NEW YORK— Beatrice Borromeo is not just another model.
First, there’s her pedigree. Her family’s fortune was made in banking in 17th-century Florence, and her sister, Lavinia, just wed Fiat’s John Elkann, in Italy’s wedding of the year.
This story first appeared in the October 28, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Then there’s the fact that it was Anna Molinari, a family friend, who convinced her, at 15, to walk the runway. She’s since become the face of the designer’s Blue Girl campaign and has walked for everyone in Italy from Prada to Alberta Ferretti.
“She’s like a daughter to me,” says Molinari.
And, finally, what distinguishes Beatrice, who’s in her first year of university in Milan, is the simple issue that she’d much rather be reading Tolstoy and Baudelaire than modeling or acting.
“Modeling is not an aspiration of mine,” explained the 19-year-old beauty at a dinner for Molinari and her label, Blumarine, Tuesday night at the Rainbow Room. “I know [when I get older] I will have real work, not of an actress or a model.
“Tonight you see me wearing a beautiful dress, but I always go out wearing jeans,” Borromeo continued. “I’m always without makeup.”
The first time she worked a fashion show, she found it “completely strange.” But, with practice, now she finds it more natural. “I’m not worried about anything.”
Still, Borromeo said she’s always dreamed of becoming a lawyer, though she’s grown more interested in philosophy and literature since matriculating at school. “I love to write,” she adds. “I’m trying to start working for an Italian newspaper.” And, contrary to her better judgment, she’s also about to start filming her first movie. She can’t yet discuss the details, but she will say that she agreed to participate because of the director and the project’s wide scope.
As for spending time in New York — she traveled with Molinari and they stayed in the same hotel — Borromeo says she’d only purchased one item: a plain, blue baseball cap. She found time to go skating in Rockefeller Center: “It was amazing with the sun.”
But she’s still reeling from Lavinia’s wedding in August, which she calls one of the best days of her life. (Her sister, she says, lives half the time with her and half the time with Elkann.)
“When she got married, I was like a baby. I’m sure I was more emotional than her — I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t breathe,” Borromeo recalls. “People tried to talk to us, but we didn’t understand a single thing they were saying. Everybody in the family had a grin from here to here.”