Tales of a swallow

Floriana (8 of 11)

Spring is approaching and one way you know that is through the swallows, those migratory geniuses, always good luck to sailors, and now in its ancient pilgrimage to San Juan Capistrano, to reclaim their mud nests in the arches of the old vault.

It’s a lifestyle I completely understand, caught between two places, always longing for the place you left, always freest in the in-between. For me, between a small town in Slovenia and San Francisco, two lovers I could never give up.

Speaking of the swiftness and gracefulness of swallows I think immediately of my favorite dress designer, Isabel de Pedro, who has created a print of flying swallows on the fabrics of one of her most sophisticated and feminine dresses.

I put it on and I’m in flight; I’m away, I’m a swallow perhaps…

The sweater

sweater by Steve Werney

Rain has finally come back to the door. The land needs it. Time to curl up, get cozy and wrap yourself up in a soft warm sweater, to feel safe and protected.

And so off again I go on a memory, to one rainy November day a few years ago. I was strolling up Fillmore Street, on one of those cold days when you want nothing more than to sit next to a fireplace, sip hot tea, give your concentration to the flames and be close to someone.

I walked by a store, saw something in the window, bought it and walked out, in my cozy and new soft sweater.

A few months later I travelled to Paris.  It was spring, but still very cold, I went exploring the promenade of Le Viaduc des Arts, enjoying the old railroad on the brick and stone viaduct, which carried trains until the late 1970s. Later, the old vaults beneath the rail line were turned into craftsmen’s workshops and galleries. There you can find cabinet builders, musical-instrument makers, fashion designers and even textile restorers.

I wandered from shop to shop, from a paper restorer to a flute maker. And then to a knitting shop. I stepped in, admiring the yarn, knitting machines and sweaters, particularly one that was olive green and cozy looking. I handed it to a petite, dark-haired young woman. She looked at me smiling, as though she knew me. I told her I wanted to buy it. She wasn’t surprised, she told me she knew I would buy one of the sweaters.

“How did you know that?” I asked.

“Because you are wearing one of my sweaters,” she replied.

I told her that was highly unlikely since I had bought it in San Francisco.  “Yes, it’s a little store on Fillmore Street,” she said and named it. She added that it was the only other shop in the world that sold her creations.

But what are the odds of such a coincidence? That I would have been wearing the sweater that day and find my way to her store and all because of the weather and the seasons, a restless heart on a particular day…

Prada Marfa Texas

A few weeks ago Steve and I took Hwy 90 East out of Van Horn,  West Texas on our way to Marfa. The speed limit is 75, but even at 100 it feels like you’re hardly moving at all.  It’s just ranch land, tumbleweeds and the big nothing on the either side of the highway, no traffic, just train tracks to keep you company.

After an hour I started to wonder if we would ever again see another human being.  Suddenly we see something off the road, a low modern building.  We’re past it and we’re thinking, “wait a minute”.  We make a U and half a mile back, there’s a Prada store right in the middle of nowhere, the symbol of haute couture in the middle of the big nothing. It was truly surrealistic: the dream of a feminine world in the ultimate cowboy country.

Prada boutique is an art installation by Berlin artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. The installation’s door is nonfunctional, it will never be opened. On the front of the structure there are two large windows displaying Prada shoes and handbags, which you can’t buy; they will stay there forever, and we will always know what the 2005 fall collection was, picked out by Miuccia Prada herself. The building was intended never to be repaired, so that eventually it will degrade back into the natural landscape.

And it reminded me of the last lines of Shelley’s poem, inspired by a statue of Ramesses II.

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bar

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

A pair of shoes


“Give a girl the right shoes,” Marilyn Monroe once said, “and she can conquer the world.”

Here is my story about shoes.
When I first came to San Francisco, I arrived on a one-way ticket. My plan was to continue on to Brazil; Rio De Janeiro was on my mind then, which is it’s own story.

Nevertheless I linger in San Francisco, I rent a place on 3rd Street and Stillman, above a bike messenger station, which was the perfect metaphor in my life, because I was looking everywhere for a message to tell me whether I should stay, or go on, or find a way back to Europe.

One day I went window shopping and ended up in a shoe boutique off Union Square. The salesman was a very nice gentleman who asked me in passing about where I was from and other details of my ‘foreign-ness.’ I was more interested in talking about shoes but I politely answered all his questions, and eventually found what I wanted. These are the shoes of my dreams, I thought. Delicate leather straps, soft metallic leather and the most glamorous heels. Beautiful beyond belief.

Out of one ear I heard the salesman joking. “Yes, they are beautiful and about the same price as an airplane ticket to go back home. So now it’s your decision between one or the other. Which will it be?”

I didn’t give it much thought. I put the shoes back in the box, handed them to the gentleman and said, “I’ll take them.”

And that’s how I came to stay in San Francisco. It became my Land of Oz. And my “ruby slippers” had taken me to where I already was….

Red dress

If you ask me, what is it about a red dress, I am reluctant to say.  But sometimes I am the embodiment of a red dress.  It’s the door to my other self, to carefree without end, without limits, it represents the sound of crickets in summer, or else walking down a cobblestone street, seeing and waiting to be seen, tempting the air itself. Or else it’s the feeling of “walking on a red carpet” coming into the theater of personal fulfillment, no matter how absurd.  Or else, because I love cars, it conveys the intensity and beauty of a red Ferrari, that particular power of form and substance, the sound of it, the feel of its lines.  The redness of it. Of course it’s all true. What better illusion, what better metaphor. You slip into a red dress and your mood changes instantly and your energy level becomes higher. You are suddenly confident and courageous.  Or a fine copy of that. It also summons the magic mood that something unexpected and beautiful will happen.

In medieval Europe, kings, cardinals, and nobility wore red. In classic Rome, the most powerful men were called the coccinati, meaning the “ones who wear red.”

For artists Marina Abramovic a red dress means energy. Watching The Artist is Present made me think about the color choices of the dresses she was wearing at different times throughout the exhibition in MoMa — which has her sitting in silence across from any number of museum visitors almost every day. For the opening of the exhibition, she chose the bright red dress. Then she wore the meditative, deep blue dress. And then back to red, to gain new energy because of the increasing difficulty of the performance. Last Marina chose to wear a white dress to achieve a calm state for her final month of performing. In red, she was intense, assertive, while in dark blue and in white she seemed reticent, withdrawn.


I am an interior designer, drawn to beauty in all its forms, especially in art, architecture and fashion. As a designer, I take my inspiration from my clients, and from what I find in the world.

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