linda hamilton evans
When I think of Linda I think of summer, maybe because I first met her in july and it was a very hot day when she came to my shop with her partner in crime* Simon. Second reason is because she’s always in a good mood, dispensing the most incredible smiles, making smart fun of herself and her friends … last but not least because she got herself very bright gold plated sunglasses by Thierry Lasry and there’s an incredible picture of her in a field of blooming sunflowers ( see picture above). In fact Linda Hamilton Evans, former magazine publisher and editor, comes to Venice mostly in summer. Now she lives in Paris, where she teaches corporate and legal business English.
- Last summer I missed you in Venice, but normally you come here on a regular basis. I would say you already know the place better than I do. What is the main reason that makes you want to come back every time ?
Quite honestly I have meeting you and your friends to thank for my love for Venice. When I first arrived on a Home Exchange I found it really hard work being in Venice to be blunt. Then I met you, and you opened a new world to me (and not just thanks to your glasses – which I obviously KEEP buying) by inviting me to functions and introducing me to people. And I soon learned what so many people had tried to tell me – you don’t choose Venice; Venice chooses you
- At some point you must have stopped feeling like a tourist. When did this happen and how?
It was during this 6-week Home Exchange that yes, I went from feeling like a tourist, to being treated like a local. I was given ‘local’ prices in many restaurants and shops, and people kind of seemed to know me, saying ‘Ah you’re the Australian staying in Piazza San Marco’ or ‘Ah, you’re the Australian friend of Alessandro. I think for me the BIG turning point was when I no longer got lost every time I stepped out of my front door; when I could navigate my way around the islands and canals like a local. THAT was huge for me!
- Normally I ask people about food, because this shared passion is kind of a bond I have with most of my friends. In your case let’s talk about wine, as you recently became a fully qualified enologist. Which wines and for which reason, would you choose for a sunset in Venice ?…a proposal in Bali…? …a dinner in Sydney ?
Ahhhh I don’t think you can go wrong drinking Italian wines in Italy – as the terroir the grapes are grown on obviously matches the land local produce is grown on. For me – watching the sunset from a bar on the canal – the obvious choice is Prosecco. In Bali the question is much more difficult as the 360% import duty on alcohol makes finding a reasonable bottle of wine a real challenge. Here my answer would be buy your favourite French Champagne in whatever country you come from and take it in your suitcase. So, so far bubbles for both – just bubbles from different countries For a dinner in Sydney – hmmm that’s not so easy as there are some great Aussie wines; from huge reds (like a Penfold’s Cabernet Shiraz) to renowned Sauv Blancs from NZ, and in fact some great wines generally. Here it would depend on personal palate and what you were eating as Australia provides a real culinary adventure, given the fact we have some of the most innovative an interesting young chefs who specialize in wonderful fusion cooking.
- You travel a lot for leisure and also to follow the marketing and reservations for your hotels and villas in Indonesia. In fact, when you started developing resorts, you also entered the world of fashion and jewellery design. Could you notice differences about the approach to accessories in different countries. As for example France vs Italy, Australia vs Europe…
I don’t think it’s so much dictated by the country as by an individual sense of style and flair – and also having the chutzpah to be different. I much prefer not following a trend, but rather creating one. And I think the most stylishly interesting people are the ones who dress according to their personal sense of fashion (unless of course they don’t have a clue and go out in outfits that you have to ask yourself why their friend/husband/family didn’t tell them, quite definitively, how WRONG it looks. These people should take some advice on outfits best suited for them) But I think dressing for climate also plays a role in fashion sense. For example, there’s no doubt the French and Italians kill it when it comes to winter fashion, as you guys are so used to having to still look chic when the temperatures are sub zero that you make an art form of jackets, boots and scarves. In Australia we haven’t quite mastered that level of chic winter dressing. In terms of summer fashion, my most important bit of advice would be – know when the day is over (that’s to say – when you’re past the age) that you can go out in public in very short shorts and skirts (and here I’m being a bit hypocritical I think as, when it’s stinking hot, I will still put on the minimum amount of clothing possible, which often sees me in exactly these pieces of clothing despite my age) and when plunging necklines have passed the limit of being merely plunging, to being vulgar The final thing I’ll mention here, having been a jewllery designer working out of India is – don’t be a Christmas tree. If already you wear loads jewellery on your arms, wrists, fingers, and big hoop earring for example – forget the necklaces. And vice-versa. Don’t abuse or overuse your pieces. You can still be flamboyant if that’s your personality – but know where to draw the line .
- Are Elegance fashion and style more related to specific nationalities or cities? Where do people care the most about it and with the better outcome?
I still think Milan is an epicenter for design and overall chic-ness (is that a word?) But otherwise I don’t think you can narrow it down to specific places. Style and flair are the most effective when they are qualities you are born or raised with – when they’re not being overworked and overthought. Both should be a natural part of who you are and how you comport yourself. And of course, all outfits and all occasions need fab sunglasses. Honestly! I am not lying when I say I have over 60 pairs of sunnies (some of my favs come from you Alessandro) and they really top off an outfit there’s no doubt
- Style, people and first impressions. We all know that judging people by the appearance is wrong, but in my opinion style does influence first impressions. How do first impressions affect your relation to the new people you meet.
Look I think I’d be lying if I said that first impressions aren’t based on a physical attraction because they are – and this does come from having a certain style and flair. But these qualities don’t just involve what items you have put on your body. These qualities also include how you carry yourself, your approachability or inaccessibility depending on how you’re wanting to portray yourself; your smile, your charisma and, importantly, your sense of humour and respect for others Having said all that (trying hard not to be superficial) I do have to say that if you came to meet me for a dinner in a restaurant in a pair of tracksuit pants with ugg boots, a hoody and a lumberman’s jacket I may well not go to the restaurant with you…
- What’s the right balance between caring about the way you look and focusing on what’s behind the “mask”?
I think that if what’s behind the mask has value and is full of those qualities I mentioned above, then that shines through in how you present yourself
- Your curriculum doesn’t mention the time when you were a dancer. So you were familiar with incredible costumes made of feathers and rhinestones. It must have been a thrill to go on stage in such dresses. What did you feel every time you wore a new costume?
Aaah back in the good ol’ days – try around 38 years ago…. It’s not because it slipped my mind that it’s not in my CV, but rather it was such a fleeting stage of my life. Newly in Paris at 17 years old I did do a stint in a chorus line and it was fab, but totally exhausting. To be honest, I get more fun out of putting on slightly whacky rocker-chick outfits now than back in the days when putting on gorgeous flamboyant dresses seemed more of a chore than a pleasure. And I wonder if that’s not the reason I’ve never been a bling kind of girl? This probably sounds so ungrateful as it was an exciting and glamorous lifestyle but for me was more of a means to an end than a total pleasure Does wearing fancy glasses, give you similar emotions? To be honest, with my zanier, crazier glasses, I usually only wear them when I’m travelling with my travel buddy, Simon. He encourages me to be as whacky as possible, something I probably shy away from when I’m totally on my own. But I feel great in my sunnies; for me I have a few critical accessories I’m never seen without – a fab pair of sunnies; huge silver hoop earrings; a handful or rings and wrists full of bracelets. Oh and don’t get me started on shoes….
Thank you Linda.