A sophisticated project, intrinsic and extrinsic qualità, a concrete and personal aesthetics and a conscious eye to the market. The key features that have made important interior design during the Giò Ponti’s era after the second world war are the same ethical figure of the woman’s fashion brand founded by Paolo Errico in 2014 when he launched it with a spring – summer collection. With a focus on knitwear, the designer’s brand is dedicated to experimenting together with quality and functionality. In this interview, Errico recounts his debut, his collections and his plans for the future.
Paolo, you have experienced in important Italian fashion houses, why did you decide to leave them to found your eponymous brand?
The various experiences passed on in fashion houses such as Calvin Klein, Versace, Agnona and Cavalli contributed to my training. In particular, the confidence I received when I was 20 years old by the Versace and Zegna managers developed my concreteness on the “product”, especially the knitwear, increasing my desire for expression. Having to continually compare my creativity with the merchantability of the product and the style required for a given target have balanced in me the “beautiful aesthetic” and the functional product: the design. The collection was born out of play and desire to experiment, then developed into a real and huge work, but I never left the collaboration with other brands, both luxury and large distribution.
What is the fashion idea that is at the base of your collection?
For me fashion is art, synthesis and syntax of the social avant-garde. Craftwork, fantasy, rebellion. Expression of a functional pleasure, but also means to know your consumer, focus on product specialization and high quality standards. Fashion is also the means through which I dialogue with humanity and my collections of clothes are the messages I entrust to the present and to the future, hoping to leave the mark of my soul in this life.
Sartorial approach and a concept of functionality that marries though with an uncommon vision of dress. How do these three elements converge?
The convergence of these three elements, for me, generates a design object. The cutting edge does not necessarily exclude tailoring, care, attention to detail and all the knowledge of a culture based on craftsmanship as it is ours. I think knitting in this sense is just the emblem of everything I’ve just said: the blend of craftsmanship, technology and design. The way you wear a knit is a cornerstone of my collections: the “transformistic” jerseys inspired by the primordial shapes of the circle, triangle, and square can be worn overhead or backward, changing each time and making the garment multifunctional, versatile, free to be interpreted.
In your statement is declared that the garments are not mass produced, and that each piece becomes special. How can a brand that has this vision survive when mass consumption appears increasingly important in terms of numbers?
I believe that in such a competitive market as today, there will always be a gap between the mass consumer and a niche elite. I point to the latter and in a world like ours, so many niches can form a real market. The garments are personalized by the same customer I seek to satisfy thanks to the partnership with small Italian producers who for years follow me and who with “hands of fairy” are able to realize the required products.
How did the collection come out for next winter?
A modern and surreal setting encounters the abstractionism and rigor of the Bauhaus, immersed in that hidden charm that recalls the works and studies of the artist designer Anni Albers and the painter Victor Vasalery. Art is precisely the main source of inspiration for this collection as ever since it is the primordial geometric architecture and shapes. A nostalgic-romantic alchemy that dates back to the early 70s, passing through the theories and studies of the 40s and 50s and Op-Art.
What are the future plans for Paolo Errico?
I would like to continue to share my experience and passion for knitting and contribute to the development of new techniques and materials and be remembered for this. I also feel ready for an imminent project: a collaboration that will lead me to a major relaunch of a brand of the past.
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