MAS­SI­M­IL­IANO gior­netti

Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo’s first cre­ative di­rec­tor breaks down the con­cept be­hind his col­lec­tion

DA MAN - Style - - Contents -

One com­mon trait shared by many fash­ion de­sign­ers is an in­abil­ity to weave the right string of words to paint a clear pic­ture of a par­tic­u­lar col­lec­tion or just fash­ion in gen­eral. Not so with Mas­si­m­il­iano Gior­netti from Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo. In­structed in the fine art of lit­er­a­ture but al­ways a true sar­to­rial con­nois­seur by na­ture, his pres­ence and vi­sion are a delight to the ears and eyes of a fash­ion en­thu­si­ast. In his chat with DA MAN, the brand’s first ever cre­ative di­rec­tor rel­ishes in ev­ery bit of new­ness in menswear, touches on the pro­gres­sive trends that tickle his cu­rios­ity—“I’m a very cu­ri­ous per­son,” he pro­fesses— and un­rav­els all these with point-blank hon­esty and an ir­re­sistible elo­quence. DA MAN: You once men­tioned that men dress more for­mally for ca­sual times and more ca­su­ally for for­mal times. Does that no­tion still ap­ply to­day? Mas­si­m­il­iano Gior­netti: Yes, I would say that fash­ion def­i­nitely still moves in that di­rec­tion. Our col­lec­tions are not de­signed for a cer­tain age group or for one cer­tain type of man. But they can be worn in many dif­fer­ent ways and in count­less com­bi­na­tions by men of all age groups ac­cord­ing to their per­son­al­i­ties, tastes and needs. Take a nice blazer, for ex­am­ple. Com­bine it with clas­sic shoes and you’ll have a more tai­lored look. Com­bine it with sneak­ers, and the ef­fect is im­me­di­ately dif­fer­ent.

Last year we launched the “A Man’s Story” project and it was about ex­actly that—a new lux­ury life­style for men for ev­ery oc­ca­sion. We are also work­ing on a num­ber of other projects, which are not di­vided into for­mal and in­for­mal wear, but which are re­ally fo­cused on the Ital­ian life­style. In fact, what I try to high­light in our col­lec­tions is the Ital­ian joie de vivre, the splen­dor of life. DA: Speak­ing of the “A Man’s Story” project, do you think it is im­por­tant to reach con­sumers through dig­i­tal and on­line for­mats? MG: I do think it is very im­por­tant to reach our clients dig­i­tally nowa­days. The sta­tus quo in the world of fash­ion has changed a lot. Only a few years ago de­sign­ers could still choose to live in their ivory tow­ers and dic­tate trends that con­sumers would fol­low slav­ishly. It’s not like that any­more. Con­sumers have changed a lot, from fash­ion vic­tims to fash­ion­con­scious. So, a cre­ative di­rec­tor must un­der­stand their tastes and needs, of­ten even an­tic­i­pat­ing them.

Fash­ion is a fast-mov­ing field. Just think of the fast fash­ion chains that launch more than one col­lec­tion per sea­son: They play a part in de­moc­ra­tiz­ing fash­ion, thus mak­ing it more ac­ces­si­ble to the gen­eral pub­lic. Also think of the mil­lions of users that can watch fash­ion shows on their PCs, in the com­fort of their homes, in real time. If any­thing, all of that high­lights the ex­tent to which com­mu­ni­ca­tion in the fash­ion in­dus­try has be­come glob­al­ized.

This is why it’s so im­por­tant to know and un­der­stand your end con­sumer, so you can of­fer a prod­uct that’s al­ways ap­peal­ing but has also en­gen­dered the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the brand that cre­ated it. Qual­ity, at­ten­tion to de­tail, un­usual choice of color and be­ing in line with fash­ion ten­den­cies with­out sac­ri­fic­ing tra­di­tion are the vi­tal el­e­ments to Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo’s world­wide suc­cess.


DA: What about Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo’s spring/ sum­mer 2016 col­lec­tion? What’s the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the brand’s of­fer­ings this sea­son?

