Down a winding road, nestled deep in the Rondout Valley between the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains, sits Westwind Orchard, a pick-your-own-apples farm two hours north of Manhattan. That it’s located in the harmonious-sounding town of Accord, New York, lends even more appeal to the orchard’s charms. And then there are the stewards of the land, its proprietors Laura Ferrara and her husband, Fabio Chizzola, who both maintain dual identities. “Most people here don’t know what I do,” says Ferrara over lunch at the farm this past May. She’s referring to her other profession as one of the fashion industry’s top stylists. Chizzola, meanwhile, originally from Rome, leads a second career as a fashion photographer. For 13 years, the couple and their son, Matteo, have divided their time between the Westwind and an apartment in downtown Manhattan.
Fashion has been Ferrara’s primary occupation for nearly two decades—her work has been seen in Vogue, Glamour, and Marie Claire, along with dozens of ad campaigns—and yet the Brooklyn-raised Italian remains an anomaly in that codified world. Preferring a uniform of comfortable, trend-proof classics—Levi’s, white tee, army jacket—Ferrara’s philosophy on fashion and beauty is far more in line with that of an organic farmer. “We modify food to make it bigger or look more perfect in the produce aisle, but it’s not real, and it’s not good for you. And you see the same thing with plastic surgery and how we alter ourselves to meet these unrealistic standards,” she says. (more…)