Don’t let Osanna Visconti’s noble lineage fool you: this lady knows how to get things done. Whether she’s casting furniture from bubbling hot bronze by hand, DIY-fixing her Miu Miu flatforms or chasing after her three teenage boys (probably, also, in Miu Miu flatforms), this Roman-born, Milan-based artisan keeps everything under control. Here are her household rules.

Fashion

“Never wear heels during the day. I only wear them at night.” Instead, Visconti opts for Venetian style slippers and Miu Miu flatforms to run around the city during daylight hours.

She leaves the miniskirts to her 20-something daughter. “I don’t like short things above the knee.”

In the summer heat, simple makes for the best sleep. Visconti wears a vintage cotton camisole and shorts to bed, a family heirloom that was passed down to her from her husband’s grandmother.

Chicness transcends even the most stalwart Milanese style taboos. “It’s not elegant to be uncomfortable. I love old ladies with gym shoes. If they’re chic, they’re chic.”

Hat etiquette still exists. “If you sit down at a restaurant, take your hat off. Once, ladies didn’t need to take it off. But now, it’s ridiculous to be with a hat in a restaurant.”

For working women, practicality trumps all. “I wear a lot of shirt dresses. I’m very practical because every day I go to the foundry and have to wear jeans.”

Pack the bare minimum for a beach holiday. “I pack a kaftan! I wear it very simply, with no belt, flat sandals and that’s it. Bathings suits, basta.”

Save your sandals for the beach. “I don’t like to travel with sandals on airplanes, in trains or cars. I always wear closed-toe shoes, otherwise my feet freeze with the air conditioning.”

At Home

Don’t underestimate pasta’s life-giving abilities. “Dinner is always pasta, like every Italian family. I have three boys, so if they don’t see pasta on their plate they’re going to faint. They want to see pasta!”

Keep your work clothes quarantined. “I have a drawer where I keep all my clothes for the foundry, they’re all black and horrible. I keep them away from everything else.”

For maximising space in Milanese apartments, furniture must do double-duty. “I have a drawer under my bed where my jewellery lives. When I open the drawer, they’re all laid out at once.”

Keep a closet the size of a small bedroom for your multiple sets of dishes and plates. “In Italy, we call the cupboard with the plates and cutlery ‘The Office’.”

Skip the shoe shine and do it yourself. “I love buying shoes, but I take care of them myself. I have my little creams. I’m very do-it-yourself when it comes to shoes. All you need is a drop of glue, some paint.”

Keep your family crest on file at the local silversmith. “I get my cutlery at the old Argenteria Miracoli. It’s the argenteria where the old families get their silver with the crests done. He keeps a mould for every old family.”

Personalise your day-to-day plates. “For everyday we use white Richard Ginori plate with our family crest — I probably have 100 of them.”

All sheets must be top quality and monogrammed. “I love pure 100% linen, they feel so nice. I bought ours when we got married. I always have sheets monogrammed with our initials.”

Get on the good side of the bedsheet mafia. “There are some ladies that work Linens in the south of Italy. I have some numbers I can call.”

Always send condolences the old school way. “I send cards when someone dies. People have started writing text messages, it’s unbelievable. I think it’s nicer to receive a letter. It warms your heart.”

Milan’s old guard shops always provide the best. “I buy stationary from Raymondi in Corso Venezia. Always a cream card with green ink.”

Beauty

Don’t believe all of the Italian old wives tales. “I always wash my hair and go out with it still wet, which is very un-Italian. But I’ll pay for it, when I’m older I’ll probably have problems with my neck. At least that’s what they always tell me.”

Don’t buy into the overpriced beauty hype. “I’m not crazy for expensive creams. I don’t believe in buying Estee Lauder for 250 euros. The difference is nothing. I’ve bought it, but when I finished it, my face was the same as when I buy Cetaphil for 15 euros.”

Botox is a big no-no. “It’s more chic and elegant to be with some lines and wrinkles than having those faces which are gonfia — swollen — by product. Of course they don’t have wrinkles, but it’s not elegant. It’s much nicer — an old lady with all her lines — than those that have faces like balloons. And you can’t touch the lip. That, you can see immediately.”

Health & Exercise

Exercise is overrated. “Exercise — not even an hour a year. I do not enjoy the gym. I tried it; I hate it. I have better things to do. I go to the foundry and work there.”

Practice portion control. “Eat everything — but only a little.”

Allow for some indulgences. “I smoke one cigarette every day. Just one, at 7 o’clock. When I come back from work, it’s like smoking a joint for me. It relaxes me so much. That’s nothing bad, no?”

– Laura Todd


Story Credits
  • Creative Director - J.J. Martin
  • Portrait Photography - Alberto Zanetti
  • Fashion Director - Marta Ferri
  • Location Photography - Andrea Wyner

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La DoubleJ Size Guide

XXS XS S M L XL XXL
Italy 36 38 40 42 44 46 48
France 32 34 36 38 40 42 44
UK 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
USA 00 0 2-4 4-6 8 10 12
Japan 3 5 7 9 11 13 15
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