ARCHIVIO LOIACONO

Nonostante le chiusure forzate dettate dalla pandemia da Covid-19, tra establishment e big players, il mainstream milanese, coté modaiolo, è vivo e vegeto. Tra le figure di spicco, la sciccosa Amelianna Loiacono. Solare e romantica, dotata di prensili antenne e di una capacità unica nel mescolare il vintage in maniera attuale e poetica da creare immagini senza tempo. Laureata in Storia dell’Arte, Amelianna è una delle stylist freelance, più creative e produttive dell’editoria italiana. Ha lavorato 21 anni in Hearst per Elle e Gioia. Dal 2020 lavora per Vanity Fair. Ha curato lo styling di molte sfilate durante Milano Collezioni e Pitti a Firenze e il look di Jovanotti per il video “Tutto l’amore che ho”. Attualmente collabora con Elie Saab, Etro, Philosophy, Alberta Ferretti. Numerose le campagne pubblicitarie realizzate negli anni per Intimissimi, Calzedonia, Swatch, Campari, Sky, Kway, Max Mara, Class Cavalli, Mario Valentino, Replay. Ha iniziato la sua carriera fotografando soprattutto attrici del calibro di Demi Moore, Laura Dern, Anna Mouglalis, Kasia Smutniak, Laura Morante, Valeria Golino, Milla Jovovich, Margherita Buy e nel 1998 è stata la costumista del film di Luca Guadagnino “The protagonists” con Tilda Swinton e Laura Betti. Il prezioso archivio privato vintage costruito in trent’anni di ricerche che usa per prestiti agli stilisti e servizi di moda, la dice lunga sul personaggio, e sulla sua lucida, ispirata visione.

Come nasce il progetto? Il progetto nasce per un’urgenza oramai improcrastinabile. Ho iniziato la mia ricerca vintage più di trent’anni fa con una costanza maniacale, ho comprato pezzi unici settimanalmente per tutti questi anni con la stessa costanza di un fervente cristiano che la domenica non rinuncia alla Messa, io difficilmente salto un mercato. Ho accumulato così tanti capi che non era più possibile per me collezionarli senza un adeguata catalogazione. Finalmente ho trovato uno spazio e ora è tutto perfettamente in ordine e organizzato. Quali gli obbiettivi? Fondamentalmente l’archivio è alla base di tutto il mio lavoro di stylist. Nei miei set commerciali uso spesso i miei accessori vintage per valorizzare una collezione e collaboro con diverse aziende di moda che trovano ispirazione nel mio archivio. La tua idea di styling? Il mio styling si basa su un’idea di bellezza senza tempo. Difficilmente vedendo un mio editoriale puoi capire quando è stato scattato. Non uso mai il look di stagione e non sono una stylist che racconta la tendenza del momento credo che questo sia la mia forza ma anche il mio limite. Quanti stilisti sono presenti nel tuo archivio? In assoluto colleziono Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. Poi ho un po’ di tutto Versace, Moschino, Lanvin, Balenciaga. Ma soprattutto anni 70 e 80.

 

Swimsuit vintage ARCHIVIO LOIACONO @archivioloiacono Foto by ENTION SULO model MARIA KONIECZNA pubblicato su MIA LE JOURNAL.

 

Il primo abito importante che hai comprato? Il ricordo che ho legato ad un primo vestito importante risale al mio diciottesimo compleanno. Ero molto in crisi perché nonostante avessi girato tutti i negozi di Bari non trovavo un abito che mi piacesse per la mia festa. Finché a casa di una mia amica che aveva una nonna molto chic vedo questo abito di velluto nero e taffetà e me ne innamoro. La signora me lo presta e io lo faccio rifare identico dalla mia sarta di fiducia. L’abito era un Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche che ho riconosciuto molti anni dopo vedendolo in una foto pubblicitaria. Il primo che ti hanno regalato? Un vestito anni 50 di tulle azzurro da ballo. Era di mia nonna da bambina ogni volta che andavo a casa sua mi precipitavo nel suo armadio e rimanevo incantata a guardare il vestito “della Principessa“. Quando sono andata via da Bari per andare a Venezia all’Università mia nonna ha voluto che lo mettessi in valigia e lo portassi con me. Il capo d’abbigliamento a cui non puoi rinunciare. D’ inverno ad un cappotto di Max Mara. D’estate alle Espadrillias. Che ti piaceva di più quando eri adolescente. Adoravo Romeo Gigli. Mi piaceva tutto, i suoi vestiti e la sua estetica. In camera avevo appeso le foto di Paolo Roversi con la collezione ispirata ai mosaici di Ravenna. Adesso? Sempre e solo Yves Saint Laurent.