MG: For the spring/sum­mer 2016 col­lec­tion, I worked on the no­tions of eclec­ti­cism and light­ness, and de­vel­oped a con­cept of clash­ing rhythms. The quo­tid­ian style, for a start, is en­riched by a wardrobe based on in­ten­tion­ally mis­aligned pre­ci­sion. High­waist trousers come with ra­zor-sharp creases. Short jack­ets and mack­in­toshes, or wa­ter­proof coats, re­veal pre­cisely- cut pro­files. Dry wool suits fea­ture off- color pin­stripes, en­hanced with bold stitch­ing. Cot­ton shirts sport broad stripes that do not com­pletely con­verge.

There are also sharp graph­ics and lux­u­ri­ous ma­te­ri­als com­ple­ment­ing ab­stract geo­met­ric shapes and or­ganic tex­tures—sar­to­rial non­cha­lance turns into a per­fectly bal­anced sym­phony of eclec­ti­cism. The well- cut but dé­gagé (un­ob­structed) lines un­der­score the dy­namic sur­faces, and are fur­ther en­hanced by stripes, in­serts and pin­stripes. Bro­ken stripes on com­pact sweaters are al­ter­nated with pre­cious leather in­serts and raf­fia em­broi­dery, as op­pos­ing geo­met­ric lines are bet­ter show­cased through ex­otic ma­te­ri­als. Cacti and mon­keys ap­pear on patches and em­broi­dery, as well.

The col­lec­tion is ac­tu­ally de­signed by au­ton­o­mous teams, yet the over­all aes­thetic is the re­sult of the in­stinc­tive com­bi­na­tion of sev­eral fac­tors to em­pha­size a so­phis­ti­cated care­free at­ti­tude. The color pal­ette is soft and mel­low: brown, khaki, ochre and beige jux­ta­posed against splashes of turquoise, pink and cac­tus green. Black is the re­cur­rent link that blends and mel­lows the pal­ette.

DA: How do you nor­mally start a col­lec­tion?

MG: There are a lot of things that in­spire me to start a new col­lec­tion. In­spi­ra­tion comes from ev­ery­where. I’m a very cu­ri­ous per­son: Trav­el­ing, books, ex­hi­bi­tions and art are very im­por­tant sources of in­spi­ra­tion. But when I start de­sign­ing a col­lec­tion, I al­ways be­gin with de­sign­ing the shoes. Shoes are so im­por­tant in or­der to de­fine the fi­nal sil­hou­ette. They give you a real at­ti­tude and add a spe­cial al­lure to any look. The way a per­son walks and moves is es­sen­tial. That’s why shoes must be beau­ti­ful, but most of all wear­able. And for me, it couldn’t be any other way, hav­ing ac­cess to the amaz­ing archive of Sal­va­tore’s shoes—the mas­ter­pieces he cre­ated in fan­tas­tic color com­bi­na­tions, un­usual ma­te­ri­als, per­fect fits and shapes. So, the shoes are my start­ing point, and I take it from there to de­cide on the whole mood of the col­lec­tion, and the rest comes au­to­mat­i­cally un­til it all fits per­fectly to­gether.

DA: Have you ever ex­pe­ri­enced some sort of “writer’s block” in fash­ion de­sign­ing?

MG: Hon­estly speak­ing, it has never hap­pened to me. As I said, my aes­thetic ex­pe­ri­ence is a sort of a con­tin­ual flux, tak­ing shape un­con­sciously into phys­i­cal form in a col­lec­tion. Ev­ery in­tensely felt ex­pe­ri­ence en­riches your vi­sion and may be a source of in­spi­ra­tion: Mo­ments, sen­sa­tions and emo­tions can all mix to­gether and merge. Some emo­tions act as a sub­strate for oth­ers; some seem to hi­ber­nate and sud­denly awaken years later. For­tu­nately, this flow of in­spi­ra­tion never stops.

DA: How do you bal­ance be­tween in­no­va­tion and the aged glamor of Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo?

MG: I am very proud and hon­ored to work for a brand with such an im­por­tant her­itage. I gen­er­ally be­lieve that cre­ativ­ity is born from new­ness and in­no­va­tion, but I design with­out ever for­get­ting the com­pany’s iden­tity. Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo has such a rich his­tory be­hind it, a con­stant stream of suc­cess and awards at the in­ter­na­tional level.

