IN­SPIRED BY HOME

Hong Kong Tatler - - Style -

De­scrib­ing them­selves as “sim­ple peo­ple,” Ste­fano and Domenico were a cou­ple for about 20 years, up un­til 2003. It’s an ex­tra­or­di­nary tes­ta­ment to their pro­fes­sion­al­ism that the pair have main­tained their work­ing re­la­tion­ship and that they con­tinue to come up with fresh, rel­e­vant ideas that are glob­ally cel­e­brated.

“It’s a very col­lab­o­ra­tive process,” says Ste­fano of their work rou­tine. “Ninety per cent of the time we work to­gether. Some­times we work in­de­pen­dently and then we meet up and speak to each other about what we think.” Domenico points out, “We are old-style fash­ion de­sign­ers; we make ex­actly what we feel. We take in­spi­ra­tion from ev­ery­where—from a book, from TV, from peo­ple we meet, ev­ery­where.” Ste­fano quickly adds, “The most im­por­tant one is, of course, Italy, our cul­ture and Si­cily. It’s part of our life.” Adds Ste­fano, “We take our in­spi­ra­tion and trans­form the idea into a story. It’s not dif­fi­cult to make a beau­ti­ful dress, but it’s very dif­fi­cult to make a fan­tas­tic show. The in­ter­preter is the model, the mu­sic, the stage, the am­bi­ence. We try to pro­voke an emo­tion with the au­di­ence, through the cam­paign, the pic­ture, the fash­ion show. A de­signer’s job is to turn fan­tasy into re­al­ity.”

The tale for this spring/sum­mer sea­son is in­spired by the won­der of their home­land. “For Italia is Love, we en­vi­sioned what it must be like for a for­eigner to visit our cities and we painted this pic­ture in our head—and then we be­gan to sketch,” says Domenico. The women’s col­lec­tion in­cludes prints of im­ages typ­i­cally seen on vin­tage post­cards. The men’s col­lec­tion is dom­i­nated by Si­cil­ian mo­tifs jux­ta­posed with chi­nois­erie in­spired by the Chi­nese Palace in Palermo. Dragons dance with pup­pet theatre icons, while red lanterns hang next to pea­cocks.

Beloved around the world, the brand’s rel­e­vance crosses in­ter­na­tional bor­ders. “Cloth­ing is an in­ter­na­tional lan­guage,” says Ste­fano. “You can say some­thing with­out words. There is a cul­ture with clothes—and you talk dif­fer­ently with the clothes that you wear.”

“Peo­ple [in the fash­ion in­dus­try] don’t re­alise how good they have it,” con­cludes Ste­fano. “You should be en­joy­ing ev­ery minute if you are do­ing what you love. We get to work with beau­ti­ful fab­rics, beau­ti­ful peo­ple. I love it. I am so lucky to be do­ing what I love.”

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