Sky Time Jumpsuit vintage ARCHIVIO LOIACONO @archivioloiacono Foto by ENTION SULO model RACHELE PIOT.

Lo stilista che preferisci più presente nel tuo archivio? Idem, Yves Saint Laurent. Quello che proprio non sopporti? Non ho nessuna antipatia in particolare ma non indosserei mai per mio gusto personale un capo di Jeremy Scott. Lo stilista più geniale? Yves Saint Laurent ma amo anche la genialità di Coco Chanel. Il capo d’abbigliamento che ti ispira scene erotiche? Una sottoveste di seta ricamata. Lo styling sempre presente nelle foto di David Hamilton. Quello con cui faresti l’amore? Reggiseno e slip anni vintage anni 70. La migliore collezione degli ultimi trent’anni? Non è la migliore collezione degli ultimi trent’anni, ma è la migliore collezione di sempre, quella ispirata ai balletti russi disegnata nel 76 da Saint Laurent. Più recentemente ho amato molto la collaborazione di Maria Grazia Chiuri e Pier Paolo Piccioli per Maison Valentino. Loro insieme erano imbattibili. Il capo d’abbigliamento che hai consumato di più? Un blazer di Costume National che ho usato a cavallo tra gli anni novanta e i primi 2000. Il capo d’abbigliamento che non hai ancora potuto acquistare? L’abito con le bocche disegnato da YSL nella famosa collezione dello scandalo del 1971. Si trova online ad una cifra esorbitante.

 

Dress YVES SAINT LAURENT RIVE GAUCHE vintage ARCHIVIO LOIACONO @archivioloiacono Foto by ENTION SULO model POLINA GROSCHEVA.

 

Senti la mancanza di stilisti che sono scomparsi o che si sono ritirati? Vabbè di YSL non parlo più altrimenti sono troppo ripetitiva. Credo che il genio creativo di Alexander McQueen manchi a tutti. Una perdita gravissima. Il profumo che utilizzi? Non ho mai indossato un profumo. Ma spruzzo nei cassetti della biancheria Un Jardin Sur Le Toit di Hermes. Un ricordo legato a un profumo? La violetta di Parma da bambina l’adoravo. Un desiderio inconfessabile? Intrufolarmi a casa di Betty Catroux e svaligiare il suo armadio. Cosa ti manca? In questo momento preciso mi mancano i mercati chiusi per Covid. E la libertà di viaggiare! Quali sono i tuoi progetti futuri? Sto lavorando ad un grosso progetto pubblicitario con la regia di Saverio Costanzo che mi terrà impegnata per il prossimo mese e poi vedremo, ormai non si programma più niente!

Vintage leather pants ARCHIVIO LOIACONO @archivioloiacono Foto by ENTION SULO model JESSICA DURANTE.

