Editor’s note: Welcome to the third and final installment of a 3-part series on Haute Mess! This week I’ll be discussing something very close to my heart: Italian fashion. Although I am American by birth, I’m Italian by blood. And, as all my followers, readers and friends know, fashion has been a strong personal interest of mine for as long as I can remember. Lucky for me, the two often overlap; after all, Italy is home to iconic labels like Gucci, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Missoni and La Perla. 

The shift from Europe to Asia is something I noticed on my own, and instantly thought it spoke volumes about the [fashion] industry as a whole. I collected and organized my thoughts into this 3-part essay that focuses on Fiorucci. While Fiorucci isn’t a household name in the same capacity brands like Gucci, Prada or Dolce & Gabbana are, it has been beyond influential for decades–so much so that, in some senses I will discuss, it represents a number of Italian fashion labels as they take on the 21st Century. 

For a complete list of sources, click here


In March 2003 Elio also announced he was closing the doors to Fiorucci’s historic shop in Corso Vittorio Emmaniele, Milan after 36 years. (Orso)

“When Fiorucci hit the scene nearly 40 years ago, he blew Italy—and the rest of the world—away with a larger-than-life attitude. He bought in the new and unexpected, pre-dating the surge of today’s ‘lifestyle’ stores. Fiorucci mixed clothing with beauty products, vintage items, music and home furnishings. He even used his retail space for artistic performances,” (Orso).

While department stores like Bloomingdale’s are known for their home products, such as small kitchen appliances, bedding and even pool tools, Fiorucci was a pioneer in that it *wasn’t* (and still isn’t) a department store. Anything on its shelves besides clothes and shoes is completely unexpected–or at least it was in Fiorucci’s heyday before the label made “lifestyle” boutiques the norm.

Today’s Free People and Anthropologie come to mind, which offer beauty products, books, music, desk supplies and tech accessories, as well as kitchen necessities and home decor in addition to clothes, shoes and accessories.

Free People also takes its so-called “lifestyle” a step further with its popular namesake blog that offers beauty and wellness advice, alongside fashion, music, DIY and recipe posts. And on its online shop, Free People also offers a selection of vintage clothing curated by the FP team. Search “vintage” for retro lace, leather, activewear and more, as well as designer accessories from labels like Gucci, tons of Vogue magazines from the 1970s and 80s and even some rock ‘n’ roll records.

Soon after closing the shop in Milan, Elio became an ethical vegetarian and animal rights activist (Orso). He said the reason he was closing the shop was because he had “fallen out of love” with fashion. At 80-years-old he passed away in July 2015 at his home in Milan, per WWD.com.

Fiorucci store on Brewer Street in London’s Soho [source: Culture Whisper]

The brand was then sold by the Japanese trading house Itochu to Janie Schaffer, ex-CEO of Victoria’s Secret, and her business partner and former husband Stephen, a team from the U.K based in London.

Plans to re-launch Fiorucci began in early 2017 with pop-up shops Barneys (New York), as well as Selfridges and Harrods (London) to gauge consumer interest. A new 3-storey Fiorucci store opened in Brewer St. in London’s Soho neighborhood in September of that year.

Hailey Baldwin in a Fiorucci t-shirt, 2017 [source: candidcelebs.net]

Hailey Baldwin in Fiorucci corduroy pants, 2017 [source: starstyle.com]

Models such as Hailey Baldwin, Romee Strijd, Joan Smalls, as well as blogger Olivia of Olivia By Nature and actress Dakota Johnson have been spotted wearing the label. Big names like Georgia May Jagger (daughter of Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger) and musician Cailin Russo appear in recent Fiorucci campaigns.

To celebrate the launch of its new store, Fiorucci hosted a “Disco Christmas” party on December 7, 2017 at the Soho location. Complete with DJs and cocktails, Fiorucci welcomed all its customers and fans via Instagram and email, keeping alive Elio’s tradition of the store being more than just a store.

The brand has a strong social media presence, with over 50 thousand followers on Instagram. Fiorucci used this platform to both send an open invite to its Disco Christmas, and to showcase the event in real time via Instagram’s live streaming tool.

While a ton of aspects from Fiorucci’s heyday remain the same for the brand’s overall vibe, a lot has changed on the business end to keep up with the fashion industry as it adapts to advancements in technology.

Although Fiorucci was sold from Japan to the U.K. in 2015, one cannot help but notice the pattern of Italian labels moving to Asia (alongside the obvious Asian influence in fashion today). Another name that comes to mind is sportswear giant Fila.

