By Joanna Bober
Mar 12, 2015 @ 1:45 pm
Douglas Friedman

Joanna Bober is InStyle's lifestyle director. Get more peeks behind-the-scenes by following her on Instagram (@jbober).

Ecco ci qua,” said the driver, announcing our arrival. The car pulled up through the gates of Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli’s home, a converted farmhouse perched on a hilltop just a few minutes outside Florence’s city center. A winding driveway gave way to a brick pathway, framed with towering cypress trees.

As the lifestyle director at InStyle, I was traveling with our fashion news director Eric Wilson (we're pictured, above), who was there to write the story about the eminent designer’s home (you can read the complete article in our March issue, currently on newsstands, and check out the photos of his home now).

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Cavalli (above, center), joined by his director of PR, Andrea Tremolada (left), spent several hours walking us through the house and around the grounds, along with Wilson (far right)—the designer’s ever-faithful German Shepherd named Lupo trailing behind. And while the rooms inside were the main attraction, the gardens were divine—the perfect lush setting for a family photo (which wound up being the lead image in our magazine spread). For one of the pictures, we set a table under the trees where Cavalli posed with his wife Eva, their grandchildren swirling around them in an impromptu game of Ring-Around-the-Rosy (in Italian, I learned, it’s called gira gira tondo).

Our photographer, Douglas Friedman, (above, seated), mapped out the photo in advance, and I stood off to the left where we imagined Cavalli would be for the actual portrait.

There’s a real sense of fun and exploration that goes on at one of these shoots. Here, Wilson (above) is warmly greeted by the designer’s chocolate brown lab.

By the end of the day, we found ourselves chatting with Eva near the family’s indoor swimming pool. Friedman snapped away and, once he finished the work at hand, pointed the lens in my direction for a split second (that door to the right, by the way, leads to an enormous stone steam room). It’s the perfect example of how an editor is always about an inch outside of the camera’s frame, imagining the final story and how it all comes together. In the end, we called the piece La Dolce Villa—a title that truly captured the spirit of the place.

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