LOIACONO’S ARCHIVE – Despite forced closures dictated by Covid-19 pandemic, between establishment and big players, Milanese mainstream, fashionable coté is alive and well. Among prominent figures, swanky Amelianna Loiacono. Solar and romantic, equipped with antennas and a unique ability to mix vintage in a contemporary and poetic way to create timeless images. Graduated in Art History, Amelianna is one of the most creative and productive freelance stylists in Italian publishing. She worked 21 years at Hearst between Elle and Gioia. Since 2020 she has been working for Vanity Fair. She overlooked the styling of many fashion shows during Milano Collezioni and Pitti Florence as well as Jovanotti’s look for the video “All the love I have”. She currently collaborates with Elie Saab, Etro, Philosophy, Alberta Ferretti. Numerous the advertising campaigns created: Intimissimi, Calzedonia, Swatch, Campari, Sky, Kway, Max Mara, Class Cavalli, Mario Valentino, Replay. She began her career photographing mainly actresses of the caliber of Demi Moore, Laura Dern, Anna Mouglalis, Kasia Smutniak, Laura Morante, Valeria Golino, Milla Jovovich, Margherita Buy and in 1998 she was costume designer of Luca Guadagnino’s film “The protagonists” with Tilda Swinton and Laura Betti. The precious private vintage archive (70s and 80s) built over thirty years of research that she often loans to designers, stylists and fashion shoots, speaks clearly about the character, her open and inspired vision. How was the project born? It was born out of an urgency that could not be postponed. I started out my vintage reasearch more then thirty years ago with an obsessive constancy. I bought unique pieces every week for all these years. With the same constancy as a fervent christian that never miss out on his sunday Mass, I hardly miss a market. I have accumulated so many pieces that it was no longer possible to collect them without proper catalogisation.I finally found a space and now everything is perfectly tidy and organized. Whic are your goals? Basically the archive is the at the basis of my whole work as a stylist. On my commercial sets, I often use my own vintage accessories to enhance a collection and I collaborate with many different fashion houses which find inspiration in my archive. Your idea of styling? My styling is based on an idea of timeless beauty. You can hardly tell, when you see an editorial of mine, when it was shot. I never use seasonal looks and I am not a stylist who tells the trend of the moment; I believe this is my strenght but also my limit.How many designers are there in your archive? I collect mostly Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. Then a little bit of everything; Versace, Moschino, Lanvin, Balenciaga. But mostly from the 70s and the 80s. The first important dress you bought? My memory goes back to my 18th birthday. I was very upset because despite having visited all shops in Bari, I could not find a good dress for my party. Until, at a friend’s house, who had a very chic grandmother,  I saw this amazing black velvet and taffeta dress and fell in love with it. The lady lent it to me so I could have it done the same exact way by my trusted seamstress. The dress was an Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche which I recognized many years later by seeing it in an advertising photo. The first you were given as a present? A 50’s ball gown in blue tulle which belonged to my grandmother when she was a child. Every time I went to her house, I used to go to her wardrobe and was enchanted by this Princess dress. When I left Bari to go to University, in Venice, she asked me to put it in my suitcase and bring it with me. The item of clothing you cannot live without. In winter time a Max Mara Coat. During summer Espadrillias. Who were you most fond of when you were a teenager? I loved Rome gigli. I liked everything of his, his dresses, his aesthetic. In my bedroom I had hung Paolo Roversi’s photos with the collection inspired by the Mosaics of Ravenna. And now? Always and only Yves Saint Laurent. Which designer do you prefer the most in your archive? Again, Yves Saint Laurent. The one you cannot stand? I do not have any particular dislike but for my personal taste, I would never wear a Jeremy Scott garment. The most brilliant designer? Yves Saint Laurent of course, but I also love the genius of Coco Chanel. The item of clothing which inspires you with erotic scenes? An embroidered silk pettycoat. The styiling always present in David Hamilton’s photos. The one you would make love with? 70’s vintage bra and briefs. The best collection of the last 30 years? It is not the best in the last 30 years but the best collection ever, the one inspired by Russian Ballets, designed by Saint Laurent in 1976. Most recently I very much loved the collaboration of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli for Maison Valentino. Them together are unbeatable. The item of clothing that you have used the most? A costume national blazer which I have used between the 1990s and early 2000. The one you have yet not been able to buy? The one with mouths designed by YSL in the famous scandal collection of 1971. Its available on line and its very, very expensive. Do you miss those designers who passed away or resigned? I wont talk about YSL in order not to repeat myself. I believe everyone misses the creative genius of Alexander McQueen. A tremendous loss. Which fragrance do you use? I have never worne one. But I spray Un Jardin Sur Le Toit by Hermes into my linen drawers. A memory liked to a fragrance? Violetta di Parma: I loved it when I was a child. An inconcevable desire? To enter furtivement into Betty Catroux’s house and rob everything I can possibly find in her wardrobe. What do you miss?  In this particular moment I miss markets, closed due to Covid and the freedom to travel. Which are your future projects? I am working on a big advertising one under the direction of Saverio Costanzo which will keep me busy for next month and then we will see, nowadays we cannot plan anything really!