Before moving to sportswear in the 1970s, Fila launched in Biella, Italy by two brothers in 1911 (from Fila) as clothing (and underwear) for people of the Italian Alps. The label gained popularity when it was endorsed by tennis player Bjørn Borg.

In 2003 the company was sold to U.S. hedge fund Cerberus Capital Management. Cerberus owned Fila through the holding company Sports Brands International, which owned and operated all Fila businesses around the world *except Fila Korea.

Fila Korea acquired the global Fila brand and all its international subsidiaries from SBI in January of 2007, making it the largest South Korean sportswear company. Fila Korea currently holds all of the rights to the worldwide use of footwear and clothing brands of the parent firm.

ANTA Sports acquired rights to use the brand in China (Full Prospect) two years later in 2009 from Belle International. At this point Fila Korea still owned 15 percent of the shares of the joint venture company Full Prospect). (From Anta)

Fila Korea Ltd. Acquired global golf equipment maker Acushnet Company, becoming the new owner of leading golf brands, such as Titleist for $1.23 billion. (Thomas)

Behind-the-scenes of the Diesel A/W 2014 campaign by Formichetti [source: South China Morning Post]

And then there’s Diesel, an edgy Italian streetwear label famous for its denim.

Nicola Formichetti, the son of an Italian pilot and Japanese flight attendant, was named the first artistic director of the Italian label in 2013. Although his contract is set to expire before New Year’s Day 2018, he has brought a ton of Asian influence to the historically Italian label and will be parting ways with Diesel amicably, per WWD.

In an interview with WWD writers Luisa Zargani and Rosemary Feitelberg, Diesel’s founder Renzo Rosso “points out Formichetti’s Japanese background, saying that Japan was very inspirational every season, defining it as ‘the most avant-garde country,’ and one that accounts for 21 percent of Diesel’s business.”

“[Formichetti] also has Italian blood, so he is special. I like him personally, and we complement each other,” Rosso added. (Feitelberg, Zargani)

Additionally, Diesel won’t be appointing a successor to the artistic director just yet.

“I believe this kind of company can work differently, and not in this same kind of direction. There are many things coming up, special projects. The market is very different now. We want to be modern, I want to explore,” Rosso explains to WWD.

Formichetti plans to focus on his own brand Nicopanda, as well as his partnership with Japanese casual wear chain Uniqlo. He also leaves behind an incredible legacy at Diesel, which was formed over the course of just five years. (Feitelberg, Zargani)

“Last year, Diesel held a second megashow in Tokyo to mark the company’s 30th anniversary in that country, presenting the brand’s fall collection readily available in stores and online the same day. Formichetti also curated an exhibition with archival looks from 1978 until today and launched dedicated capsule collections to be distributed in Japan,” per WWD.

This so-called “see-now, buy-now” concept is a popular trend among both well-known and little-known fashion designers, and one that speaks volumes about the “insta-society” in which we live.

WWD also points out that Formichetti was “a pioneer in establishing a web of friends and followers on social media. Formichetti’s ad campaigns for Diesel were aimed at creating an online community.”

Georgia May Jagger for Fiorucci [source: The Impression]

Georgia May Jagger for Fiorucci [source: i-D]

Georgia May Jagger for Fiorucci [source: Pinterest]

Cailin Russo for Fiorucci, 2017 [source: InStyle]

Cailin Russo for Fiorucci, 2017 [source: ramtain.com]

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Editor’s note: Welcome to the second installment of a 3-part series on Haute Mess! This week I’ll be discussing something very close to my heart: Italian fashion.

Although I am American by birth, I’m Italian by blood. And, as all my followers, readers and friends know, fashion has been a strong personal interest of mine for as long as I can remember. Lucky for me, the two often overlap; after all, Italy is home to iconic labels like Gucci, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Missoni and La Perla. 

The shift from Europe to Asia is something I noticed on my own, and instantly thought it spoke volumes about the [fashion] industry as a whole. I collected and organized my thoughts into this 3-part essay that focuses on Fiorucci. While Fiorucci isn’t a household name in the same capacity brands like Gucci, Prada or Dolce & Gabbana are, it has been beyond influential for decades–so much so that, in some senses I will discuss, it represents a number of fashion labels as they take on the 21st Century. 

For a complete list of sources, click here


Fiorucci by Eve Babitz [source: ilovecatparty.blogspot.com]

Meanwhile on the business end, 1981 saw a couple big changes for Fiorucci. Benetton bought Montedison’s 50-percent stake in Fiorucci (which reduced to 33.3 percent in 1986), and Elio brought in Iranian businessman Massimo Aki Nuhi (i.e., Akinouhi) as a third partner via his holding company Aknofin. In August 1987, Benetton sold their remaining stake to Fiorucci and Aki Nuhi.

