Monday, September 28, 2009

Uno Bello Uomo

The Divine Italian's father passed away unexpectedly this past weekend.
(Francesco Giramonti, 1932-2009)

We just saw him in August when he came down from San Francisco to visit us and we spent a wonderful two days with him. When he left, I wrote up a blog post about his stay with us, but never published it and I'm so sorry I didn't, because I know he would have been tickled. I do so now.

(Written August 8th)
The one and only Francesco ("Nino" to his legions of friends) paid us the honor of a visit to Hollywood this past weekend. We were thrilled. The man transports a bit of "la dolce vita" with him everywhere he goes.

Nino is in firm possession of his birthright: inimitable Veronese style. Piero and I have always considered him to be 50% Rossano Brazzi, 50% Marcello Mastroianni.
(Nino with sons Roberto (l.) and Piero (r.), 1970's)

Here he is holding Piero at his christening. Look at the cut of that suit. The Sartorialist would approve, don't you think? Piero's mother Adriana is the one stifling a giggle on his immediate right.
(San Francisco, 1964)

In the photo below, a dapper Nino is trying to coax a rebellious Piero back into the car where he will presumably roll around unharnessed on the back seat. (Remember those days?) I love the bold red scarf with the classic trench coat and of course, the over-the-shoulder camera/man bag is beyond.
(Piero and Nino, late 1960's)

Like a true Italian, Nino always cut a "bella figura" no matter what decade it was. Here he is in the 1970's, deep into a "Streets-of-San-Francisco-meets-Casino" style.
(Nino, 1970's)

I love this next photo of a garden party in Rome at Piero's aunt's house because it exemplifies everything I adore about my in-laws' chic, informal style. Nino is the one walking away from the camera, in the white jeans and green Lacoste.
(Roman holiday, 1970's)

Ti amiamo, Nino!
(Nino and Luca, 2008)


(Written September 27th)
When Nino was 49, he underwent a quadruple bypass and nearly didn't survive. After his recovery, he stopped smoking, rededicated himself to exercise and spent his last decades living with renewed zeal and energy. He did everything con passione, whether it was playing competitive tennis, mountainbiking on Mount Tamalpais, preparing a six-course feast, or debating the fine points of any and all subjects. Even loading the dishwasher became a task he raised to an art form -- he had his own highly choreographed method and tolerated no renegade volunteers. Food was the stuff of life to him. He was always there to pick us up at the airport and, after a courteous inquiry about our flight, would spend the remainder of the drive back to his house discussing what he would cook for us.

Everywhere he went, people looked at Nino twice. He was old-school cool, the kind that's in short supply these days. He had a gorgeous capuccino brown 1984 Mercedes 500SL that I drove for a spell and whenever I was behind that wheel, let me tell you, I felt like the star in my own private Fellini movie. From him I learned that while dressing well is important, real elegance comes from within, that a tidy kitchen is the key to a well-run life, and that a commitment to healthy eating shouldn't forgo having a little ice cream in the freezer.

We will miss him tremendously.

53 comments:

ArchitectDesign™ said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Important and influential family & friends will always be a part of us.

Jane said...

Hi Lisa
That is a really lovely tribute you captured his personality very well. I adore the men of that generation. They are something else. And that style. It's in their genes. Lovely to be positive in this time of sadness.

Style Court said...

Lisa, I agree with Stefan and Jane, a beautiful tribute.

It sounds like your father in law's strong spirit will always be with you. What a wonderful man (and grandfather I imagine too) . I'm so sorry for your loss.

Julie Anne Rhodes said...

Oh Lisa I'm so very sorry for your loss. I see where your husband inherited the "divine" from... your words make me feel like I knew your father-in-law too..what a lovely tribute.

pve design said...

Lisa,
My condolences to your family. Oh, what a man of style and grace.
(how proud he would be of your post.)
I love his name ~Nino.
pve

sherry ♥ lee said...

What a beautiful tribute you've written. Nino was an amazing man from all you've shared. And very cool beyond cool. Even in his later years.

Sending you, your husband and family sympathies and thoughts of warm memories on your loss of this icon of your family.

Mrs. Blandings said...

So lucky that your son got to know him; he'll long be another model of what men should be.

Bart Boehlert said...

Lisa,
I'm sending my condolences to you and yours.
A beautiful post.
A very chic group.
BB

Melissa said...

Beautiful post - I especially love the photos.

So sorry for your loss.

tartanscot said...

Lisa,

I'm so sorry to hear of your family's loss. Please know that my thoughts are with you.

Scot

Susan said...

lovely post--I feel like I knew your father in law.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Thank you so much, all of you, for your kind thoughts at this difficult time. I know Piero will be incredibly touched by your words of condolence. I so appreciate EACH and EVERY one of you. xxxx

Blue said...

My condolences on the loss of one who clearly was a good father, father-in-law and grandfather. I wish you and your husband strength in the coming days.

Ashfield Hansen Design Inc. said...

What a beautiful way to remember this (obviously) wonderful man!

My thoughts are with your family.
David @ Ashfield Hansen

VictoriaArt said...

Lisa,
how sad... and how lovingly you discribe him, his style and nature.
The memories of such a wonderful man will surly be a great comfort to you and your family.
My deepest sympathies to you all in your mourning.

Victoria Zlotkowski

Laura [What I Like] said...

What a gorgeous post, your father in law sounds the most wonderful man. And I daresay, your husband seems to have inherited many of his enviable qualities. One of those small comforts one can take in times of sadness this like I suppose.

MEADE DESIGN GROUP said...

Really sorry for your loss. Great tribute to a great man!

Calimyrna Moon said...

