Nina is 38 years old, lives with Alberto and their two children Zeno and Luna, and is an architect. She dreams of opening her own studio, in the meantime she is trying to make ends meet with work and family but she doesn’t always succeed. Her greatest fear is that of failing in her relationship with her children and, at the same time, that of losing credibility at work. But she doesn’t stop believing in love. As a woman she often feels inadequate compared to the standards imposed by society and social media “fit, fashionable, sexy, career, perfect mother and lover”; she therefore looks for situations in which she can remain herself, be calm and make mistakes lightly. Her best friend is Carla. #believer


May, 26

Someone said “fashion is like architecture, it’s all about proportions”. Was it Coco Chanel? Nina repeats it to herself every day, while driving to work, or at the airport, and takes a deep breath silently inhaling the smell of the sweater her friend Carla bought for her many years ago, before everything changed in their lives. She often puts it on before leaving, to always feel at home.

Then, at the red light, she lets go of the wheel and pulls down her baggy cuffs, now deformed by time, to cover her hands. Proportions, well, in that sweater no longer exist. That involuntary gesture they made as young girls, today is a search for protection and a familiar place that somehow reminds her who Nina really is.

“Fashion is like architecture, it’s all about proportions”, she repeats it like a mantra, to bring order to the chaos in her head, in search of that harmony that she loves and has studied so much. A harmony that does not seem to exist for a career mother.

“Where are these proportions, eh Coco?”, she whispers, while she sees in the mirror the empty baby seats, and feels an emptiness in her stomach. That’s how she feels, every time she leaves for work.

Where are these proportions when it comes to someone who’s a woman and a mother?



June, 17

Nina opens her diary and smiles, the Emilian countryside darts by the train window under a beautiful sun. She has always liked the train, it gives her a sense of security. As she rests her forehead on the window, and lets herself be cradled by the vibrations and warmth, her hand holds the diary open, as if closing it won’t make her plans come true.

She’s going home.

Under her fingers, on the date May 16, she has written a big “HOME”. Surrounded by a pink circle. She always does it, even if she’s away just for two days, enlarging the exact moment in which she will be able to strip off the Nina who deceives the world with her fake confidence. The other Nina, striving to realize the dream of opening her own architecture studio – a concentrated, balanced, great lover of art, and at the same time capable mother and confident lover – and finally showing herself for what she is, as soon as she takes off her coat, lets go of the trolley in a corner, pushes off her shoes with her feet, throws the keys into the plate of wood, and says

“Here I am”

Here she is. Full of love, she doesn’t know where to direct it, of fear of never being up to it, of apologies in the eyes for Zeno, Luna, and Alberto, her life partner. She looks at him as she hugs her children, they tell each other everything without saying anything, and she finally feels at home.



July, 17

She’s been home for a month. Right now, she feels good as a mother: she takes care of the small details, organizes get-togethers with friends and children, manages things which had been postponed for months, but above all she is in their routine – breakfasts, games, swimming pool, she and Alberto on the sofa while Zeno and Luna chase each other.

The Nina-woman, on the other hand, is worried as always that she is not doing enough to open her studio. She feels the days spiraling out of control, never enough hours and too much work. Now, while waiting for Carla on a bench, ready to go and see an exhibition on Yvonne Rainer and her The Man Who Envied Women, she is on Laura Ferri’s Instagram profile. A young freelance journalist who collaborates with a fashion magazine and whom she will meet tomorrow morning for an interview about her company.

12,000 followers, environmentalist, she is not even twenty-five years, thinks Nina. She’s looking at her photos with that pinch of envy she always has when she’s on social media. It seems to her that everyone is freer than her, more beautiful than her, more focused than her. Deep down, she knows it’s not right to think like that. But she always finds in others what she lacks, she has done it since she entered adolescence and high school was clearly divided into “those who could and those who could not”. She hasn’t stopped since then. So, while she thinks about tomorrow morning’s interview and looks at the stories of a girl who seems strong and free, she already knows that she will have to let out the “other” Nina: the one feeling (or pretending to feel) self-confident, in a way which even surprises herself. 

And like every time she feels she needs it, as if these embroidered words between her shoulders became her own skin, she will wear her fearless shirt.