A combination of “thriving sales” (with which the company could not keep up) and “poor management” forced Fiorucci to close its Manhattan store in 1986.

Fiorucci’s New York storefront [source: Kickshaw Productions]

New York-based fashion designer Betsey Johnson said, “Fiorucci was the most happening place. It never stopped being happening—it just left New York City, because I don’t think New York City was happening enough by the mid-80s,” (Chaplin).

Two years later Fiorucci closed its remaining U.S. stores after a franchise dispute, and moved instead to a wholesale strategy. In April of the following year, Fiorucci went into administration after a dispute over the strategic direction of the firm that had seen Elio offer to buy-out Aki Nuhi (WWD).

It was then that the Tacchella brothers came to the rescue (Bannon).

Fiorucci by Eve Babitz [source: ilovecatparty.blogspot.com]

In January 1996, after a plea bargain, Elio was given a suspended jail sentence of 22 months for inflating the value of invoices to increase the value of the company to Carrera at the expense of his creditors (from Corriere della Sera, a). Luciano Benetton was cleared of similar charges “on the grounds that he had not been involved at an operational level during his time (September 1985-September 1987) on the board at Fiorucci,” (from Corriere della Sera, b).

The deal with Edwin was signed June 4, 1990 (and ratified October 1990), but Edwin did not gain control of the assets until May 1992, causing the company to lose the rights to the Fiorucci name in Canada on the grounds of disuse (Gamache).

Edwin’s first major act was a deal with Coles Myer, which led to 68 Fiorucci concessions in stores across Australia. A new store also opened in Piazza San Babila, Milan in early 1993; it included a variety of branded boutiques (Forden).

[source: fashiontimes.it]

However, things were very different on the North American front. Later that year a deal fell through with Mary Ann Wheaton of Wheaton International (Gordon). It was not until 1995 when Edwin was able to license the rights for eyewear in the U.S. to Swan International Optical (Parr).

Although Fiorucci opened a U.S. office in September of 1997 (Parr), the strategy of their licensee, Stephen Budd, to sell the brand into U.S. department stores was not successful (Chaplin). Two years later, the label announced its plan to open a U.S. store in time for the holiday season. However, the store on lower Broadway did not open until June 2001. (Chaplin)

Kim Hastreiter (a commentator) was “skeptical that [Fiorucci] could recapture the buzz of times passed, given the increased competition in mass-market clubbing gear from the likes of H&M and The Limted,” (Chaplin).

[source: Pinterest]

While the brand continued to thrive in Europe during 1995, a campaign for jeans featuring a naked woman’s behind and pink furry handcuffs restored (some) former notoriety, and the jeans became “instant bestsellers,” (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps).

The year 1999 saw the launch of a successful perfume, and two years later Fiorucci launched another successful fragrance. In 2003 the label launched Miss Fiorucci, a makeup line. Meanwhile, Edwin aggressively expanded the brand throughout Asia, from Seoul to Tokyo and China. (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

Elio “retained creative control during the Edwin era,” and the new owners were “protective of the Fiorucci trademarks.” In fact, they “took legal action against H&M when Elio designed H&M’s poolside line” (Orso) and designed for Agent Provacteur.

[source: Ganzo]

[source: Love Magazine]

A 1987 Fiorucci ad [source: Pinterest]

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Editor’s note: Welcome to the first installment of a 3-part series on Haute Mess! This week I’ll be discussing something very close to my heart: Italian fashion.

Although I am American by birth, I’m Italian by blood. And, as all my followers, readers and friends know, fashion has been a strong personal interest of mine for as long as I can remember. Lucky for me, the two often overlap; after all, Italy is home to iconic labels like Gucci, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Missoni and La Perla. 

The shift from Europe to Asia is something I noticed on my own, and instantly thought it spoke volumes about the [fashion] industry as a whole. I collected and organized my thoughts into this 3-part essay that focuses on Fiorucci. While Fiorucci isn’t a household name in the same capacity brands like Gucci, Prada or Dolce & Gabbana are, it has been beyond influential for decades–so much so that, in some senses I will discuss, it represents a number of fashion labels as they take on the 21st Century. 

For a complete list of sources, click here


A peek inside Amsterdam’s Fiorucci store, which contained a cafe. [source: CNN]

Perhaps no other brand in (modern) history has been more influential to fashion than Milan-born Fiorucci. Credited with designing the first pair of women’s fashion jeans, it is really quite a shock that Fiorucci is not more of a household name, compared to other high-end labels like Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

In the 1990s, in an effort to save the failing brand, the Tacchella brothers (of Italian jeans company Carrera S.P.A.) sold Fiorucci to Japanese jeans group Edwin Co., Ltd. for 45 billion Lire (or approximately $41 million USD). This created a domino effect that saw other major Italian labels, such as sportswear giant Fila, move to Asia.