I believe the Divine Nino has read and deeply appreciated your post and is now sharing it proudly with all the other classy men who have welcomed him into heaven. Love is forever.

balsamfir said...

I'm adding my condolences to you, your husband and son. Your tribute makes clear your family's joy in his good qualities.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

He sounds like such a wonderful spirit to have had in your life. You have given him a lovely tribute here. My heartfelt sympathy to you both.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Lisa-

God Bless you and your family.

I love the photos that capture a life well-lived with a loving family. Such style! Roman Holiday--not a care in the world.

It's glorious to see these family photos of a happy life.

So pleased you wrote these glowing words.

thoughts are with you, www.thestylesaloniste.com

the sweet life with olives said...

my deepest sympathy and warm thoughts extend to you and your family. your father-in-law looked every bit the dapper italian stallion. when you type about your hubby it's clear that your love is deep and colorful and reading now about his father it's clear to see where he might have picked up many of his positive attributes... especially in the kitchen?! may he rest in peace.

C.T. said...

My condolences to your whole family dear Lisa. To survive a quadruple bypass when he was 49 and to live life at the fullest after that, is a great gift (for him and your family). But.....it still and it will always be too early to leave behind the ones he loved and the ones who loved him. What a wonderful wonderful man, father and grandfather he was. My heart, love and support for you and your family, X, Carmela.

Rocio said...

Dear Lisa,
It is a beautiful homage to your father in law, and I am sure he is probably smiling at you from above right this minute.
Think how lucky you are to have shared so much with him. You will have incredible memories to cherish for years to come, and Luca will learn from you what an extraordinary man his grandfather was.
A big warm hug for all of you, especially Piero.
Rocio

A Super Dilettante said...

My deepest condolences, Lisa. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I would have liked to meet your father in law. I'm sure he would be greatly missed.

Pigtown-Design said...

I am so sorry for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful man. My thoughts are with you.

penelope said...

well said. what a beautiful man. my condolences to all of your family.....

Gruvkitty said...

Hi Lisa,
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. What a lovely tribute! And what a lovely man. Our thoughts are with you and your divine family. xoxo

AlwaysMe said...

So sorry to read about your loss. How fortunate you were to have such a charming father-in-law. How wonderful too that your son had a chance to know him and through you will remember what a special soul he was.

Pimm's and Lemonade said...

What a lovely tribute. I can just see him beaming.

The great thing is you will ALWAYS be surrounded by his love.

Will keep Piero and all of you in my prayers.

jezebel said...

Such beauty in your homage, LBG. All my thoughts of peace and healing for you and yours.

jeff suhy said...

the suhys love you guys....so sorry.

plaisirs simples said...

i'm so sorry for your loss. i read this post with such interest as he seems to have been an incredible man that lived the type of life i hope to....with appreciation for the simple things, and style, and grace. the photos are beautiful heirlooms too. deepest sympathies.

home before dark said...

So sorry for your loss. It looks like you have enjoyed the Divine Trinity. May his memory live on in each of youl

Helen James said...

so sorry to hear that news. What a lovely post about him. -Helen

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

I feel very, very lucky to be surrounded by such heartfelt thoughts from all of you. Again, thank you from our whole family.

Susan's Snippets said...

Lisa -

I finally popped back to your blog today and was saddened to read the news. I send my sympathies to each of you.

double triple boo hoo

Louise said...

A portrait of a well-lived life!

flwrjane said...

what a lovely eulogy. my partner's father's partner passed away last tuesday. i wanted to write about her but didn't know if it was done. clearly it can be with such a delicate touch as yours. thank you.

Tricia said...

The photo of Nino and Luca is priceless. How fortunate you are to have co-mingled such lush backgrounds into the one-and-only Luca. My condolences.

Rilkean Heart said...

Condolences to the Giramonti Family. He sounded like a wonderful man.

larab said...

So sad to hear but such a lovely blog post. Love to you and the family.

Lara

Simply Colette said...

Just stumbled upon your blog. What a great tribute post. Handsome man. I love you blog style. :)

Melissa A. said...

So sorry for your loss. I am new to your blog and just happened to click over here today. It was a very captivating read about Nino's life and he sure was a handsome man. I like those old pictures.

richspen said...

My condolences to you and your family.

Susan said...

From Earth, a bright light may have been snuffed and yet..."I wonder whether the stars are set alight in heaven so that one day each one of us may find his own again..."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

My deepest sympathy,
Susan S

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Sincere condolences on your family's loss.

It is our gain, in a strange way, as we now get to meet the man. An elegant gesture he would have appreciated, I'm sure.

laurakitty said...

This post brought a tear to my eye- everything you wrote was so evocative and such a testament to an obviously wonderful man.

Lisa said...

I know you've been through alot emotionally as of late but this has got to be the worst. Please convey to your husband my deepest sympathy on the unexpected loss of his father. My husband lost his too and I personally can not fathom the loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family at this time.

Your tribute to your late father-in-law was magnifico.

Prairie Girl Studio said...

what a most adoring homage to a man who will always be loved, cherish and remembered ~ thank you for sharing a bit of him with us so we might know the colourful life he lived and the beautiful legacy he leaves in his family ...
it is hard to say goodbye to someone so loved ~ every day i think of my dad who left us nearly two years ago ~ may your many memories hug your hearts and warm you so ...
sincerely,
prairiegirl xo

Anonymous said...

You are right about that kind of cool. He clearly had it. Just jumps out the photos. All the best to your family.

Jessica said...

Lisa,

What beautiful photos of a beautiful life! His elegance and love for life (and your lovely tribute) are inspiring. And it is so wonderful that your family was able to see him this summer. I am so sorry for your loss.

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