An American in Milano
By Richard Carroll
Standing 6 feet tall in her bare feet, strikingly attractive and with a relaxing glow of self-confidence and the posture and demeanor of a former fashion model, Celia Abernethy is an expat from Long Island, New York, who is enjoying an ongoing love affair with Milano and the city of Lecco, her Lake Como home. The ideal travel consultant and itinerary designer for Milan and Lake Como, she offers remarkable assistance to visitors from all over the world.
Discovered by a modeling agency at age 16, Abernethy had her modeling career up and running right after she graduated from high school. She first came to Milan as a fashion model and was successful in the challenging world of fashion for some 10 years, working the fashion trail in London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Tokyo, New York and Milan, among other cities.
After years of being featured in magazines, fashion shows, catalogs and showrooms that featured the fashion houses of Valentino, Gucci, Yves St. Laurent, Yohji Yamamoto, Krizia and Dior, as well as being a fitting model for Milan's own Giorgio Armani, Abernethy was told when she was just 25 that she was too old for modeling. The dramatic edict from a business she loved was heart-rending, but ironically it was a positive life-changer.
She sadly bid the runway adieu and turned her thoughts toward what would be next. Her mind racing in countless directions, she even contemplated returning to the United States -- a move her caring father was extremely happy to consider -- but the charms of Milan and Lake Como were an overwhelming influence. Appreciating the essence of quality and detail from her years in the demanding fashion industry, Abernethy enrolled in graphic design courses where she put her intelligence, near-photographic memory, and writing and photography skills to good use before working for a web design company and becoming immersed in the computer.
When she met her husband-to-be, it was love at first sight, and they were married three years later.
"My life here in Milano and Lake Como is astonishing," she said. "My father visited me for a few days and said, 'I see why you decided to stay.'"
After years of answering questions for friends and visitors about where to eat and where to go along with inquiries about fashion, antiques, architecture, nightlife, the possibility of a marriage ceremony in Lake Como and more, she made a decision.
"I decided to organize the details of both destinations with specific itineraries and publish Milanostyle.com to keep readers updated," she said.
With her high profile on the internet, outgoing personality and fluency in Italian, Abernethy has hundreds of contacts and friends.
"I realized that many visitors were bypassing key aspects of Milano and Lake Como," she said. "I'm not a tour guide, but I can open doors to both destinations with itineraries to specific requests with added questions. For instance, in Lake Como with its immense fabric of sky and water, visitors should first book the Taxi Boat Varenna motorboats for a stunning overview of Lake Como, then explore landside with lunch or dinner at Hotel Il Perlo Panorama with a spectacular view and an award-winning chef. Lecco, where I live, is also overlooked by Lake Como visitors. I've found it's important to break through the popular facade of destinations such as Milano and Lake Como and discover what's beneath."
WHEN YOU GO
For information: www.milanostyle.com
Richard Carroll is a freelance writer. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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