Sofia Sizzi’s Mushroom Salad
Photography by Winnie Au
When I first met Sofia Sizzi at a fashion event I was immediately swooned by her bold sophistication and red pout. Soon after I was swooned again by her impeccably crafted line Giulietta; season after season I sat at her runway show in awe of her ultra-feminine creations and although I knew her peripherally, I yearned to know more about the elegant Florentine woman behind the clothes. Last season, after a show and in a flurry of press and fans, Sofia mentioned we should host a dinner together to celebrate the launch of her shoe collection. Well, this little lady was all ears. What could be better than the union of footwear and food!? Yes and yes, swoon and swoon!
Early in her career Sofia was an accessories designer who collaborated with some of the greatest houses in Italian and American fashion: Gucci, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan. Taking inspiration from her mother’s vintage photographs and movie heroines from the 1960’s, Sofia launched her signature line Giulietta in 2011 which is somehow both incredibly nostalgic and modern. It was the manifestation of what she had dreamt of in her imagination for as long as she could remember.
While our dinner never did happen, I did invite Sofia to my home to create a meal together. As you know, I think cooking is the best way to get to know someone; it uncovers passions, raises and answers questions and of course, develops friendships. I learned a lot about Sofia as we created her husband’s recipe for a mushroom carpaccio. Interestingly, Sofia and her husband used to own Cafe Falai, which I only discovered when we started chatting and cooking! (Falai was one of my favorite restaurants, until I had the most embarrassing drunken night of my life there…which is all I will share but trust me it was mortifying and it kicked off a good round of girl-sharing-giggles.) Sofia is such a visual person she even brought with her a sketch of how she wanted the carpaccio to look, which of course made me swoon! As we created the raw, shaved mushroom salad – a new favorite which is incredibly simple and a real show-stopper with its delicate flavors and paper-thin slivers of mushroom coupled with pickled mushrooms, micro greens, parmesan and jalapeno, essentially a party in your mouth – the conversation wandered into our early years night-clubbing. It seems that at 17 years old we both might have been found in scantily clad attire, and dare I say it….go-go dancing! Yes, it’s true. We both shook our booties on a podium at 3am to the same thump, thump baseline all the way from Long Island to Florence!
Those wild days are a far cry from our lives now, but somehow they still inform who we are today. Sofia describes her collection as meant to be worn with ‘confidence, fun and ease’ and to shake your thang for all to see certainly took confidence, and more than anything fun! Wearing Guilietta as we cooked it was impossible not to feel feminine and modern. I always hold myself with elegance in Sofia’s clothes. She has created such a distinctive voice with her line, one that is very much rooted in Italian undertones while still remaining whimsical, polished and of course, incredibly flattering to the female form. Dolce Vita Fem!