It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when someone mentioned Positano.
Growing up in Italy, I guess its pretty common knowledge that the South of Italy holds some of the world’s most well hidden jewels.
Positano, in the Amalfi Coast is one of these.
Filled with narrow paths, vibrant mosaics and breath-taking views, the vertical town [that quite literally hangs on the face of the cliff] is bestowed a natural charm that is perceived in its every aspect.
All travellers who end up there know that the only way to move about is by foot.
To all those who stumble upon this gem I offer these words of advice – “leave your sense of direction behind and welcome your sense of wonder”. Walking the paths without rhyme or reason is your personal invitation to indulge in a feast for your six senses. Let your taste buds run wild as they sip on the citrus rawness of limoncello and taste the flavors of the sea in the seafood delicacies.
You see Positano will have an impact on you without even trying.
The harmony enclosed within the town will offer inspiration even to those who don’t come looking for it [and that is exactly what happened with the Jet Set Blues collection].
The truth is that the initial visit to Positano did not have the glamorous appeal previously anticipated.
However, let me be clear – this has nothing to do with the town itself, but more to do with the way Italians approach business.
‘Doing business with Italians’ [a subject that will soon have its own dedicated column] is an art form in itself and can be summed up in one word – SLOW.
Italians looove to take their time, its no wonder that the typical Italian is notorious for being late, but this characteristic seeps into a multitude of different customs.
For example: the first hour of the ‘business meeting’ was spent having at least 2 espressos while discussing family, friends in common and the single most important token of Italian culture: food.
Work was the last point on everyone’s list of priorities.
To top this half the crew, including the craftsman responsible for deciding the cut of the bijou clutches, did not even show up to the morning meeting and had lazily messaged that he would be free to meet at l’ora di pranzo.
Lunch time !!
With everyone talking about food at 10 am, God knows they would be willing to discuss business over an actual meal.
Frustrated and stressed I excused myself for a moment. The meeting had taken place at one of the artisan’s studio located in a high point of Positano.
Stepping out I lit a cigarette [stressful times lead to stressful habits]. I must have looked quite flustered because an old man came up to me to ask if I was all right.
I explained the morning I was having, expecting a sympathetic sigh of comprehension, but instead the old man burst out laughing.
“Work?!” he said.
“Well why would you rush anybody to work? How could you? Look…” With this he grabbed my shoulder and gently guided me to a small belvedere a few feet away from where I was standing.
“Look Bella…Look at what you are missing.”
Below us the rhythmic pulse of the sea rippling to shore had a hypnotizing and instantly calming effect. For the first time I stopped to notice the houses that hung below us. The delicacy in their pastel colours, the green that surrounded them…
“Guarda il mare, guard il cielo. Cara mia queste sono le cose importante!”
[Look at the sea, look at the sky. Darling these are the important things!]
With that the old man walked away, unaware of the impact those words would have. To him it was so simple, yet to me it was so foreign.
You see sometimes we tend to move too quickly through life that we forge to stop and look around. I was so busy stressed about business logistics that I failed to realize where I was.
– In the south of Italy in the middle of spring –
With that I took the old mans words to heart. I extended my stay from 3 days to 5 and let the nature that surrounded take the lead. I decided to loosen the reigns just enough to make sure everybody did complete their tasks but perhaps in a longer.
This made space for all the leisure activities that I was missing out on before.
Like the famous saying goes ‘if you can’t beat them join them’. I soon realized I had a lot to learn from them – for the next 4 days I lived like them. Took time to read out on my balcony overlooking the blissful sea, got lost in the narrow paths, admired the lemon trees and black pebble beaches. I took it all in and by doing so the Collection changed dramatically.
Today I am proud to say that each and every piece of the Jet Set Blues has Positano engraved into them. If it weren’t for those simple words the collection would lack the vibrant personality it carries in it now. Each shade of blue reflects the tranquillity and joie de vivre that I regained that day, and it’s that exact blend of energy that I wish for the stones to convey to anyone wearing them.