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TFP: You are known not only as a designer but as an artist, having presented performance installations as well as other works. How would you describe yourself?
SG: My being a fashion designer and an artist is not like having a double soul, but it yields completeness and is complementary for my professional identity. Art and art contamination represent a unicum, not another path, but a parallel work, that often blurs and blends with fashion.
TFP: Your current line appears to be largely influenced by the 60’s and the 90’s. What decade would you say you draw the most inspiration from for your pieces?
SG: The 60’s, for sure. That was a magical time for fashion, where the first experimentation with new lines and fabrics started.
THE FINE PRINT: Your mission states that your designs represent a “new classicism.” Can you explain to us what that means exactly?
SYLVIO GIARDINA: Haute Couture‘s traditional inclination towards disrupting schemes doesn’t necessarily translate into a break. Indeed, this often represents the result of studies, in which fashion designers identify needs, changes and techniques in order to affirm a new aesthetics. Thus, we can talk about a “new classicism”, that is the influence, conveyed and experienced, gradually becoming a status, a model we can get inspired from. In my own case, mine is an encounter, a blend between purest classicism and a strong innovative drive.
TFP: Your pieces seem to often be defined by an extremely sophisticated, refined shape and playful, youthful colors. Is this juxtaposition a reference to youth vs. adulthood?
SG: The selection of shapes, silhouettes and colors surely constitutes a very strong message for a fashion designer. Garments – whether essential or fancy, with a clean or asymmetric design, dyed in a pristine white, black or colorful palette – are first and foremost a fashion designer’s “words” and message.
I don’t believe that in the polished research there is a distinction between young and adult people. I rather think that it is the manifestation of one’s individuality, in which any person, regardless of their age, can find themselves.
TFP: It seems that since your inaugural Fall 2011 line, your pieces have grown more playful and lively, with more skin being shown and brighter colors being featured. Does that ring true to you, and has that been a purposeful choice?
SG: Of course, I acknowledge there has been a growth and, obviously, it has been intentional. The research in the field of fashion – of its technologies and fabrics – and especially the contamination with art – which to me represents a constant inspiration and exchange more than many other disciplines – have been driving my work to change not only in a succession of collections and seasons, but also to become a manifesto for a new aesthetics of the feminine silhouette. This is something I feel I haven’t exhausted yet nor expanded in-depth.
TFP: Would you say that each collection builds off of its predecessor? Or do you start with a new idea every season?
SG: I believe I agree with both questions. There’s a link between seasons, as there’s a new inspiration for each collection. An image, a music, a shape can turn into the sap of a new idea, but the creative work is a process rooted in time, looking at its past path and drawing from it, not to repeat but to regenerate itself.
TFP: Your current line also brings to mind the art-deco movement. Is that something that inspired your recent pieces? Do you often draw inspiration for your pieces from the art world?
SG: Art is the “mother” of my inspirations.
We don’t necessarily need to have artistic knowledge but what we need is a curiosity, which is the drive towards knowledge, towards a real interest. In my case, each day, I feed my visionary world on images, turning it into a design when the pencil draws on paper.
TFP: What are your plans for your label in the near future?
SG: With the Fall/Winter 15-16 collection, I have designed a capsule collection of accessories, made of earrings in mirroring Plexiglas and turtle collars. I must admit I really enjoyed creating this collection and it has driven me to do more specific research to aid me in a complete jewel line for Summer/Spring 2016.