Two angels [source: Pinterest]

But the story starts in 1962 when Milan native Elio Fiorucci, the son of a shoe shop owner, created bright, primary color galoshes. His idea went on to be featured in a local fashion magazine and were a sensation.

After traveling to London in 1965, a 20-year-old Elio was inspired to bring Carnaby Street style back to Milan. Two years later, Elio opened his first shop in Milan, which sold clothes by London designers such as Ossie Clark and Zandra Rhodes. Still today, Fiorucci marries London street style with Dolce Vita luxury.

It was in 1968 that Elio began taking inspiration from the East. He sold cheap t-shirts from India and turned rice sacks into handbags.

By the mid-1970s the Fiorucci label was thriving. A huge new store on Milan’s Via Torino opened, selling not only fashion, but books, furniture and music. It had a live performance area, a vintage clothing market and a restaurant. The company set up its own manufacturing plant four years prior, and adopted its infamous “two angels” logo from Italo Lupo. (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

The store was financed by an investment from Standa department stores (part of Montedison group). (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

Monokini [source: Pinterest]

During this time, the label introduced Europe to styles from Brazil, such as the monokini and the thong. It also caused quite a controversy by printing topless women in its advertisements. (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

Fiorucci opened its first overseas store in 1975 on London’s King’s Road; it launched a children’s collection called Fioruccino that same year. The label also brought Afghan coats to the mass market and popularized leopard-skin prints, which were first created by Elsa Schiaparelli two decades prior. (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

The label made its way to the U.S. in 1976 when it opened a store on East 59th street, between Lexington and Park Avenues, in New York City—down the block from Bloomingdale’s. (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps).

Customers included fashion designers Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein, Jackie Onassis and Gloria Vanderbilt, actress Lauren Bacall, British mogul Terence Conran, Cher (Chaplin), author Douglas Coupland (Colman) and Juan Carlos I, the King of Spain (Lahr).

As the brand continued to thrive, it hired big-name employees by the 1980s. Fiorucci’s art director was designer Maripol, who created Madonna’s looks at the time. Other notable names included Madonna’s brother Christopher Ciccone, i-D magazine’s Terry Jones, Oliviero Toscani (who shot many famous Benetton ads) and famed interior designer Jim Walrod (Chaplin).

Late actress Farrah Fawcett in Fiorucci jeans [source: CNN]

Fiorucci’s hottest new products at the time included a collection made from DuPont’s Tyrek fabric and velvet slippers from China. And in 1978, Fiorucci became the first fashion house to license its name for a collection of sunglasses. New stores launched across the U.S., Europe and Asia. (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

Three years later in 1981, a Disney license led to a highly successful range of Mickey Mouse pieces. That same year, Fiorucci sponsored the reunion of Simon and Garfunkel at The Concert In Central Park, which attracted more than 400,000 attendees. A then-unknown Madonna played the labels birthday party in 1983. (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

A 1974 Fiorucci ad [source: The Historialist]

In 1982, however, Fiorucci launched the first-ever stretch jeans with Lycra. The success of the label’s 5-pocket “safety” jeans was recognized three years later in a licensing deal with Wrangler Jeans. And in 1989, Fiorucci went back to its British roots with a deal with Vivienne Westwood (i.e., the “queen of the London street scene”). (From Memorabilia: Fiorucci’s Steps)

Per a video interview by Il Bel Gioco, Elio Fiorucci says, “I changed denim, which was working clothing, into something [that] makes the [wearer] beautiful.”

[Source: Il Bel Gioco via YouTube]
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Note: All images featured in this post are property of Playboy Enterprises and their respective photographers. This post serves only to recognize the legacy of Hugh Hefner, editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine and chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises.

This post is not meant to pirate or plagiarize the work of the Playboy team, including, but not limited to, publishers, editors, creative directors, photographers, stylists and models.

The following editorials are not shown in full, and the images featured are in no particular order. They were chosen solely based on my personal preferences and they reflect the work of the Playboy team that inspired me during my time as a media professional.

I have no affiliation with the Playboy Enterprise, and I have no affiliation with any models or photographers mentioned in this post. 