 

NEIL BARRETT’S CONSTRUCTIVISM

Vision NEIL BARRETT Make Up Artist MASSIMILIANO DELLA MAGGESA Photography CAROLINA AMORETTI Realization ALESSIO NESI

Neil Barrett’s aesthetic provides a taste of dry and minimal lines. The cut follows principles of abduction and summary in oder to find the absolute form in the outline of the figure, severe and essential. This same way, even the search for make-up, status symbols of every fashion-house, identifies a DNA made of detached purism. Elegant, not improvised, Neil Barrett’s neo grooming is a semiotic system of pure and “constructivist” geometric forms.

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Simple signs, interpreted through monochrome black, saturated and opaque, express an independent soul, synthesize a unique body of work condensed into a visual story made of six images, which, in this global area, resets the differences between male and female and do not abandon themselves to the ghosts of the past.

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How would you describe your work in purely aesthetic terms? Graphic blocking, neutral colours plus one accent only.
 How was  the make-up of Neil Barrett realised ? Which the developments? To take specific graphic images that we use in our prints, interiors and packaging and apply them to another canvas, the face.

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Which is your relationship with colour and how do you approach the relationship with make up? I like to achieve impact without using colour to see all trough monochromatic black and white lense and still have the strenght of the image. Otherwise when I do use colour, I use one colour only or many tones of one colour.

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Your definition of beauty? Purity of line, balanced imperfection.

 How did your relationship with Video develop? It’s a backstage of this work, as we would do with a fashion show… but recorded spontaneously with an Iphone.

 

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THE DARK IRONY OF ALESSANDRO GAGGIO

Alessandro lives in Florence. A multifaceted artist as well as protagonist of the cultural underground scene of the 80s. Decorator, illustrator, set designer, costume designer. He lives outside commercial logics of fashion. Reserved and determined, as fussy as constant in his creative career. He worked for brands such as VALENTINO, GUCCI, FENDI and MOSCHINO, for which he designed accessories and prints for fabrics. His latest creation, jewels for the Haute Couture Fall 2015 collection of Maison Valentino, presented last July 9th in Rome, in the picturesque setting of Piazza Mignanelli. Strange dreamy figures, skulls, totems. Enigmatic creatures suspended between macabre and ironic which take life from precious materials like gold. Necklaces, diadems, bracelets, earrings, belts and amulets are worn on hazy dresses which dark, severe and opulent silhouette oscillates between christian and pagan; it wisely quotes gothic sculpture of the twelfth century and the unrivaled exaltation of savoir-fare of italian atelier. The jewels of ALESSANDRO GAGGIO are unconventional creations, there to impress and attract the viewer. Unique pieces shaped by his skilled hands, from which come also wax sculptures, precious materials and glazed soil.

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How did the collaboration with the MAISON VALENTINO start? I know Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli since many years, we have mutual respect for both our strengths and our shortcomings. For this Haute Couture collection, they found that the style of my jewelery was in tune with their clothes, and I’m very happy about this, because, as usual, I found their collection amazing. Which  were the developments of the project? Working with Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli after so many years has been, and I hope it will be, very challenging and funny, also because they work with a lot of very pleasant people.

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What has changed today in the use of jewelry? Jewels for me, for what is my vision of them at least, is not related to preciousness but to beauty and its expressiveness; whether they are linear or elaborate, but this is a very personal opinion. You Experience following a defined path or your instinct? I always work following my instinct, my creations come from a clear initial idea, that is developed in the most simple and effective way, always remaining faithful to the concept that each piece is unique and must have a soul.

