Shopaholic Luana Russo

“I have 76 pairs of shoes,” Luana Russo, Assistant Professor in Quantitative Methods, tells me.

“In our search for a house a couple of years ago, it was of pivotal importance to me that we bought a spacious home so we could have 2 separate studies – one for me and one for my husband -, 2 bedrooms for the kids, and that there was a dressing room.”

Did Luana get her passion for fashion from her parents? “I would describe my parents as free spirits. They are not traditional and not consumerist people. They got married quite spontaneously, without even having wedding rings (let alone a white dress). So they always found it a tad strange that I am so much into shopping, and that I wanted a very traditional big white wedding dress. My mom was not thrilled to come and pick the dress with me, but my parents nevertheless supported me all along the way, and actually bought the dress for me,” Luana explains.

“In 2013, I got to marry the love of my life. We met during the ECPR summer school when I was in the last year of my PhD. I had a giant crush on him, but he liked someone else. We became friends and kept in touch via social media. We saw each other again a year later at the ECPR general conference in Reykjavik. Two years later, we got married.

Our wedding took place in the south of Italy, where I am originally from. My husband is Belgian, and I must say that there is quite a cultural difference between Italians and Belgians. In Italy, a wedding is all about food, while in Belgium, any party involves quite some drinks. We told the venue in Italy to purchase more drinks than usual, but even before the end of the evening, all the stock of beer, wine and champagne was gone. And food was still left aplenty. The family of my dad was also a bit shocked because it was the first non-religious wedding they went to. My oldest aunt even asked whether it was a real, legit wedding!”

Luana loved purchasing her wedding dress. “Before I visited the atelier, I did my homework and knew exactly what I wanted: a silk dress I saw on a website. I tried a few but I picked that one in the end. My wedding dress is still hanging in my closet and I still love it, but I do want to give it another purpose. I have been asked if I want to save it for my daughter, but I really don’t. If she will ever want to get married she will pick her own, A wedding dress is something personal and to look for it is a fun experience if you are into that stuff.”

Now that Luana is married and has two kids, her shopping has become more efficient. “I prefer to go out for shopping, but with such a busy schedule it is not always manageable. So Zalando and my delivery man are my two best friends nowadays,” Luana jokes. “My savings would have been much higher if I hadn’t spent all that money on clothes. But shopping – along with food, books, and hiking – makes me happy, and my weak spot is shoes.”

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