Emilia Wickstead felt "lost" when she was forced to move to Italy.
The New Zealand-born fashion designer had to uproot and leave her home town and relocate with her mother Angela to Italy when she was a teenager, much to her upset because she couldn't speak the language.
She told Vogue magazine: "My mother married an Italian, so at 14 I was uprooted and we moved to Italy.
"When we arrived, I felt a little lost - I couldn't speak a word of Italian - but I was full of 'the dream'."
Although the creative mastermind felt unsettled she swiftly acquired new skills and a new found love for designer labels living in her new home.
She explained: "Our first stop, Belgioiogo, a small town just outside Milan, was a most provincial experience. We walked through rice fields and I learnt how to cook pasta from scratch. Our second stop, Pavia, was one step closer to Milan, which was the most wonderful world imaginable.
"I had never seen a luxury designer store in my life. My mother and I would tour them and she would teach me about good-quality fabrics versus something that was terribly produced.
"I quickly developed an understanding for the importance of an item of clothing being as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside."
And Emilia has described the popular city as a "new world" filled with glamour.
She said: "It was a new world where everybody dressed up - even to go for a coffee. Italian women appeared feminine and sexy, shoes were perfectly polished, while men had never looked so well put together."