Kelly Gale, Miss September 2016, photographed by Chris Heads

kelly Gale, Miss September 2016 [source: Payboy Enterprises]

kelly Gale, Miss September 2016 [source: Payboy Enterprises]

kelly Gale, Miss September 2016 [source: Payboy Enterprises]

Kelly Gale, Miss September 2016 [source: Payboy Enterprises]

kelly Gale, Miss September 2016 [source: Payboy Enterprises]

kelly Gale, Miss September 2016 [source: Payboy Enterprises]

“Midday Swim With Beate Muska” (playboy.com), photographed by Asher Moss

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

From “Midday Swim With Beate Muska” for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

“The Beate Goes On” (playboy.com), photographed by Christopher von Steinbach

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Beate Muska for playboy.com [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Camille Rowe, Miss April 2016, photographed by Guy Aroch

Camille Rowe, Miss April 2016 [source: Payboy Enterprises]

Camille Rowe, Miss April 2016 [source: Payboy Enterprises]

Camille Rowe, Miss April 2016 [source: Payboy Enterprises]

Camille Rowe, Miss April 2016 [source: Payboy Enterprises]

Camille Rowe, Miss April 2016 [source: Payboy Enterprises]

Camille Rowe, Miss April 2016 [source: Payboy Enterprises]

Camille Rowe, Miss April 2016 [source: Payboy Enterprises]

Eugena Washington (Playmate of the Year 2016) in Playboy magazine, June 2016, photographed by Jason Lee Parry

Eugena Washington (Playmate of the Year 2016), June 2016 [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Eugena Washington (Playmate of the Year 2016), June 2016 [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Eugena Washington (Playmate of the Year 2016), June 2016 [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Eugena Washington, Miss December 2015, photographed by Josh Ryan

Eugena Washington, Miss December 2015 [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Eugena Washington, Miss December 2015 [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Eugena Washington, Miss December 2015 [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Eugena Washington as Cassandra from video game Mafia III, Playboy magazine, October 2016, photographer unknown

Eugena Washington, October 2016 [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Eugena Washington, October 2016 [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Eugena Washington, October 2016 [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Kate Moss, January/February 2014, photographed by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott

Kate Moss, Jan/Feb 2014 [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Kate Moss, Jan/Feb 2014 [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Kate Moss, Jan/Feb 2014 [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Kate Moss, Jan/Feb 2014 [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Kate Moss, Jan/Feb 2014 [source: Playboy Enterprises]

Kate Moss, Jan/Feb 2014 [source: Playboy Enterprises]

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Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the launch party for Danielle Guizio’s new Footwear collection in New York City.

Earlier this year, when I first fell in love with the up-and-coming streetwear designer, I never imagined I’d be a guest at the launch of her footwear line, so I was super excited when I received an invitation to this exclusive event.

The celebration was held in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking District at the High Line Hotel in The Refectory–known as one of the most beautiful rooms in New York City–and it definitely delivered. (Seriously, can I have my wedding reception there?)

Front and center were some of the new GUIZIO footwear designs: five pairs of spiky-heeled booties.

In white, red and black, these shoes definitely make a statement–even when worn with the designer’s signature sweatsuits and track pants. Unique textures like patent leather and python, along with details like crisscross laces, o-ring pulls, zippers, grommets, buckles and straps, truly add to this footwear collection’s one-of-a-kind steez.

Still, they’re versatile. They look effortlessly fab with anything from denim to leather to knitwear. And, they can easily be dressed up or down; they’re stilettos, but like I said, they pair perfectly with athletic-inspired pieces like Guizio’s.

Guizio’s footwear designers [source: Coveteur.com]

For the event celebrating these babies, I sported all black with pops of pink. Of course, I just *had* to wear my DG fishnet bodysuit 😉

Underneath I layered a strapless balconette-style bra for a feminine touch, then paired it with Adidas Originals track pants to play up GUIZIO’s athleisure vibes.

For a little height I sported a pair of black heeled booties (although they aren’t from Guizio’s namesake line) for my night out in the City, along with a customized coordinating bag from Pop & Suki.

And to polish everything off, I added my (vegan) leather jacket with pale pink and baby blue embroidered flowers. This jacket is absolutely gorgeous, and definitely one of my main go-to’s for a night out. I love how its long fit brings some structure to my otherwise relaxed look.

I also went for a bold makeup look to match the flashy getup, so I went a very minimal route in terms of other embellishments–just my rose gold nameplate necklace for a subtle sparkle, as well as undone hair with a middle part. (More on all that in a future post.)

Shop my look:

Jacket, Blank NYC, $168

Bodysuit, Danielle Guizio, $63

Bra, Free People, no longer available (similar here)

Track pants, Adidas, $70

Booties, Free People, no longer available (similar here)

Bag, Pop & Suki, $195

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