Veranda, Elements of Style, June 2016
In the Branca tribe - painter Anna Chiara, 80, interior designer Alessandra, 57, and antiques buyer Anna Lucia Uihlein, 26- a lover\ of art history is second nature, style reference are indelibly Italian, and the multi-generational exchange is as flush as the Tiber. "Nonna will come downstairs wearing full '60s cut-crease eye shadow in purple and make it look like everyone should still be doing it," says Anna Lucia.
Though they now live in Chicago (Alessandra), Laguna Beach, California (Anna Chiara), and New York (Anna Lucia), the family's roots are Roman: Anna Chiara's father was an art critic for the Vatican newspaper and a Raphael expert; as a girl, she tagged along on trips to St. Peter's. The concept of bella figura is deeply ingrained. "Looking is the main Italian sport," says Anna Chiara, "so you put yourself together before you go out." The women, who all work for Alessandra's design firm, approach that task in diverse, if symbiotic, ways.
Anna Chiara is a bohemian in smocks and Cleopatra eyes; preppy Alessandra has a decorator's eclecticism, mixing J. Crew, Chanel, and Moroccan beads; and Anna Lucia falls in between, raiding her mother's closet for '90s Gucci blouses she pairs with jeans. "It's dressing the way you live," says Alessandra, "pulling things from the world and creating something special."