Friday, April 20, 2012

How to Talk to a Playboy

I had an assignment to interview Lapo Elkann, the grandson of one of Fiat’s founders and a man known for, well, just about everything: drugs, transvestites, crazy wealth, being on best-dressed and sexiest lists, and so on.

This is so obviously my beat. I mean, don’t you think of me when it comes to Italian playboys?

Of course the obvious question was what to wear. I decided that since I was in China, where there are no rules, not even for a Women’s Wear Daily stringer, I would bling it up.

Okay, I mean bling it up the way a middle-aged small-town girl who’s possibly gained a few pounds since eating her way across China and much of Asia can bling it up.

Here’s what I wore: a cute LBD from Talbots, a tiny bit form-fitting but as long as I didn’t breathe when I looked in the mirror, I think it worked. Black tights. Black Nine West pumps with a giant buckle on the top that I call my Minnie Mouse shoes. A cute pearl bracelet, courtesy Susie.

And to top it off, my piece de resistance: a sheepswool jacket with a dramatic fur collar, found in the Coxsackie, N.Y. antiques center. Smokin.

As I walked out to grab a taxi, pick up the photographer, and make my way to the art district of Beijing, I did get a few looks. But getting looks in China is more the norm than the exception, even in an expat-centric part of town, so I didn’t mind.

The interview went well. Lapo (he told me to call him Lapo), kissed me on both cheeks in greeting and in farewell, sat close enough that I could smell the smoke from his favorite Marlboros on his breath, and seemed impressed with my outfit, even if he didn’t say so directly.

Lapo wore a pale blue suit and white shoes, making me feel just a bit somber. I guess I could have gone even further on the bling.

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