I met Allison, the designer behind the leather accessories brand Officina del Poggio (ODP), like I meet many of my favorite people lately – on Instagram. A fellow American living in Italy (she calls the gorgeous hills of Bologna home), she is a breath of fresh air, extremely stylish, ambitious, funny, and brilliant – before transitioning into luxury accessories she performed internationally as a classic pianist. She moved to Italy to complete an internship towards her Masters in Arts at the prestigious Bologna Opera house. Having fallen in love with Italy, she remained in Bologna and worked as a marketer for various Italian organizations. She got her fashion break in product development with an American designer working in Italy and has steadily built up a design and development consultancy ever since. Last February she added designer to her own collection of professional hats when she launched ODP. She describes the range of “Gemini” satchels (they are double faced to provide a work side and a play side) and totes, as the bags that “you always go back to,” rather than “it” bags. Inspired by vintage cars, motorcycles, and industrial hardware, the collection has been met with great enthusiasm from everyone who lays eyes on its clean lines, classic shapes and supple leather offering. It was precisely that positive feeling for the line that lead Neal Preston, the legendary music photographer, to offer to shoot campaign imagery after meeting Allison and seeing the bags on a flight to LA a few months ago. Wow, right? Goes to show what a lot of dedication, clear vision, talent and a little bit of luck can achieve. Now please enjoy getting to know Allison and discovering Officina del Poggio.
Name: Allison Nicole Hoeltzel
Occupation: Creator of Officina del Poggio and consultant in leather goods product development and management.
Passion: My family and friends, my french bulldog and dogs in general, traveling, fashion.
Hometown: Corpus Christi, Texas
Current Town: Bologna, Italy
Favorite Cities: Bologna, Austin, Tokyo, Los Angeles
Favorite place to shop in those cities:
Bologna: Folli Follie, Supperclub, Castiglione 5, L’inde Palais, La Ferramenta and Fabrizio Cocchi.
Austin: Kick Pleat, By George, Stag, and the vintage stores around South Congress.
Tokyo: Tokyo Hands, Anglobal, Journal Standard, Edition, and Atmos for sneakers.
Los Angeles: Heist, Tenoversix, Mohawk General Store, and shops on West 3rd.
Favorite place to dine in those cities:
Bologna: Quanto Basta, Becco di Legno (especially during truffle season), and the tigelle from Zerocinquantino.
Austin: Franklin Barbecue, Hopdoddy, Elizabeth Street Cafe, Torchy’s Tacos, and of course Amy’s Ice Cream.
LosAngeles: Poolside dining at the Beverly Hills Hotel is always a must, because it is just classic LA and because they serve the Eggs Benedict all day.
Tokyo: Kanda and Aoyama Flower Market Tea House. For a drink I love the Walk-in Mod bar in Ginza for the deco decor and the novelty of how small the place is.
Favorite Breakfast: Cappuccino and Croissant – classic Italian breakfast, eaten while standing at the bar.
Favorite Breakfast spot: My parents’ home in Texas. There is nothing like waking up to the coffee brewing and a good chat with my mom and dad.
What’s your beauty routine: A few drops of Argan oil, BB cream with a high SPF, loose powder, lots of mascara, lip balm and matte lipsticks in bold colors.
Skin: I love Santa Maria Novella products, mostly because I love purchasing them at the amazing store in Florence and the packaging is so beautiful. I use their Skin Tonic on my face and splash Acqua Soave on my body (amazing scents, but they also leave my skin soft). I use Argan oil and Shea Butter because they are versatile all-over products. My best friend who has amazing skin told me her secret of dabbing little vaseline around her eyes, so I always try to remember to do that.
Where do you cut your hair? Gabriele Grillini, here in Bologna.
Where do you shop? I shop a lot online (Net-a-Porter and Yoox), as am pretty specific on things I want or need, or look for unique stores when I travel. I also have a great seamstress so I am always taking her fabrics and pictures of things to copy.
Describe your style: I don’t think I have a specific style but dress more how I feel that day. Sometimes I am very street and casual, some days I like to really dress up. I like to be creative with fashion but also always have to be comfortable.
What are your favorite brands: Carven, APC, Acne, Isabel Marant, Rachel Comey, Jcrew, Cos, Fiorentini&Baker boots. For any splurges: Lanvin and Valentino.
Any style rules? It is better to be overdressed than underdressed, but always be comfortable. Other than that I don’t like rules.
Favorite poet: Robert Frost, mainly for the poem “The Road Not Taken.”
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Favorite season: Late Spring, right before summer.
Favorite place: Home in the hills of Bologna. I honestly think I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and feel lucky every time I come home.
Favorite texture: Vacchetta leather. I love the way it is smooth but ages over time and every little flaw tells a story.
Favorite color: Red, because it always makes a statement.
“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.” From A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
It is important to enjoy every moment and every place, because it may not be possible to return.
Favorite artist: Gauguin for his use of bright colors and how his works are so varied, inspired from his travels
Favorite fragrance: Fresh cut hay, not really because of a specific memory but it reminds me of visiting my grandparents who were farmers and also my sister who has horses.
Favorite Decade: I go through phases but right now I am really loving the 70s because of the fashion: pantsuits, disco attire, denim.
Favorite Planet: Earth, because everything I love is here.
Favorite Flower: Red Amaryllis, because they are bold and red and my husband gave them to me when we first started dating.
What do you do before you go to bed? Kiss my husband good night and tell him I love him, or if I am traveling I text him the same.