The world is full of beautiful ideas. They inspire us, interest us, involve us and sometimes even overwhelm us. Every time one arrives we live a precious moment, I would say magical: the moment of possibility. Because having a good idea is not enough. Cultivate it, nourish it, make it happen … that’s where the truth comes out. It is there that we discover if the idea can with passion and constancy turn into something, in reality. In an exclusive interview, the two fashion designers Mario Costantino Triolo and Virginia Severini tell us about their contemporary challenge: to transform the dream, the idea, into a project, thus making it feasible and realized. In their professionalism and personality, the courage to intuit and welcome the idea. It is precisely from this enterprise, from this will, from this great challenge that a lively interview of words and reflections begins. With two talents who make many dreams of wearable and all special.
Your creations are born from a long and laborious creative and production process where craftsmanship and tailoring are essential elements. Being able to get an idea to wear, turn a sketch into a finished garment or accessory is… complicated!
Mario Costantino Triolo: “We can say that the sketch represents only 1% of the work interior. Knowing what is being done is already very important as the remaining 99% will be done by tests, by reading that sketch, by the difficulty of finding solutions, by the costs to break down, by so many phases. The fashion designer must be able to read the time in which he is staying, remaining faithful to his DNA but it is important to have a reading of the time in which he lives. Knowing the technique gives you the opportunity to break down production processes that have been left to others before: the know-how must be protected, it is very precious. Everything I learned on the field, I only did a short training course, I am a self-taught: thanks to the technique in this period I was able to make prototypes and therefore not only put the idea on paper but give shape to garments that already exist, need to be put in place a bit, I do not replace the prototypist’s work but I can speak her language “.
Virginia Severini: “From the sketch to the realization… yes it is really difficult. Execution is the most difficult part and as far as made in Italy is concerned, production is truly a luxury, the costs are very high but the product is excellent. The process of making and realizing the famous sketch is long: you have to insist on the idea and its realization, find someone willing to carry it out and find someone who goes further, facing the problems of the realization itself. For example, when I decided to create the Love Letter it was not easy at all but a very skilled goldsmith craftsman helped me, he supported my idea even though I was at the beginning: it is precisely here that the Italian genius resides, to be able to find the second way to get to the point. The search for alternative materials such as wood or brass, the processes such as the carving, the craftsmanship of the masters who make the bag conceived a reality … the process lasts months, is very laborious”.
To operate the whole machine requires a constant and a not indifferent commitment. You have to deal daily with many different and intense activities…
Mario Costantino Triolo: “The designer is a director: to complete the project, different tasks, manufactures and companies enter the field. We little dreamers think, do, follow the garment to the end customer. We develop everything and this is the real made in Italy “.
Virginia Severini: “I remember at the beginning I went around with my car, knocking on the doors of the various craftsmen. In garages, in small workshops where true Italian craftsmanship still exists and where a very precious tradition is kept. We do not have a production chain with our brands equal to a great brand but we allow these companies to survive and maybe these make others survive: this too is sustainability. We manage to adapt, we have a great ability to adapt, a strong propensity for change: the dream changes, grows, goals change. All this is tiring but at the same time stimulating; discipline, willpower and a lot of work are needed.”
The concept of exclusivity is sewn into your Mario garments and kept in your bags, Virginia: can you overcome the heritage, the assonance of luxury as homologation? In the case of bags, is the logo and the display of this still predominant?
Virginia Severini: “There is no luxury without exclusivity! The unique piece, cured in design and quality, is a timeless object made to last more than one season, sometimes more than a whole life, is handed down. Compared to a few years ago, there is a greater opening, many women are looking for the accessory to stand out and not to homologate. They don’t need a status symbol, the reassurance of the logo, they go further, towards uniqueness “.
Mario Costantino Triolo: “There is a strong return to the shop in a modern way. The sartorial creations go beyond the concept of seasonality that stylists of well-known brands have spoken a lot about these days. Now it’s a must, but we emerging brands have always carried this forward, thus also containing the expensive costs of the collections”.
It’s true. The emerging or niche brands have been carrying on the theme of the no season and often of the unique piece for many years. We have long embraced this theory, a friend of a fashion that reduces waste, supports designers and looks in the direction of exclusivity. In the wake of this reflection then I ask you… what can not really miss in your creation?
Mario Costantino Triolo: “My clothes have a story, a story can be read between the folds of my clothes: I like to invent and tell characters, not simply to design a dress that is an end in itself. My latest collection, Grace, for example is inspired by two very different women, distinguished by their own personality. The strong, rock soul of Grace Jones and the romantic charm of Grace Kelly. Two women living together in the collection. In my creations there is never a lack of glamor, sparkle, femininity of sensual but romantic, tailored clothes”.
Virginia Severini: “What never fails in every woman’s bag? The keys to houses of course! And in mine… Well, I think the bag is a special accessory: it must be with you for a long time, so make you feel at ease but at the same time be particular, make even the simplest look exclusive”.
Fashion has always absorbed, assimilated and reinterpreted everything we experience. It is an expression, a message, sometimes a declaration. How will this moment be reflected on her?
Virginia Severini: “What we wear carries a message, it is a way of expressing oneself. I think this moment will lead to the creation of wearable clothes and accessories. For example, I’m working on a bag designed to be worn every day, easy, rediscovering the weave”.
Mario Costantino Triolo: “A dress, a bag, an accessory are real armor. When we feel good in them, in our clothes, we are more confident and others perceive it. This period, however difficult and delicate, was also an opportunity: I perfected my technique, creating prototypes and corsets.”
Do you think it is possible to build and define Made in Italy as a single network, a solid community?
Virginia Severini: “A single network is very difficult but in general I have developed relationships, collaborations and contacts with other designers with whom I have been in solidarity over the years and they have been with me. For example, I collaborated with Caterina Moro. Unity is strength, it is not a simple saying but reality.”
Mario Costantino Triolo: “It is difficult to bring together many people, heads and skills and therefore to form a unique network, but certainly the made in Italy binds many artisans, brands and small dreamers, it is a precious undergrowth. It is the creative genius, the ingenuity to design and find new solutions already.”
A message for our readers?
Virginia Severini: “Let’s make this period, moment a real Renaissance. Believe in small quality brands, be more aware of what you buy, choose the value of made in Italy”.
Mario Costantino Triolo: “Italy was born on craft shops, alive with art, sacrifice, ingenuity. You will be able to find something truly unique and recognize its right and true value”.
In their words the strength, in their eyes the passion, in their creations the knowledge and the dream become reality. Thanks to Mario Costantino Triolo and Virginia Severini for being the protagonists of this exclusive interview.