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Which are the biggest limits  which a designer has to face to become famous or just to work? In order to implement freely their own design projects and make himself known, the biggest limit is the economic availability, taking for granted that there is talent. Your professional background is diverse. What all the very different experiences done have taught to you? My professional/creative experience taught me to understand something about humanity: vices, virtues, defects, qualities, bullying and kindness.

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Your first and most successful design experience? It ‘hard to say because I never deliver something of which I’m not sure. Experience taught me to kill every creation failed and still to today, it often happens that I actually kill. Your reference points for style? I have no point of references for style, I only know what I like: sincerity, lightness and a lot of irony.

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My blog tells Beauty in its various forms. What is your idea of beauty? For me Beauty is irony and expressiveness, with or without conventional proportions, as long as created and experienced with immediacy, culture, ethics and respect. What’s in your  playlist? And what were you listening to while drawing the jewelry collection for Maison Valentino? My favorite are songwriters, both Italian and not, I have songs and music that I am  very close to, regardeless what I am doing, whether I deraw, speak or stay in silence. A wish for 2015. I hope to continue doing what I like and that my job will  give me more and more satisfaction.

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Vive a Firenze, Alessandro. Artista poliedrico tra i protagonisti della vita culturale underground degli anni ’80. Decoratore, illustratore, scenografo, costumista teatrale. Vive fuori delle logiche commerciali della moda. Riservato e determinato, pignolo quanto costante nel suo percorso creativo. Ha lavorato per firme del calibro di VALENTINO, GUCCI, FENDI e MOSCHINO, per le quali ha progettato accessori e stampe per tessuto. L’ultima creazione i gioielli per la collezione Haute Couture, Autunno 2015 della Maison Valentino presentata lo scorso 9 Luglio, nella suggestiva cornice di Piazza Mignanelli. Strane figure oniriche, teschi, totem. Creature enigmatiche sospese tra il macabro e l’ironico prendono vita da materiali preziosi come l’oro. I gioielli di ALESSANDRO GAGGIO sono creazioni che escono dall’usuale per stupire e attrarre chi le osserva. Pezzi unici plasmati dalle mani sapienti del poliedrico artista, dalle quali nascono anche sculture in cera, materiali preziosi e terraglia smaltata. Come nasce la collaborazione con la MAISON VALENTINO? Conosco Maria Grazia e Pierpaolo da moltissimi anni, abbiamo stima reciproca sia per i nostri pregi che per i nostri difetti.  Per la collezione di Haute Couture hanno trovato che lo stile dei miei gioielli fosse in sintonia con i loro abiti, e ne sono molto contento, perché, come al solito, ho trovato la collezione veramente bella. Quali gli sviluppi del progetto? Lavorare con Maria Grazia e Pierpaolo dopo tanti anni è stato e spero sarà molto stimolante e divertente, anche perché capaci di circondarsi di persone molto piacevoli. Com’è cambiato oggi l’uso del gioiello? Il gioiello per me, per quella che è la mia visione, non è legato alla preziosità ma alla bellezza e alla sua espressività, lineare o elaborato esso sia, ma è un parere del tutto personale. Sperimenta seguendo un percorso definito o segue l’istinto? Lavoro sempre seguendo il mio istinto, le mie creazioni derivano da un’idea iniziale chiara, che viene sviluppata nella maniera più semplice ed efficace, rimanendo sempre fedele al concetto che ogni pezzo è unico e deve avere un anima.

