During this long lockdown where we have found ourselves rearranging our days between working from home, relaxing and rediscovering passions, many from the TV entertainment world, much of which has been taken up by the news, now prefer Instagram live streams. From celebrities working out on videocalls with their personal trainers, to influencers advising on recipes or beauty routines, the most popular visual social network is now offering a real daily schedule ̶ and competition is at its highest!
Someone who effortlessly manages to juggle pilates and dance classes without any pretense to take herself too seriously, talks with creatives and people from the fashion system (“racconti dasal8”, meaning “salon tales”), and tutorials on how to create cool accessories to engage her virtual friends (don’t anyone dare call them followers!) is Simona Bertolotto, aka @sissiottostyle.
Over 45, more than 100,000 followers – pardon, a mostly female parterre aged 35 and more looking for some style inspiration, Simona is a woman that women like. And there is a simple reason for it: this is how she appears in the countless outfits that make up a gallery free from studied settings or strategies.
Whenever I take a picture, I keep the first result I get, and it does not matter if there are flaws or imperfections; as my motto goes, “Right first time!”
she tells me during our interview.
Kindness and authenticity blend in Simona just like the mix and match that distinguishes her look, always standing out for one detail: a flower bloomed in quarantine, which she wears like a brooch. It is not just a frill, but an allegory of spring, or rather of a rebirth, a wish for the future. A positive message that she has been spreading on her live streams, where she nurtures her greatest passion: talking with people and further shortening distances from her digital “big family” by showing unique glimpses of her home that would not often go live on Instagram before, and that we are now almost familiar with. This is what is great about social media, their power to enable us to share experiences and influence one another, with everyone offering their own vision and perception.
I virtually meet Simona at the end of her live chat with Erika Cavallini, who freely told her journey as a bold designer and entrepreneur, and I must confess that I am a little excited!
Both wearing yellow, we meet on a video call, and @sissiottostyle breaks the ice with a large smile. Just like she looks in her pictures, Simona is the essence of class and elegance.
Will you tell us a bit about yourself?
I approached photography by chance in 2011, first by taking pictures with my phone, then with a professional camera. I was selected as one of the 15 participants at Paratissima 2013, and 150 of my works are featured in Photovogue’s portfolio; Franca Sozzani selected me 10 times in her contests. The passing of Vogue Italia’s editor-in-chief marked a crucial change of course in my artistic path: I started depicting slightly raw female nudes, following unconventional beauty canons (something ahead of her time, as Simona’s photographs anticipated what are now the main themes of the visual culture, such as inclusivity and empowerment).
From photography to Instagram, it was just a short step: I started posting pictures from Pinterest showing various looks on women, whose heads I would snip so as to put the focus on their outfits only, in order to create an inspirational gallery. Later, I started posting my own looks.
What is luxury for you today?
In its broadest sense, luxury can be found in freedom, in traveling, in escaping. When applied to fashion, it embodies strong values to me, like ethical, functional, timeless.
You have a truly versatile style, eclectic at times. What are your inspirations?
Elegance is in the past for me, I look up to those iconic, charming women with a royal aura, like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. Women from the past could exude a whispered sensuality, never exhibited or aggressive.
Canons are different today. My style is a bit retro, a mix & match of vintage pieces and innovative brands.
In light of the statements made by Giorgio Armani about the fashion system, how do you expect fashion processes – and communication, too – to change?
I agree with Giorgio Armani’s statements. Fashion and its processes have been going too fast so far. It is necessary to reconsider everything in a slower way. Fashion is a language, and there are necessary technical times for creativity to flow, but most of all it does not need to produce countless items that would contribute to the global pollution. To this end, vintage is an invaluable resource.
Which brands do you most enjoy collaborating with?
I always agree to collaborate with brands only if they are in line with my tastes and values. It must be love at first sight!
What are the staples for every woman’s wardrobe?
Unlike those who consider the white shirt as the it-piece, I will go for a denim one instead: a versatile item that pairs well with the whole wardrobe, and knows how to play down a sleek skirt or trousers. Plus, that must-have black blazer, to create different outfits for different moments of the day!
Your projects for the future?
The next one coming up is called “8 Meraviglie” (8 wonders), and it is a co-branding project about clothing, bijoux, footwear and accessories. Passion drives us to make our projects come true. I live the moment, the “here and now”. It is never too late to create! And from this challenging situation we are all experiencing, I am sure that we will be able to draw something positive, just like a Chinese saying goes: “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.”
“Never too late, never too old” – that is my motto!
Thank you, Simona!