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Blog 55 - Prima Classe

I hope I whetted your appetite last week with my mystery scarf inherited from the estate of my unknown benefactor. It is now my pleasure to introduce you to the second scarf I received. I know a little more about this one and again there is an interesting origin to its design.

From my title, you will gather this is Italian for First Class. At first glance, I imagined this might have been an Italian airline or cruise line promotion. Wrong. It is certainly an Italian scarf by a native designer and made in Italy. The hems look hand stitched but on closer inspection, the manufacturer used a machine to present a similar effect. Clever. It is silk and an interesting design using the PRIMA CLASSE name all over as part of the pattern in blues and yellows intersecting a world map. So what do we know of the designer? He is Alviero Martini who studied his art in Piemonte and then dabbled in theatre, fashion and interior decoration. In his work and travels he found an old map in a Moscow bookshop which would be a turning point in his life. He returned to Rome and set about creating his trademark design for years to come, printing a geographical map onto leather and then creating beautiful handbags and accessories. He formed the company 1A CLASSE in 1990 which was the year I came to live in Richmond. His company prospered and eventually he sold out. My bequeathed scarf must come from that era.

Alviero, a very dishy looking gentleman, started another company ALV, using the first three letters of his name, and I am glad my attempts during Covid lockdown at learning Italian enable me to appreciate A for andare (to go), L for lontano (far away) and V for viaggiando (travelling). Well now, couldn’t that be a fine thing for me to do….go off on some exotic far-flung trip wearing my first class scarf?

I don’t think I want to go to Moscow where Alviero found his old map. I have told you in one of my earlier blogs about my parents living and working in Russia in the Sixties and I had my own experience in Yalta which we visited on a cruise round the Black Sea. It was interesting from a historical point of view, visiting the Livadia Palace, the former home of Czar Nicholas the Second, where President Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin met in 1945 to discuss the end of WW2. I think it was pretty shabby when they met, the caviar and champagne was fine but they had to use DDT for bedbugs, and even Stalin had to queue for the limited toilets. It was even more run down when we visited. I resisted the toilets but it was interesting to stand in the very salon where such an important conference took place. (Alas, the three wartime leaders may have discussed the end of one war, only to set the pattern for the ensuing Cold War.) My personal memory is of wandering around a street market with very little to buy or sell. Our grandchildren were very young at the time and there were illustrated children’s books printed on very poor paper, but the illustrations were gentle and nicely coloured. Of course, I had no idea what the story was about, but that would give me artistic licence to make up my own tale when showing the illustrations later to the little ones. With no common language, it was difficult to understand how much the books cost, but with some sign language, I understood the young girl seller wanted to trade her books for my lipstick. The deal was struck. I don’t think I would have fancied someone else’s used lipstick! I regret now I have passed them to some charity shop. They would have made a nicer photo than this one of three warring men. No, I will not return to the Ukraine, but I have always had a hankering to see the art treasures of the Hermitage in St.Petersburg. Maybe, one day……

For the moment, the only travelling on the immediate horizon is a train journey to Scotland next month. I booked the tickets at Richmond Station and got excellent service from a Scottish employee of Network Rail who booked the seats, printed the tickets and gave me good advice. Don’t know how the subject came up, but we discovered we both were learning Italian on DUOLINGO and he proudly showed me his learning stats on his phone, far, far superior to my efforts. I was studying to improve my experience of travel to Bologna, but of course our trip last year was cancelled. So I have woven my blog today from Italy to Russia and now I have worked in a Scottish thread; I will wear the scarf again next month on my way to a cousin’s Golden Wedding celebration…..and yes, we are travelling first class! I wonder if I will find a charity shop in Dunblane to find another silk scarf for the homeward journey? Couldn’t get first class seats for our return to London. Second thoughts…..if I wear the posh PRIMA CLASSE scarf on return, do you think I might talk my way into an upgrade on the train? Worth a try.

Ps. This past Monday was supposed to be Freedom Day as relaxation of Covid 19 restrictions came into place. I intend to continue wearing my mask, hand sanitising and being reasonably careful. I had promised to remove my Union Jack from my large terracotta pot on my doorstep when the pandemic was over. I will leave it there, looking faded and battle weary, and continue my scarf odyssey.

Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Series 2, Blog 55.

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1 Comment

Aug 03, 2021

It was a pleasure sorting out the Scotland tickets for you. And for info, my trip to Bologna was cancelled last year too, so I feel it is only fair that Bologna is the next Italian place to visit when it is safe to do so. Wouldn't it be something if we bumped into each other over there? Alla prossima volta!

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