Street Style: Arty dressing at the Venice Biennale

replacement I was in Venice last weekend for the Art Biennale and so I took the chance to shoot a few stylish exhibition attendees. It was gloriously sunny (remember what that’s like?) so I concentrated on women who had got that chic-in-the-heat look right.

Middleagedad took the above photo (I have him well trained) of this super elegant couple heading to the vaporetto having seen the Marc Quinn gold conch shells. The mono print top and skirt in chocolate brown and white looked so fresh in the heat and if you look closely you can see the woman’s sunglasses are edged in white coral. I suspect they might be vintage but if anyone DOES knows the brand, I really want them….

cream dress This cool silk dress with a splash print in putty is a vintage find, according to its wearer. Just as well she didn’t have to fight me for it as this is exactly the style of dress I love to wear when it’s hot, light and airy but not too clingy. Love her soft, pinky suede shoes.  She coordinated rather nicely with the surroundings too.

biennale 02 The above women were perusing the art in the main Central Pavilion when I caught up with them. I loved both of their outfits because they looked so comfortable, chic and happy in their clothes in the heat. The lady on the left is wearing an Issey Miyake tunic over cropped linen pants and I think she said she works for Van Cleef & Arpals. I loved the way her friend – I had to do a double take to make sure it wasn’t Tilda Swinton – brightened her simple black  tunic dress with a geranium pink scarf. Both wore perfect sandals.

biennale 01 How gorgeous is this spotty sundress? She even makes those sandals look good. It looked as if it was made from a fine cotton jersey and I bet it’s a dream dress to wear in the heat. biennale again It’s not so easy to see in this image above, but this woman really looked great in her simple black T shirt and neat skirt. All her colours worked really well together and I loved her shoes. The sculpture is by Mark Manders from the Dutch Pavilion.

lynette boake The art was pretty good, this painting above is by Lynette Yiadom Boakye, and I hope she’s going to win the next Turner prize. Her portraits are richly dark and atmospheric and are of invented people. You heard it here first.

biennale ginham This above outfit shouldn’t have worked; pink gingham trousers and shirt worn with pink duster coat? Sounds all wrong but perhaps inspired by the beautiful floral shrubbery, it did and she really looked great. And remember pink is coming at you fast for autumn

beinnale 07 Finally, while we were sat on the Zattere sipping a reviving negroni after a day of hard art-watching, this team of models arrived in front of us, awaiting directions from their photographer. None of them really qualified as ‘older’, but I loved what someone had done with their head scarves. In the heat you want to sweep your hair up and away from sweaty skin, a silk head-scarf turban looked a perfect way to achieve that.


  • jane gillard says:

    love the gingham!!!

  • Amanda says:

    It did kinda work well in the sunshine…I love gingham but I do struggle a bit with it head-to-toe…..Ax

  • Katy f says:

    Beautiful spotty dress. I can’t help noticing that all these women have good posture too.

  • Pamela says:

    Thank you for informing us/reminding us that dresses are the way to keep and look cool (in all senses of the word!). You only have to contrast those wearing dresses to the other women in your shots wearing shorts.

  • Amanda says:

    Posture and the power of a good dress….excellent style tips for dressing at all time of the year! A

  • Sue Korman says:

    Hi Amanda

    Great post – I just logged in to see if you had written anything about this topic.

    Do you have any pointers on ‘business casual’ for the boiling weather? Are there any designers or brands that get this right? I know it’s probably far too late for this summer … but it would be great to know where to find good, lined linen skirts, shift dresses silk t-shirts and so on in the future.

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