When fashion translates to spiritual fulfillment you can’t help but feel times are indeed changing in the world of fashion whereby the intuition of designers is becoming more evident as the driving force behind their creative process. This is paving the way for a new fashion trend heavily influenced by spiritual forces unbeknown to man. That said, I met the PR director of Alchimie Saracene, Luca Modesti, who describes the collection as one for the soul, and one that consists of beautifully hand-crafted ready-to-wear clothing and accessories. Pietro Paradiso is the mastermind behind Alchimie Saracene, originally from Puglia, who previously worked as assistant designer for Valentino. The idea behind the collection is to highlight our basic psychological and emotional needs that fashion fulfills so well i.e. our need to look and feel good which the right item of clothing or accessory controls like medicine becoming addictive if we choose. In the collection, there are significant references to Maslov’s hierarchy of needs; a theory in psychology that relates to our innate coping mechanisms to fulfill our wants or needs in life. As Luca rightly pointed out “we satisfy our psychological needs by shopping sometimes helping us to connect more with our conscious awareness” I found the collection so profound in its message delivery especially with a name like ‘A Dress For The Soul’ Each piece of the collection is made from natural materials including broom fibres, olive roots, and oil-soaked wool to convey the presence of Eastern Apulia.
Another collection with profound meaning and demonstrates true creative mastery is The Mechanical Queen by Mario Costantino Triolo, born and raised in Calabria who started his collection in only 2013. I noticed strong imagery of Queen Elizabeth I of England who Mario described as representing the type of lady for whom he designs. Queen Elizabeth I was the epitome of strength earning her title “the Great” who soon transformed herself into a national symbol and now influences the world of fashion especially through the creative vision of Mario Constantino. Through his own unique craftsmanship, Mario brilliantly brings back to life a prominent figure in history who represented the power and splendor of England that is empowering to women. His designs, some of which are voluminous in style, are embellished with precious stones. What caught my eye in particular was the white jacket with intricate detailing on the back. Mario blends jersey and viscose to create masculine and feminine cuts of clothing. His signature piece is the t-shirt with the maxi Queen print. “Power and personality are the messages of the collection suitable for a strong woman,” says Mario Constantino. By far, one of my favourite collections of the exhibition; highly-crafted and grandeur in nature which is sufficient enough to make any woman feel like a Queen.
SPAZIOiF is no ordinary handbag collection as the name suggests but the product of born artisan Irene Ferrara from Palermo, Sicily. Now, Irene has a full team of skilled artisans who are part of her success in producing a collection of high-quality handmade bags and accessories. Both Irene and her sister Carla briefly shared their story with me at It’s Time To South exhibition. “Everything is manufactured in Sicily with a mini collection which we started in 2008” says Carla. Their OVO’ signature bag is one of their best sellers being multi-functional like most of the bags within the collection. Irene demonstrated various functionalities of the OVO bag which can be folded as a clutch or worn like a holdall bag. What stands out, in particular, is soft cow leather out of which the bags are made. I asked Carla what leather they use to which she replied “we love leather especially buffalo, crocodile and cow leather in different prints” Each bag comes with an identity card giving the brand it’s own unique personal touch. What I also found fascinating was their tattoo backpack which one can also wear over one’s shoulder. SPAZIOiF has another range of bags to provide an alternative option to those who prefer vegan leather which is cork or kelp-based. In May 2010, Irene and Carla opened a part store and part art gallery in Rome continuing their Sicilian legacy.
The spring/summer 2017 collection of Marianna Cimini is rather artistic in nature depicting Mediterranean landscapes hence the name of the collection “Mediterraneus” in other words the “sea in the middle of the lands” Signature colours of orange, green, white and black within the collection echo scenery of small white houses of the greek islands, the sunset amongst the top of the hills, and a feeling of tranquility induced by a small village. At the core of the collection, is a message of division caused by the “sea in the middle of the lands” This comes across through Marianna’s juxtaposition of classic cuts against bold retro-looking prints and colours. Most pieces of the collection are generous in cut allowing us to adopt a more relaxed look from the collection. High-quality fabrics are used such as silk and cotton; the latter having cooling properties in hot climates. Overall Marianna’s collection is classic with a contemporary twist suitable for those who choose comfort over making a fashion statement although the Mediterraneus collection makes a beautiful statement in itself.
Every lady needs a poncho in their wardrobe which has always been a classic trend; trans-seasonal and that which you can incorporate into a classic or funky look. I met the lovely Daniela Tornambe, Palermo designer of Original Poncho who talked me through her collection. I was rather impressed by Daniela’s vast range of ponchos in numerous colours. “Each poncho is made from 70% cashmere and 30% silk,” says Daniela. They felt beautifully soft and lightweight – simply to die for. Part of Daniela’s creative vision for her collection is to make clothes that feel comfortable and are made from the highest quality chiffon, silk, alpaca, and cashmere used by the likes of Loro Piana. The collection is made in Italy possessing a timeless sophistication. I particularly loved the black and red geometric printed poncho. It felt good enough to sleep in.
I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Annalisa Surface from IJO Design who shared her creative vision with me. IJO is a timeless idea focusing on a classic style of clothing. The home collection of IJO was born in 2011 and is an “ethical business that recycles fabrics” says Annalisa. She prefers to use “less hem as possible” which contributes to the uniqueness of the brand. Further to this, every piece is very well tailored with a couture-like finish. As part of the creative process of the brand, Annalisa designs fabrics first and then produces the collection. It’s no wonder she has two successful stores in Italy and counting no doubt. What I like about her collection most of all is the attention to detail with clean and precise cuts of clothing. Overall, IJO Design demonstrates clever craftsmanship that is tailor-made for those who like high-quality casual/smart attire.
It’s Time To South was such an experience that I will never forget. Having been given the opportunity to meet and become inspired by talented fashion designers I had no idea existed prior to this trip to Milan has left me open to embracing new ideas and wanting to support emerging designers even more hence why trade shows such as WHITE are a great platform for creative initiatives like It’s Time To South. One gets to meet the creative innovators/designers behind their collection, hear the creative message of the designer on a one-to-one basis and ultimately gain a more sensual experience by smelling or touching a particular piece from their collection. I hope to do this all over again next season! The fashion shows are great with more emphasis on who is sat on the frow generated by a flock of photographers littering the runway to get their best money shot. However, I would rather meet a designer in person and in a tranquil environment any day. You never know, they could even be the next big fashion designer following in the footsteps of Giorgio Armani. We all start somewhere, and what’s so satisfying to my soul is being part of someone’s journey before all the fame and fortune! Congratulations to all 12 designers at It’s Time To South.
Lastly, I would like to say thank you to It’s Time To South, particularly Fabrizio Labrozzi from ICE for the opportunity to meet such innovative talent from Southern Italy, and the chance to network with other creative individuals in the fashion industry. One memory for the record was the It’s Time To South networking event which took place at the landmark location – La Vigna di Leonardo – frequented by the legendary painter himself Leonardo Da Vinci.
Written by @Styleiconnat | #TheLifestyleCollective | Images Sourced From Designers: www.alchimiesaracene.com | www.mariocostantinotriolo.com | www.spazioif.it | www.mariannacimini.it | www.originalponcho.it | www.ijodesign.com