My parents are Italian so style, fashion and image always were strong issues in our family. It’s in our blood, it’s in our DNA. My mum sewed all my outfits and we went to many Italian weddings growing up in Australia. These events were all about what everyone would wear. In most cases our mums made the outfits and off we went. In fact, looking back, I was embarrassed to be wearing what my mum made. The simple reason was that it did not have the luxury brand labels on it. It was not from Gucci let alone PRADA. Thanks to the fashion market and magazines, I always was conditioned from an early age that if you wore Gucci, Dior, let alone PRADA, you had made it. It defined who you were. It showed you had style, you were important and you were accepted in society and most importantly, you were rich.

Italian Weddings In Australia

When I was at these Italian weddings, on average no less than 600 guests were attending. A seven course meal was awaiting and the latest dresses and gold accessories were imported from Italy. These weddings had another name. I would call it “the cousin catwalk competition”. All my cousins lived in Melbourne and I grew up in rural Australia. I always envied their city life and how they were always bang on trend. I felt I did not belong because of the wealth that the city background of my cousins had. I did not belong and I certainly would not be wearing PRADA.

Fontana Sisters

Not sure if you have ever heard of the Fontana Sisters. These three ladies showed the world of Fashion that in Italy, style and Haute Couture existed well and truly before Milan Fashion week and all the extravagant boutiques. PRADA and Gucci were not even on the radar yet. They were the women that took a risk against all odds and bought important ideas using printed cloth. For this reason, they brought fashion to a new level and combined different worlds in a dress.

They were destined to target and create perfect ideal dresses for the wealthy and sophisticated persons living and working in Rome. Watch this movie. It’s so amazing and inspiring that against all the horrific challenges these three sisters had, they went onto open the doors in Hollywood. In the following years, they tailored suits and dresses for Linda Christian, Tyrone Power, Maria Pia di Savoia, Liz Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck, Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, Kennedy Onassis, Joan Collins, Ursula Andress, Soraya, Ava Gardner and Anita Eckberg, just to name a few. They even worked for the great film director Federico Fellini as costume designers.


My PRADA Shoes – I cried When I Lost Them

I have only ever owned four PRADA things. Three pairs of shoes and a handbag. I have found them all at charity shops. Back in June I found the most delightful shoes and they were new and were from PRADA. They had the perfect height and they were silver and black weaved leather. I have worn them only twice and last week I chose to wear them at Africa Fashion Week Amsterdam. For whatever reason they reminded me of Africa. But the truth be known, I knew they would draw a lot of attention and I knew that when I was asked where I got them from, I would be proud to say they are PRADA.

I was embarrassed to say that I got them at a second hand store. You see my point. Luxury brands define who I am. I was making a statement that in my mind I had made it. I had wealth and I am wearing PRADA. Now I made sure that these shoes were never left out of my sight when I took them off. To this day I have no idea what I did when I took my PRADA shoes off. I did it so I could to put on my Mui Mui pumps which ironically broke 24 hours later. I also bought these at a Charity shop but again I was not going to tell that to anyone. I was getting a strong message here. In a space of 24-hours, I lost my PRADA and Mui Mui shoes, and cried when I realised it.

I lost my only luxury brand shoes that in my mind defined who I am. You know what. It’s the best thing that ever happened. Don’t ever think that luxury brands state who you are let alone show the world you are a success by wearing them. I am sure along the way in my next charity shop, God will have another luxury brand waiting there for me in the taking. Gracie will be wearing PRADA sometime soon?


Gracie Opulanza PRADA Shoes taken by Sjaak Hartog (1)

Photographer Sjaak Hartog The man has style taken these epic shots

Gracie Opulanza PRADA Shoes taken by Sjaak Hartog (2)

Photographer Sjaak Hartog The man has style taken these epic shots


The last few hours before they were lost and gone never to been seen again