lets just say no one has ever said that to me…ever! I’d like that to be different.

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Bianca Gignac

Hi Marina,
You know, my group who had a photo shoot last year with Filippo in the Cinque Terre were nervous. Truth is, most people don’t really like getting their photo taken! But what ended up being “freaky” for some turned out to be a highlight of their trip! I had a mazing feedback for this experience which is why I pulled it together again. I love that everyone has a gorgeous momento of their trip, and not just an instagram! That makes me happy. xx B

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christy

i love the approach of having him take photos that “symbolize something greater than just another travel shot. It would be a talisman of her strength, her beauty, her resilience and more poignantly, her desire to live a life she loves by embracing new experiences” wow!

i wonder what that photo would look like for me….

…maybe someday I will be in Florence experiencing it!!!

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Bianca Gignac

Hi Christy.

Well, I definitely focus on experiential travel, which is philosophically completely different to what other tour companies do.

I want people to expect more from their trip. I want them to do more than just SEE Italy. I want them to FEEL Italy.

When I plan an event I ask myself, “What will this GIVE to my guest”. For example. This photo opportunity gives each woman a chance to feel beautiful and special.

Another example would be a dinner out. I’m not just arranging an opportunity to eat (anyone can do that). I’m offering an opportunity to connect with Italian history and family tradition and skills (through food and wine choice). Each event is carefully designed to build connections and conversation with others on the trip. Why? Because it makes everyone feel good, included, loved and taken care of.

And who doesn’t need that! Some of y previous guests (who were not friends before) have all stayed in touch and even arranged dinners and vacations together. Which is the biggest indicator to me that the strategy works.

It’s all about nurturing feel good experience through insider knowledge with a big dose of heart. That’s my business model and I’m sticking to it! xx B

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Nancy

I love his photos. But alas, I don’t think he could do much with me. Never have been photogenic. :(
It does sound like so much fun!

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Bianca Gignac

Hey Nancy, Thanks for your straight up approach. But, art, music, beauty and food are all too subjective. We all work what we’ve got! And I’m sure you would be surprised at what ya got! xx B

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Kristy Graham

ooh la la. that guy could make anyone look and feel beautiful. xx

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Bianca Gignac

Hi Kristy,
Exactly! xx B

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Heather

Oh, so seductive. This is making me addicted to your blog, and to want to go on one of your trips some day. The best idea yet!

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Bianca Gignac

Ciao Heather,

Being addicted to my blog makes me happy. Bonus points at being addicted to something that is free. xx B

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amylucinda

Photographs are absolutely stunning. Would love to be photographed by this awesome guy!! Also LOVE that artwork and want want want it in my living room!! 😀

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Bianca Gignac

Hey Amy,

Glad you love love love. xx B

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Bethany ~ twoOregonians

I adore the sounds of your upcoming itinerary! Just the kind of thing to recommend to some of my lovely friends… We visited Milan for the first time this year, and I had just enough of a taste to wish for a future return.

Such a treat to have Filippo photographing your travelers. What a fabulous idea. Gorgeous poster, too!

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Bianca Gignac

Hi Bethany, Milan gets a really bad rap from travellers and I think because it doesn’t look like Florence or some other postcard.

But I love Milan. I love the vibrancy and the fact that it isn’t trapped in static stereotypes. There aren’t sandwich boards advertising “tourist menu” on every corner. Milan doesn’t care about tourists. They just cater to their own which is a refreshing change in Italy.

I’m bringing people to Milan so they can see a modern Italian city which has tons to offer the foreign traveller when you know where to look. Which is why we have a local gal taking us around for a day of shopping at the best places in the city. Of course the photo shoot in front of the duomo is a beautiful topper to the cake. Can’t wait! xx B

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Bernadette Cay

Having a professional photographer photograph you is a little nervous at first but Filippo makes you feel so relaxed and comfortable and he know how to get your best side…would love more time with him!!!

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Bianca Gignac

Hi Bernadette, I love the shot he took of you last year in the Cinque Terre. Very shadowy and warm. xx B

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Lisa

Hello!
I just found your blog through Bellalimento!
I plan to travel to Italy for the first time in September! I have cousins there that I will be meeting for the first time! This is the trip of my dreams!!! :)

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Bianca Gignac

Hi Lisa,

Great to have you come visit us from the awesome bell’alimento. Benvenuto. Have a great time in Italy!

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