he first time I visited Italy, a friend who was born there but lived in Australia told me there was one expression I needed to know in Italian that would get me through any situation — ma certo! (To say it the way many Italians do you need the exclamation mark at the end.) It means “of course” and there really is nothing it can’t be used for. Do you need a return train ticket? Ma certo! Would you like red of white wine? Ma certo! It was lovely to meet you. Ma certo!
It’s a way of saying yes that is supposed to remove any uncertainty, but at the same time it has a way of making the questioner feel oddly nervous — not unlike being told, “don’t worry about it”. Over the years we’ve produced a lot of stories and photo shoots in Italy; in fact this is the third edition of the magazine that we’ve dedicated entirely to the country. While jetting off to Italy for a week’s work sounds like a lot of fun (and it is) doing business there can be a frustrating experience. If, say, you want to check that arrangements you made months ago for a shoot location, model booking, chief executive interview etcetera are still on track you’ll probably be told, ma certo! It doesn’t really fill you with confidence does it?
Yet things happen in their own unique and magical way in Italy and, despite what sometimes resembles organised chaos the Italian system just seems to work. Take lunch, for example. Italians, no matter how busy they are, will always stop for lunch. In large companies you’ll often find a staff cafeteria where everyone including senior management eats lunch. To an Australian it seems like a very unproductive way to manage work flow, but having everyone on lunch break at the same time also means having them at their desks — working — at the same time.
This month’s issue features stories on some of the biggest names in Italian luxury — we chatted with Giorgio Armani on the occasion of his 40th anniversary in business; we met Alessandra Facchinetti, the new creative force at Tod’s, we went behind the scenes at Valentino, discovered some of the country’s coolest hotels and sipped a Campari or two (all in the name of research).
A big thank you to Singapore Airlines for getting us to Italy in style and facilitating one of our biggest ever issues. And thanks to the amazing team at the Villa D’Este on Lake Como for allowing us to shoot one of our fashion stories there. I hope you enjoy the issue.
Next month is a big milestone for WISH — it’s our 10th anniversary edition. The issue will have 10 different covers which will be distributed randomly with The Australian on Friday, October 2. You can follow WISH on Facebook and Instagram, or me on Twitter (@DavidFMeagher), for more information on our 10th anniversary issue.
Photographer James Cant shooting model Benedetta for this month’s cover at the Villa D’Este on the shores of Lake Como, Italy