On Food + Fashion: Girasole + Gardell Designs

by Abby DiBenedetto | Photographs by Cayla Zahoran

I had been looking forward to this lunch for a long time, not just because of the delicious food I knew I was going to enjoy (Girasole is one of my favorite restaurants!), but because of my company. Graciana Fennell and Patti Gerasole are two successful —not to mention super stylish — business women that I admire and look up to. Along with her family, Patti runs Girasole Restaurant (one of the most esteemed Italian restaurants in Pittsburgh) and Graciana owns her own jewelry studio, Gardell Designs, where she designs and hand crafts her one-of-a-kind jewelry. I could not wait to sit down with these two women, discussing food, fashion, and the correlation between the two.

On November 14, 2012, Girasole will partner with Gardell by Graciana for a pre-holiday open house at Gardell, celebrating the studio’s seventh anniversary.

On Food + Fashion: Girasole + Gardell Designs

From left to right: Graciana Fennell, WHIRL’s Abby DiBenedetto, Patti Gerasole.


How would you each describe your personal sense of style?

Patti: Mostly, I adapt my style to fit the needs of what I’m doing. I love long dresses and high heels, but I can’t wear them while working in the restaurant. I like pieces that are a bit different in some way — that have a little flair — whimsical mixed with artistic. And, no matter what I’m wearing, I always accessorize.

Graciana: My personal style is best described as chic elegance with a modern edge. Patti, do you have any advice for dressing according to where you dine?

Patti: In a casual setting, shorts, jeans, and T-shirts should be acceptable. If dining in an upscale restaurant, definitely pull out all of the stops. Glam it up with body conscious sheaths, heels, jewelry, and a great purse!


Graciana, how did you start designing jewelry?

Graciana is wearing a collection of bracelets made of tiger’s eye, diamonds, 18K gold, pyrite, and matte hematite. Prices vary from $190-$400. | Pictured here: Girasole’s Pasta Bruco in a pomodoro-truffle sauce with mushrooms, rosemary, and mascarpone.

Graciana: Jewelry design has been my passion from when I was a teenager. When I was 25 years old, I lived in Milan, Italy, while working as a pediatrician for the University of Milan. I was constantly admiring the fabulous Italian jewelry designs and dreaming of how great it would be to become a designer! I started designing 10 years ago after attending a Gem Show in Tucson, Ariz. Eight years ago, my line was sold by Choices on Walnut Street and I finally opened my first showroom seven years ago.


What’s next for Girasole and Gardell Designs?

Patti: We have a special wine dinner coming up on November 5, featuring an award-winning sommelier who ran some of the best wine cellars in the country, from Lespinasse at the St. Regis in NYC to The Lodge at Pebble Beach in San Francisco. Graciana is gearing up to celebrate her shop’s seventh anniversary.
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On balancing food + fashion:

“Fabulous fashion and fantastic food both require the balance or blending of tastes, textures, color, contrasts, and design. Finding the perfect balance in a dish is similar to finding the perfect balance in an outfit.” —Patti Gerasole


What Abby’s wearing:

Earrings by Gardell by Graciana, 24K gold and diamonds, price upon request. AG Ponte Stretch Jeans, $130, e.b. Pepper. Elizabeth & James Maroon Rabbit Fur Coat, $910, e.b. Pepper. Magaschoni Charcoal Cashmere Sweater, $230, e.b. Pepper.


Gardell by Graciana, 5413a Walnut St., Shadyside. 412.682.2120. gardelldesigns.com.
Girasole, 733 Copeland St., Shadyside. 412.682.2130. 733copeland.com.
e.b. Pepper, 5411 Walnut St., Shadyside. 412.683.3815.


This article is featured in the November 2012 issue of WHIRL Magazine.
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