Osanna Visconti di Modrone and Kazunori Iwakura

Impeccably classic. The couple’s elegance is innate

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Osanna Visconti di Modrone and Kazunori Iwakura make quite an intriguing pair. Though Kazunori is from Japan and Visconti is from Italy, their innate sense of elegance and their passion for all things Italian  bring them together as ambassadors of Italian style. The eclectic designer Osanna creates her hand crafted collections in Italy. This year she celebrates the holidays with yoox.com by decorating our table with limited edition artwork in bronze.

Read Kazunori Iwakura’s interview >Watch Osanna Visconti di Modrone’s video >
Osanna Visconti di Modrone and Kazunori Iwakura



  • Kazunori Iwakura

  • Kazunori has been exporting the “made in Italy” concept to Japan since the 1970s. He has been the Japanese manager of design museum Triennale di Milano and was the first to organize a Japanese performance by the Teatro della Scala in 1981. He coordinated the Italian Festival in 2005, which focused on fashion, design and culinary art. Kazunori is all about Made in Italy…

    • Kazunori, you describe yourself as an ‘Italianist’ - someone who acts as a bridge between Japanese and Italian culture. How did your passion for Italy start?

    • I moved to Italy in 1970 because of my strong passion for theatre. My dream was to become a set designer. The Japanese Universities did not offer an education in that particular field so I had to decide to leave my country. However, after a couple of years, I realized that set design was not my true calling. My dream then became to unite different cultures on fashion and design. My love for the Western world was passed down to me by my family.

    • What do you most love about Italian culture?

    • Individualism. I come from Japan, a country that suffers from a totalitarian mentality.

    • How would you describe your career path?

    • I have been working in journalism, television, and theatre management. In the beginning of the Eighties, the Teatro alla Scala’s toured around Japan, I was with them. I called that the golden era of theater when I had the pleasure to meet the great orchestra director Claudio Abbado and Carlos Kleiber, the big soprano Mirella Freni and many others. I will always remember with great pleasure the day I met the magnificent Maria Callas in New York. I was so young!

    • What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words Italian Style?

    • Conviviality, sitting around a table and a unique way of eating a meal. In Italy, food is synonymous with creativity, passion, well-being and joy of sharing.

    • The perfect ingredient for the perfect dinner - the food or the guests?

    • Both are required for a perfect dinner. Italy and Japan are different in this sense; in Italy, if someone around the table is silent throughout the whole dinner, he or she becomes a quite ‘uncomfortable’ guest. In Japan, the guests are supposed to eat silently and chat only after the meal.

    • What is the conversation topic that always comes up during Italian dinners?

    • Politics. And I have to admit that it really bores me!

    • What is something you love about Italians?

    • Italy can look like a chaotic country. I learned something that I call the ‘Scala’ miracle. You never know what will happen until the curtains open. However, when they open and the show begins they are inimitable. For instance, EXPO 2015 is being held in Milan and nobody knows much about it. I am sure that will be successful but things get done at the last minute in Italy. Italians are able to make things extraordinary. Japanese people are quite the opposite as they do not approve of improvisation and spontaneity.

    • Will you be involved in the EXPO 2015?

    • I would like to. Milan is full of Chinese restaurants which serve sushi without any consideration of real Japanese culinary traditions. I would like to use this occasion to make Italians discover real Japanese cuisine.

    • You are one of YOOX’s food-loving Christmas dinner participants. What is your favorite Italian dish?

    • A well-made risotto. Also, I could never live without Culatello or Parmigiano, the one made from brown cows' milk. It is very hard to find and I always take some with me when I go back home.

    • How do you celebrate Christmas in Japan?

    • It is an important day in Japan, but it is a marketing holiday more than it is a religious one. My family always celebrates it with a big dinner and they like turkey - just like Americans! For me, Christmas is a great occasion to go back home and to spend time with my friends.

    • In our Christmas video you play the Simply Chic man. What are the rules for dressing elegantly?

    • I think there are two sides to elegance, one can be learnt and the other is more intuitive, and can be found in simple people. Lately, I have discovered innate elegance and it warms my heart.

    • An elegant garment you like to wear.

    • Nowadays, people are more casual. I love mixing styles, for example matching a tuxedo with some sneakers. However, there are some things I cannot do without – my bowtie and cufflinks.

    • What is it you like about the world of YOOX?

    • Back in 2000, I was introduced to the founder Federico Marchetti. I have since then kept in touch with him and even interviewed Federico for the Japanese lifestyle magazine Brutus. I have always assisted the group throughout the years but ultimately the company has been successful thanks to the ability of putting itself in the shoes of the customers.

15 November 2013
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