For over six years, W‘s Contributing Fashion Editor Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert has entertained readers with her cheeky, fashion- and travel-filled monthly W page Gio’s Journal. With her new book Gio_Graphy: Fun in the Wild World of Fashion (Rizzoli), out this fall, Gio offers a more in-depth look at her playful, always elegant worldview. Part tongue-in-cheek guide, part dispatch from her chic adventures, Gio_Graphy offers advice most readers never knew they needed, like how to navigate the toilet while wearing a ballgown, and the stories behind her beautiful Instagram feed images, including what it was like to attend a presidential state dinner in Giorgio Armani couture. “There are certain things I had never talked about because I work with images and clothes. They don’t speak,” Gio explains. “This is the world through my eyes, like a ‘Gio’ filter.” Case in point: this shoot, which Gio organized on the fly, with some of her closest friends.
“My younger sister, Sara [far right], and I have dressed alike for theme parties and Halloween since we were kids—usually, I do the styling. When I moved to America and took on the nickname Bat Gio, naturally, we became the Bat Sisters. Since Bat Gio was inspired by my love of Batman, I thought the Bat Sisters should look like superheroes who are saving the world from fashion tragedies!”
Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert wears a Brandon Maxwell dress; Philip Treacy London mask; Cartier watch (right wrist). Sara Battaglia wears an Alexander Wang bodysuit; Philip Treacy London mask; Manolo Blahnik shoes.
“When it comes to fashion, red always reads as strong, positive, and bold. So of course, I chose Lauren Santo Domingo to demonstrate its effect. You need personality and a great smile to pull off red, and she has both.”
Above: Lauren Santo Domingo wears a Giambattista Valli dress; Altuzarra shoes.
“To me, glittering clothes count as sensible neutrals.”
Left: Battaglia Engelbert wears a Rochas dress; Engelbert ring (right hand); Giuseppe Zanotti boots.
“Who better to illustrate my love of color than an array of women who are all energetic and fun and bright in their own ways?”
Clockwise from top left: Aurélie Bidermann wears a Gucci dress. Laure Heriard Dubreuil wears an Attico dress. Missoni wears a Missoni dress and boa. Battaglia wears a Sara Battaglia top and pants. Artemis Baltoyanni wears an Ashish top and pants; Laurence Dacade shoes.
“Margherita Missoni, in particular, is basically the personification of a rainbow for me in the way she dresses and lives.”
Margherita Missoni wears a Missoni dress; Shourouk earring.
“My inner British countryside old lady–slash–Palm Beach doyenne comes out in my love of flowers. In another life, I could totally have been a florist. Eugenie Niarchos looks like an exotic botanical specimen posing on the sofa.”
Eugenie Niarchos wears an Erdem top and pants; Gucci umbrella; Venyx earrings, necklaces, and rings; Aquazzura shoes.
“Alexia Niedzielski, Noor Fares, and Eugenie [right, from left] all have this really romantic, sweet beauty that reminds me of the magical whimsy of a flower-filled garden.”
From left: Niedzielski wears a Gucci dress. Fares wears a Valentino dress. Niarchos wears an Erdem top and pants; Gucci umbrella.
“When two women show up to a party in the same dress, it’s usually considered a faux pas. I have a positive take on it: You immediately have a built-in party pal (and maybe you make a new friend!). Bianca Brandolini d’Adda is the perfect person to twin with me because not only are we both tall Italian brunettes, but we also tend to like the same outfits!”
Right: Bianca Brandolini d’Adda wears an Altuzarra dress; Cartier watch (left wrist); her own bracelets. Battaglia Engelbert wears an Altuzarra dress; Cartier watch (right wrist)