Let me first tell you one thing: all this thing about a more inclusive fashion, was just an intuition less than a year ago.
When I participated in the Global Inclusion conference, in Bologna, it was last September 2019.
I could not imagine that today, I would have been here, writing about this incredible thing that happened to me.
Now, let me tell you the story behind EYECONTACT.
Meeting Elena Travaini. made my day, that day!
Google Her, Instagram Her, Facebook Her and you will see what she CAN do.
She is Woman, a Mother, a Wife, an Entrepreneur.
She is a Dancer… a Blindly Dancing Dancer.
She is also a survivor, since she had a very rare form of tumor that hit her sight, eyes and face when she was just a baby (actually before she was even born).
Our common friend Silvia, founder of EnjoyItalyGo, told me…
“I understand what you are doing, I think you should talk to Elena.”
After our first call, we knew we had to do something and one day she goes: “in a couple of weeks my photographer (Cristian Palmieri) will be in Milan, would you be my stylist?”
And … “ Oh yes, it would be great if we could partner up with some fashion brands”
That really made my day! I could finally prove my words with actions.
But … whom should I contact? Would have I found brands, willing to support our idea and help us spread our Fashion Inclusion message?
I want to thank all the partners involved starting from the amazing staff of the Fashion and Luxury Culture Department I coordinate at the Milan Campus of the European School of Economics, that allowed us to shoot there on 10th July 2020; the amazing Cristian Palmieri able to adapt his initial idea to the message Elena and I wanted to communicate; Silvia Gozzi the make up artist and hair stylist that imagined amazing artworks to decorate Elena’s body and of course, DressYouCan for providing the outfits and believing that beautiful fashion must be accessible to Every Body.
I would also give them the merit of having the idea of shooting a launching video (soon available in English as well) – which story idea and final creation was possible thanks to talented Martino Garavaglia (who is also the Creative Director of the Fashion and Luxury Culture dpt at ESE Milan).
Special thanks go to Alessandra Londoni founder of LallaBalloonArt, Veronica Ranni founder of BalloonArtPopika and Silvia Stigliani psychologist and model, for creating an amazing balloon dress.
We also had huge tweeting thanks to the dedication of Twitter Specialist Maria Lucia Caspani
Well.. the time has come to show you what we did!
The following 6 main shots represent Elena’s roles in life and demostrate how fashion, if willing, can be inclusive and representative of all diversities.
Hope you enjoy the story behind each outfit.
THE BALLOON DRESS
Why balloons? I was watching a tv show where balloons were used to promote a new way of hair-coloring and I found myself thinking about how they were going up… and then I thought…
Elena can have something going up, something communicating lightness after all the weight of prejudice, insults, badness and bullying related to her appearance. We chose black to symbolize both the darkness of blindness and the ensamble of all colors. Some silver was added to give a twist of light! To me, this use of black is another proof that dareing to change our perspective can lead us to amazing adventures and understanding.
THE DREAMER DRESS
I chose this Olvi’s red dress, for the passion Elena puts in her dreams and ambitions. I chose a fucsia wig to create the contrasts of Elena’s soul and personal story.
I wanted it all to be cool, to be glamourous, to be striking. I wanted people to see her for the force of nature she is beyond her disability.
THE DANCER DRESS
This tailor-made dress symbolizes her elegance, her sensuality, her talent as a ballerina. Everything I offered her, had to match her body, her personality and her ambitions. Elena didn’t like the idea of shooting barefoot so we decided to wear ballerina shoes instead.
This pose says it all.
THE MOTHER DRESS
I love this picture. It is so urban and sweet. Elena and her daughter Aurora are so close: Elena tells Aurora everything and Aurora has such a maturity in listening, supporting and acting!
I wanted an outfit that could represent the cool mom Elena is: I first thought she could wear the green sequins pants with a bodysuit. Not the right size though … so I was holding this Frieda Khalo dress and suddenly thought about a mom&daughter outfits new version. They loved the idea and you can tell from this picture I was right.
THE WIFE DRESS
You might be wondering why Elena has a great black Harvé Léger dress while her husband is wearing a t-shirt and bermudas. Well… we were not planning of having him in the picture (and I can tell Anthony was quite happy with it) but… these 2 have such a feeling that we could not think of not keeping this shot! This little black dress embraces Elena’s body perfectly, while the fringes give her that twist that only a ballerina whose partner is her husband as well, can wear for a night out.
THE ENTREPRENEUR OUTFIT
Oh this one! I wanted Elena to look like Nicole Ari Parker playing Giselle in Empire. When Cristian said “let’s use the lift” I thought OMG!!
I wanted her to wear something classy, something contemporary, something that movie stars would wear.
I love this shot as it says: “I am coming and you are not allowed to look the other way”