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Quali sono i limiti più grossi che deve affrontare un designer per farsi conoscere o semplicemente per lavorare? Per poter realizzare liberamente i propri progetti di design e farsi conoscere il limite più grosso è la disponibilità economica, premettendo che ci sia talento. Il suo background professionale è vario. Cosa le hanno insegnato le diverse esperienze? La mia esperienza lavorativa/creativa, mi ha insegnato a comprendere qualcosa dell’umanità: vizzi, virtù, pregi, prepotenze e gentilezze. La sua prima esperienza progettuale più riuscita? E’ difficile da dire, poiché non consegno mai qualcosa di cui non sono sicuro. L’esperienza mi ha insegnato a uccidere ogni creazione non riuscita e ancora oggi, uccidere, mi capita spesso. I suoi punti di riferimento per lo stile? Non ho punti di riferimento per lo stile, so soltanto cosa mi piace: sincerità, leggerezza e tanta ironia. Il mio blog racconta la bellezza nelle sue varie forme. Qual è la sua idea di bellezza? Per me la bellezza è l’ironia e l’espressività, con o senza proporzioni convenzionali, purché creati o vissuti con immediatezza, cultura, etica e rispetto. Cosa c’è nella sua playlist? E cosa ha ascoltato mentre disegnava la collezione di gioielli per la Maison Valentino? Prediligo i cantautori, sia italiani che non, ho canzoni e musiche a cui sono molto legato che ascolto a prescindere da qualunque cosa faccia, che disegni, che parli o che stia in silenzio. Un desiderio per il 2015. Spero di poter continuare a fare ciò che mi piace e che il mio lavoro mi dia sempre più soddisfazione.

 

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ITALIAN TOUCH

Signorina Eleganza. The new fragrance by Salvatore Ferragamo told by “nose” Sophie Labbé. In partnership with Elle.it

To create Miss Elegance, we tried to translate into a fragrance the sophistication of  brand Salvatore Ferragamo as well as the elegance that we saw in the Collection Croisiere 2013, which was held at the Louvre Arcades in 2012, marked by a White smooth soft skin “, tells us Sophie Labbé , IFF Senior Perfumer VP (Internationa Flavors & Fragrances), creator of the fragrance. 2013 has been a year of great olfactory success for the Florentine fashion house, which continues its rise in 2014, also thanks to the launch of Miss Elegance, recently presented  in Tokyo with a party of 300 guests, among which press as well as socialites and celebrities. Miss Elegance is a rich olfactory creation that celebrates the more seductive side of Ferragamo femininity, with an innocent mood,  inviting agreements and a romantic sillage. “To translate the feeling of the show to Miss Elegance, I decided to create an illuminating note, very feminine “, explains Sophie,”carved around the lovely leathery – Apricot facet of Osmanthus flower then sublimated by an arrangement of powdery white musk . And to add a sophisticated touch of extravagance. I decided to create an agreement of refined and gourmand almond powder“. The result is surprising and convincing. Sophie Labbé has managed to transform images in fragrance, keeping in mind the strong sense of reality and simplicity of the Tuscan brand that in its creations has always that magic touch of italian sovoir -faire, that makes it special. Fragrance main theme is an extreme elegance and sophistication, linked to an individual feel . “Being smart today“, echoed Sophie, “means respect yourself,  wear what suits your personality and do not try to follow too many trends that do not match“. This way, also in the creation of this fragrance, its creator has focused on naturalness and simplicity, without blindly following season dictates, because beauty accordingto Sophie “is more a matter of emotion and self-harmony“.

