Saturday, December 20, 2014

Adriana Delfino and her tactile fashion sense

2014 Fashion Friday closes with Adriana Delfino and her passion for fashion, history of fashion and fashion critique. 
A Turin fashion designer, fashion professor and blogger, Adriana designed the Sar.To fashion event with the floating bubbles together with Walter Dang to celebrate Turin fashion designers and Turin's creativity.
We met her in her downtown studio and got to listen to her life, career and fashion philosophy. 





















Fashion has always run in Adriana's family since everybody could sew and one of her uncles was a tailor. Growing up, she used to spend the summer in her parents' native Apulia house, on the heel of the boot, where she played with her uncle's mannequin. Her fashion designer career really started back then, when she made her dolls' clothes with all the fabric scraps she was given as a present.
After setting fashion aside during the high school years, to major in foreign languages and literatures, she came back to it after spending a year abroad in Germany. It was in Germany that she realized that her real passion was fashion. Back in Turin, she decided to complete her education in fashion and enrolled into a vocational school to learn the tricks of the trade. Finally, in 1988, she opened her studio.

Adriana defines herself as a seamstress rather than a glamorous fashion designer, as we mean it today. She is the kind of artist who follows her senses and feelings when creating, in fact, only after feeling the textures of the fabrics and looking at their colors, she can visualize how to shape them. So, the sketching phase has become unnecessary because limited in its flat dimension.  
Her senses, especially the touch, have an important role in her creative process and this is also one of the things she teaches the children who take her children fashion workshops: touching and recognizing the fabrics by their texture, noise and movements. Just like each occasion has its dressing style, so each fabric has its sound, movement, cut and can be used for a specific style. 
At the same time though, Adriana isn't anchored to her vision but her collections can organically develop and change during the working process. 

Gotico bianco collection: Adriana Delfino closing the fashion show; photo by Stefania Bonatelli
Within fashion, one of Adriana's real passions is the history of fashion which is something she studied on her own and that she also teaches to show her students how fashion can reinterpret history and how history determined clothes and accessories.
The 1920s and 1930s are her favorite ages because of the women who made of fashion the business we know today and  who were real turning points. Madeleine Vionnet and Elsa Schiaparelli are two of her favorite fashion designers ever. Many things happened during those years and that mix of elegance, culture, social commitment, entrepreneurial spirit and creative innovation are what Adriana is most fascinated from. 

Past ages, especially from the 18th century on are the well Adriana draws her inspiration from. We all saw an example of her reinterpretation of past fashion styles during the Sar.To inauguration show in November, when 3 models were wearing dresses inspired to 1700, 1800 and 1900 fashion.

Sar.To inauguration fashion show on November 20 2014: models wearing Adriana Delfino dresses
A major sense of lightness is what the greater public perceives through her style, as well as her deep sense of religious and sacredness. As a Roman Catholic, Adriana loves the cross symbol and has used it her collections. In fact, her family's southern origins, the way religion is experienced and reflected in the local architecture and daily life has helped shaping her aesthetic sense.
The game of light and shadows inside the southern churches, the spirituality of the candle light, the architecture, especially the Trani cathedral, the contrast between the white of the stone and the people's dark clothes have shaped her sense of aesthetics and color. In fact, Adriana likes to emphasize the seasonal contrasts with black and white to add an extrasensory dimension to her winter and summer collections.

Aria collection, photo by Maren Ollmann
Unlike the average contemporary designer, Adriana doesn't create with a specific purpose or use in her mind, she rather creates a style from the materials. This is what makes her a stylist over a designer.

History of fashion, touch sense, materials and cinema are the sources of her inspiration, in fact her last collection is titled Shangai Espresso as a tribute to Marlene Dietrich's 1932 movie Shanghai Express. This collection is mainly in black and white and their nuances and it includes Asian prints, feminine skirts and sartorial jackets.

Her religious faith, the contrast between light and shadow, colors, textures and materials can be seen in Adriana's jewels too. Actually, that's where she really unchains her creativity because as she explained the essence of an outfit, its mood, is in the accessories, jewelry, in particular.
Being destined to a specific purpose and use, clothes are limited by their wearability; on the other hand, jewels complement our outfits, and dressing it up or down, are much more versatile. 
This is where Adriana enjoys her greatest freedom of experimentation of materials and shapes; she works with anything she can put her hands on: metals, fabrics, stones, leather, even talc!
For example, she sculpted crosses out of talc from the regional mine in Prali: after drilling tiny holes into a cross pendant, she decorated it with hand-stitched stones.
   
hand cut talc cross and decorative elements
Another symbol Adriana has drawn her inspiration from is the moth for which she has created The White Plume Moth, a full collection of both clothes and jewelry. In this case her jewelry is particularly elaborated, showing an array of materials and textures to exemplify the moth symbolism and its beauty.

The White Plume Moth
In the Flores Noctis collection we can admire the unique combination of lace, black leather and crystals.
Flores Noctis, photo by Maren Ollmann

Adriana Delfino is a woman of many arts: a fashion designer with a strong sense of texture, a jewelry artist, a fashion history and fabric professor and also a blogger. 
Feeling the lack of the what used to be fashion critique, she started Agaisnt Fashion a blog where she comments fashion the latest trends and products, classifying them as bello - beautiful or brutto - ugly.
Over the time her blog has gained a big reputation, making her feared by the fashion world even though she has always declared that her blog reflects her mere personal opinions.

What else can we add?
No other city in Italy could have a fashion designer like Adriana Delfino, follow her on her website, Pinterest and Facebook accounts and Italian blog where you can also find her contacts!


  





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