Sal­va­tore had his own avant-garde vi­sion, which also re­mains as one of my per­sonal and es­sen­tial rules as well: Com­fort is not the en­emy of el­e­gance or of fash­ion, but it is an es­sen­tial com­po­nent where no fac­tor should be sac­ri­ficed. True beauty and wear­a­bil­ity can­not be sep­a­rated—a rule so rel­e­vantly up-to- date that it makes his­tory and tra­di­tion an in­te­gral part of moder­nity it­self. I don’t be­lieve in revo­lu­tion but in evo­lu­tion, pro­cesses that guide the com­pany to­ward a sense of moder­nity that re­spects his­tory, cul­ture, but, above all, the phi­los­o­phy of Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo. What I re­ally de­sire for the brand is to fo­cus on and high­light its po­ten­tial and dis­tinc­tive traits.


DA: So, who is the muse for the brand to­day?

MG: Hon­estly speak­ing, I have to say that when I design a gar­ment or an ac­ces­sory I don’t think of one par­tic­u­lar ac­tress, ac­tor or celebrity, but real peo­ple. What I think is ap­pre­ci­ated most in our col­lec­tions is the idea that they trans­mit a typ­i­cally Ital­ian life­style marked by cre­ativ­ity, crafts­man­ship, con­tin­u­ous care for qual­ity, care­ful at­ten­tion to de­tail, as well as pas­sion and pride for our cul­ture. A new fron­tier of lux­ury is about go­ing back to “the slow:” slow ges­tures and habits, the pos­si­bil­ity to ded­i­cate your time to cre­ate some­thing unique and spe­cial—a kind of moder­nity that’s both clas­sic and to­tally Ital­ian.

DA: Last but not least, how do you see the evo­lu­tion of menswear to­day?

MG: I be­lieve that menswear will def­i­nitely ex­pe­ri­ence an im­por­tant pe­riod of growth in the com­ing years. De­sign­ing for men is dif­fer­ent than de­sign­ing for women. It is ver­ti­cal, all about de­tails, the im­por­tance of cuts and also lib­er­at­ing men from cer­tain tra­di­tional codes with­out en­tirely chang­ing the clas­si­cal men’s wardrobe. De­sign­ing for women clearly of­fers many more pos­si­bil­i­ties and paths to ex­plore sea­son af­ter sea­son. Women are usu­ally bolder and of­ten more open to change. It’s nov­elty that ex­cites them, so they’re al­ways ready to try out the lat­est and most dar­ing trends that we have to of­fer.

Hon­estly, when I think of men, how they ac­tu­ally live, I re­al­ize that changes in their wardrobe are min­i­mal and gen­er­ally grad­ual, hardly ever quick. Men are by na­ture more con­ser­va­tive. Just look at fash­ion over the last 100 years, and you’d see that men’s fash­ion is al­ways based on the same items: jack­ets, trousers, shirts. The big change in menswear has been the “en­nobling” of sportswear, now no longer merely used just for its tech­ni­cal ad­van­tages in sports, but also for its func­tions and in­nate char­ac­ter­is­tics that are now ap­pre­ci­ated in more ur­ban and for­mal sit­u­a­tions as well. The work I did de­sign­ing for men— the chal­lenge to find orig­i­nal so­lu­tions with in­no­va­tive ma­te­ri­als and de­velop cuts to adapt to the mod­ern male sil­hou­ette (but nat­u­rally with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the el­e­gance and for­mal touch dic­tated by tra­di­tion)—has in­flu­enced the work I did on the women’s col­lec­tion, fo­cus­ing on rig­or­ous tai­lor­ing, com­fort­able el­e­gance, gar­ments that fit the body per­fectly with­out re­strict­ing its move­ment.

There cer­tainly is the same cre­ative phi­los­o­phy in both col­lec­tions. They both rep­re­sent the world of Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo: Cre­ativ­ity and pas­sion for crafts­man­ship, at­ten­tion to de­tail and care for qual­ity, per­fect bal­ance be­tween form and sub­stance, a con­cept of el­e­gance and beauty that has never be­come de­tached from the ac­tual wear­a­bil­ity and com­fort of the gar­ment it­self.


From left Dif­fer­ent fab­rics on one top; three-di­men­sional prints; leather in­serts and em­broi­dery over ge­o­met­ri­cal lines op­po­site page Shoes of the sea­son

top Cac­tus is part of the sea­son's prints op­po­site page A three-di­men­tional logo sweat­shirt with a mix of tex­tile treat­ments

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