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Per creare Signorina Eleganza, abbiamo provato a tradurre in una fragranza la raffinatezza del marchio Salvatore Ferragamo e anche l’eleganza che vedevamo nella sfilata di Croisière Collection 2013, che si è tenuta al Louvre Arcades nel 2012, improntata a una fluidità di soffici pelli bianche”, racconta Sophie Labbé, Senior VP Perfumer IFF (Internationa Flavors & Fragrances), creatrice della fragranza. Il 2013 è stato un anno di grandi successi olfattivi per la maison fiorentina, che continua la sua ascesa nel 2014 anche grazie al lancio di Signorina Eleganza, presentata di recente a Tokyo alla presenza di 300 invitati tra stampa, socialite e vip. Signorina Eleganza è una ricca creazione olfattiva che celebra il lato più seducente della femminilità di Ferragamo con un mood innocente, accordi invitanti e un sillage romantico. Per tradurre la sensazione a pelle dalla sfilata a Signorina Eleganza, ho deciso di creare una nota illuminante molto femminile” Spiega Sophie,“scolpita attorno alla deliziosa sfaccettatura Coriaceo-Albicocca di fiore di Osmanto poi sublimata da un accordo di Muschio Bianco polveroso. E per aggiungere un sofisticato tocco di extravagance, ho deciso di creare un accordo di Mandorle in polvere raffinato e gourmand”. Il risultato sorprende e convince. Sophie Labbé è riuscita a trasformare immagini in odore tenendo presente il forte senso della realtà e della semplicità del brand toscano che nelle sue creazioni ha sempre quel tocco magico di sovoir-faire italiano che lo rende speciale. Il tema centrale della fragranza è un’eleganza estrema e sofisticata, legata a un sentire individuale. “Essere eleganti oggi”, fa eco Sophie, “significa rispettare te stesso, indossare cosa calza la tua personalità e non cercare di seguire troppi trends che non corrispondono”. Così anche nella creazione della fragranza la sua creatrice ha puntato sulla naturalezza e sulla semplicità, senza seguire ciecamente un diktat di stagione perché la bellezza secondo Sophie “è più una questione di emozioni e armonia di sé”.

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FREAK CHARM

What is beautiful? What is bad-looking? The good and the ungly are relative in different times and cultures, even though over the centuries it has been tried several times to define templates to define what was beautiful and what was not. The concept of ugliness is more and more immediate today. Cruelty and the macabre that characterize contemporary society, from movies to video games, sublimate the concept of monstrous that no longer coincides with being bad. Contemporary art celebrates the ugly also in a provocative sense, stimulating disgust and fear, but also arousing charm, mystery and erotism, as it emerges  from the photographic work  of Joel-Peter Witkin (New York 1939) who arrives to the MNFA of Florence, (until June 24th) thanks to the collaboration between Fratelli Alinari and Baudoin Lebon Gallery, in Paris.

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Still life with breast, 2001 © JOEL-PETER WITKIN, courtesy Baudoin Lebon

A journey of 55 selected works proposes an inventory of enigmatic images that summarize central themes of his work:  love for fetid rotting flesh, religious restlessness, nudity, links with eros, suffering, pleasure , but also deterioration and death. Debunking works arouse a sense of inadequacy and dark ominous. They open a hole in our sweetened visions of order and beauty. Witkin’s compositions narrate photographic reinterpretations of art history with the reconstruction of painful natures, laid with care and with a taste oriented to monstrous charm. They create a world in the middle, to the edge of surreal, where figures cut out spaces of afterlife, within which to pose. His mortuary love turns this way into inconcievable ability to represent death and its decay.

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Prudence 1996 © JOEL-PETER WITKIN, courtesy Baudoin Lebon

His works are full of formal citations among which we can recognize the great names in history of photography, such as Muybridge, Rejlander and Holland Day, intertwined with Greek and Roman sculpture and with baroque, neoclassical and modern art. Portrayed scenes are full of references, more or less explicit, to the great masters of art, from Bosch to Velasquez, from Goya to Manet. Witkin faces their own same problems using unusual models, with a freak charm, androgynous, dwarves, cripples, hermaphrodites. He himself says that before shooting, he draws the idea that  hewants to accomplish. He makes sure that the metaphysical creative act takes shape even before it is put into practice. The model-dead body seen as an outrageous object, becomes something else compared to the proportions of the body usually seen in art.

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Coubet in rejlander’s Pool, New Mexico, 1985 © JOEL-PETER WITKIN, courtesy Baudoin Lebon

Over the centuries,  art has come back with insistence to represent the aesthetics of ugly, accepting pain of death to sing its own experiments of death-in-life and tell the whole transience of life, awareness of pain, tragedy but also the post-modern anxiety of new, gruesome icons. Witkin’s works have been exhibited in major museums and international art centers;  in 1999 he was named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Art set des Lettres and in 2000 Commandeur of the same honorary French order.

