When Villager Gianna Ragona-Suarez visited her favourite café on Rome’s Through Veneto a few years in the past earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, she lamented at how completely different it was from the “outdated days.”
The waiter requested, “What can I get you?”
Gianna launched right into a dialog about “Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton sitting to the appropriate, and Paul Newman over there, and…”
“What can I get you?” requested the bored waiter once more.
“He didn’t care in any respect about the way it was,” she laughs. “He simply wished my drink order.”
Gianna began off within the “star” enterprise doing bit roles in movies being shot in Rome. Then she started designing clothes for in style music teams within the mid-Nineteen Sixties. Her first massive group was The Lovin’ Spoonful, well-known for hits like “Summer season within the Metropolis” and “Do You Imagine in Magic.”
Costume design started with getting contained in the group. “Feeling their vibe,” as Gianna describes it. To get the vibe she traveled and socialized with the group.
At first, the group didn’t just like the sketches and concepts, so Gianna ordered skins from Asia, minimize and sewed them into vests with fringes and designs painted on the leather-based. Then, they preferred what they noticed.
“With The Spoons it was very easy,” Gianna recollects. “Their music spoke of bell backside trousers and leather-based vests.”
Touring with the band additionally meant assembly different headliners. One night time in France, as she was internet hosting the Spoons and their file firm executives in her suite, there was a knock on the door and three of the 4 Beatles (Ringo was MIA) confirmed as much as hold with them, enjoying one another’s music and telling tales by way of the night time. Because the solar was rising, John Lennon steered that all of them go down and stand within the Mediterranean to get pleasure from the brand new day.
Proving that the six-degree rule applies, Gianna reminded John Lennon that her pal, Helen Anderson, with whom she roomed in Rome whereas enjoying the bit components in films, went to artwork faculty with him in Liverpool. A number of years later, Helen invited Gianna to accompany her on a go to to Cynthia Lennon in Wales. (Cynthia and John had divorced by this time).
“Cynthia wasn’t very nice to me,” Gianna recollects. “I assume I represented the enemy – American – John was residing with Yoko in New York at the moment.”
So, she spent a lot of her go to with younger Julian Lennon.
“He had posters of his father throughout his bed room partitions and a guitar his father had given him,” she says.
Later within the ’60s, Gianna operated her personal clothes boutique on 52nd Road in Manhattan.
“It was a hangout for leisure trade folks. Individuals like Liza Minnelli – she’d assist out serving to clients when issues obtained busy. All people was smoking pot. All you needed to do was stroll into my store and breathe to get excessive,” she says.
Nevertheless it was the burnout observe.
“I’d end work round eight and we’d all go to Studio 54 or one of many discos till the wee hours, and by 10 within the morning I’d be again at my stitching machine and begin throughout,” she says.
In 1971, she’d had sufficient.
“I locked the door, known as the owner, advised him ‘I’m not coming again, you may have the stock, I don’t need it,’” she says.
She joined Halston (well-known because the designer of Jackie Kennedy’s “pillbox” hat) as assistant designer. Then she married and had two kids.
“We lived on E. 62nd Road in Manhattan, which is a fairly first rate neighborhood,” she says. “Then, at some point when my son was about 10 months outdated, I noticed a discarded hypodermic needle within the sand. I freaked out.”
The household moved to Greenwich, Conn., and remained there till the youngsters completed highschool.
On a visit to Italy along with her husband, their automobile was rear-ended. The consequence was persistent again and neck ache. Then, her husband died on a enterprise journey.
Gianna was devastated. A pal steered yoga, which modified her life.
“The migraines melted away and I felt renewed and lighter in spirit,” she says.
Gianna started learning to be an teacher in 1997, educating anyplace she may throw down a mat. In the meantime she labored within the monetary trade, placing her kids by way of faculty. After they graduated, she set off for India, the place she traced the 4,700-year historical past of yoga and took further coaching to change into licensed as a yogi. She then grew to become a full-time yogi.
Gianna’s first studio was on Amelia Island and, after six years there, she moved to The Villages, the place she teaches yoga privately and Italian on the Enrichment Academy.
Her guide, “Cosmic Readings for Hatha Yoga,” is a morning/night inspirational work with readings and illustrations specializing in a necessary or fundamental yoga pose for every week for a 12 months. The readings and meditations are borrowed from sources similar to The Buddha, The Dalai Lama and Gianna’s personal authentic writings. The guide is offered on Amazon.
Gianna’s subsequent journey – submit pandemic – is to return to Italy.
“We spent a number of weeks at a villa in Sicily in 2019 – my daughter and her husband and two grandkids. And a few of the folks in my Italian class right here have requested if I’d lead an Italian tour for them. However we aren’t going to Rome,” she says adamantly. “The large cities are filled with vacationers. Rome has misplaced its glamor. The place is stuffed with graffiti.”
Gianna has some plans for what she’s going to do.
“We’re going to remain at farm BnBs, decide grapes and olives, have breakfast outdoors below a pergola, go to a Greek temple,” she says. “I’m going again to Sicily the place life is prefer it was 40 years in the past! I inform my college students – if you wish to go to Rome, you’ll should go with out me.”