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Self Portrait, reminiscent as a Self Portrait as a Vanité, 1995 © JOEL-PETER WITKIN courtesy Baudoin Lebon

How did your interest in photography start? I ws born in 1939. During WWII, my father would show me pictures in newspapers of the devastation. As a child, I believed the entire world (except where we lived in Brooklyn) was being destroyed. I was fascinated by all those pictures. i wanted to make photographs in order to make sense of the world in the time I had to live in this life. Looking at your photographs you can not notice the theme of nakedness linked to suffering and pleasure. By whom and what are you inspired? The themes of Splendour and Misery for me are Alfa and the Omega of life-the extremes of goodness and evil. My models are usually naked because in that way, they are timeless. The history of the Catholic faith has always been my vision of life. Your works, by formal approach, look more like paintings than photographs. How did you develop this type of printing technique? Most photographs are worthless beacuse they have no basis in fact ou purpose. My photographs reflect the history of western Civilization and the moral decisions of that history. I developed my singular vision through years of personal and aesthetic development. Dwarfs, cripples, abundant women, hermaphrodites, androgens. It looks like a freak show casting. Where does the decision to focus on models out of the norm come from? My Italian grandmother, who raised me, was a cripple. i loved her for her soul, not what she looked like. My first photographs were made at a “Freak Show” (I detest that term because it is demoralizing and mean) in Coney Isalnd when I was sixteen years old. To me, these people were “beyond normal”. They showed the genius of God and our need to love.lineaa

LUCIO VANOTTI: in between fashion and architecture

Even as a child I had a passion for design, I used to read architecture and interior design magazines alternating them with comic books by Peanuts C.M. Schulz” says Lucio Vanotti, a young designer from Milan, who grew up in a sunny mountain village in the province of Bergamo. “The choice between fashion design and architecture has not been easy. I believe these two passions coexist in my work and who knows how they will evolve“. Trained at Marangoni school of fashion in the nineties, Milan as his true home,  he lived there for more than four decades. Reductionism and detached purism with a certain adversity towards ornament, Vanotti’s style summarizes the instances of fashion of his time with geometric  formalism of cut, shape and volume, with a constant reference to design. The rough and ascetic silhouette of his clothes are inspired by the philosophy of Adolf Loos, it translates beauty in one only shape without making it depending on the ornament and its a Goal! His first project was in 2004. A small collection of t-shirts for a Japanese  showroom  named LUCIO, then, by involving the designer Marika Masi into the project, the collection with the brand February was born, from here consensus and satisfaction, by the creative gota of his city. 2012 is the decisive year. “It was time to have fun all the way to enter fully into my creativity“. With the primary focus on his name, Lucio Vanotti, its line becomes a brand: the space of personal expression for a minimal and cross collection, to decompose and recompose at his will, but most of all new, because very rarely he would abandon himself to common retro quotations.

A game: can you please state an artist allined with your aesthetic and with your brand’s soul? Carl Andre. How would you define your style? Icy, intimate and concrete.

Carl AndreWork by CARL ANDRE, founding father of minimalism.

How do autumn winter 2013 male and female collections grow? They are born by the union of two sensations:solid and liquid, black / gray / blue. As for other collections inspiration is linked to architecture. This season I imagined a construction of concrete with the shape of a cube, which contrasts with the blue of sky and the blue of sea. What developments? I studied perpendicular forms overlapping parallelepipeds. I played with the light of blues and white in contrast with grays and blacks, keeping focus on substance.

Lucio Vanotti-F-W2013c

What is Beauty for you? Truth, in all its forms, just like sincere and innocent beauty of animals. As a designer, Where do you draw your inspiration from? My daily life is my source of inspiration. I can stop in front of a work of art, such as a chair. A stranger in the subway. Curiosity is everything. Feeling the spirit of things that surround us. Go beyond the surface.

Lucio Vanotti-F-W2013

Projects for the future? first of all to continue to express myself freely; I have many projects, one for all, deepen my accessories collection.

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