Sergio Fiorentino, an artist who translates the charm of “his” Noto into unique paintings and artworks

For the 48-year-old artist Sergio Fiorentino, from Catania but now transplanted to Noto, the city of Syracuse represented a fundamental turning point, a watershed in his work and existential path: having fallen in love with the cradle of Baroque, unique for its lights, colors, inspirations and sensations, he moved there permanently, using a space in the refectory of an 18th century convent as his studio. He has therefore resumed painting, a passion put aside after his studies at the Academy of Design and Visual Communication Abadir to devote himself to the sale (and restoration) of design objects, pouring into the paintings a vision that could be defined as classically contemporary, defined by portraits, faces and figures rendered in quick and decisive brushstrokes in shades of blue, red, brown and white, then manipulated through scratches, abrasions and buffering that give an evanescent air to the whole, accentuating the feeling of silent immobility, suspension that characterizes the canvas.

Fiorentino’s artworks, exhibited in the permanent collections of several museums (including the MacS and the Fondazione La Verde La Malfa in his hometown), have been included in numerous trade fairs and exhibitions hosted by various museum institutions, from the Musei Civici to the Eremitani in Padua, to the Roman gallery RvB Arts, from the Fondazione Mazzullo in Taormina to the American Palm Beach Art Fair.We met him in his house-studio in Noto, right in the center of the town that has been a Unesco World Heritage Site since 2002, full of finished works or works in progress, manifestations of an all-round creative flair that also finds application in furniture and objects that escape classification. 



When and how did you start painting?

“After studying restoration and, later, painting at the Abadir Academy in Catania, my passion turned into work, with the opening of a small gallery in town where I sold – and restored, too – design objects of the twentieth century, from futurism to the ’60s. Ten years ago, when I came to Noto by chance, I fell in love with it, finding myself changing my life from one day to the next; I closed the store, which was doing very well, and I started painting again. The first exhibition came with Vincenzo Medica, despite the fact that years have passed, it still seems like a dream, it’s a great fortune to be able to turn what you love into work, into life tout court”

From Catania to Noto, people continue to reach you and your atelier has become a local place to be

“In fact, a lot of people have passed through my studio, and the place, inside the former refectory of an eighteenth-century convent, is wonderful. Although they are separated only by an hour’s drive, Catania and Noto in my opinion could not be more different: the first is all black, lava, dominated by an active volcano, pervaded by a great energy, a whole other world compared to the second, completely white, suspended, metaphysical.”

Has the atmosphere of Noto, with the light, the sky, the unique colors, influenced your work?

“Certainly, it’s here that I resumed painting, such a context can only be present, starting with the blue, which in my idea is a sort of amniotic liquid in which the figures begin to form; my painting is visually linked to the sky of Noto, the complexion of the faces recalls instead the plaster, the stones, the walls of the buildings, with all the cracks and signs of time, not to mention the suspended energy that is felt, especially in winter.”


What techniques do you use to intervene on the paintings?

“I usually make faces or bodies in blue (a shade that is present in all my works, even when it’s not immediately visible), then I paint the complexion in oil and, when the color is still fresh, I scratch it, almost to the point of flaking it, so as to bring out the background, as happens in the series of portraits with plants where, after the first draft, I intervened by removing the material and making the leaves come out.”

Or in the series of bodies…

“Exactly, I did the same in the paintings about the divers, figures in blue that are suspended, immobile, without a point of departure or arrival, as if they were crystallized forever in the dimension of the painting.”

What else are you currently working on?

“To a series of furnishings in materials typical of the Sicilian decorative arts of the eighteenth century, in particular of the Trapanese, which boasts an extraordinary tradition with workers who, even at that time, used silver, brass, coral or lapislazzulo. For example, I’m working on a piece of furniture with garfish, a link to the Dreamers’ paintings with fish: these are limited editions, nine unique pieces, each one different from the other. Then there are two pieces of furniture with very thin wires running through a brass plate, filled with lapis lazuli powder in shades of blue or red coral powder.

Among the works in progress there is also a creation in embossed copper, born from a chance encounter with a very good craftsman whom I saw in action, an exponent of the third generation of a family of puppeteers; together we made this kind of sculpture, a totem with two modules. In the past, instead, I have made ceramics inspired by my recurring themes, such as that of the divers”.


Who are the artists and designers you are inspired by?

“There are many, from Ico Parisi and Gio Ponti to a painter like Antonio Donghi (a leading exponent of magical realism, ed.), the latter excites me for his ability to portray figures of everyday life as if they were “embalmed”, frozen in time; It reminds me of the Sicilian tradition of the bambinelli or papier-mâché statues, it’s as if he put them inside a glass bell, stopping them forever, in some ways I also try to fix an instant, as in diving, which we are used to seeing as a moving image and in my paintings become, instead, a fraction of a second eternally suspended.

I love what is ancient, I like to create works that have a current language and at the same time linked to the past, this is also true for the paintings, in which the faces are of real people, who for various reasons have a meaning for me, inserting them in the canvas, however, I try to extract them from the space-time dimension, in fact there are never references to places or times, in some cases even to gender, so that some subjects could be male or female, as if they came from another planet.”

How would you describe your style?

“When I paint I strive to be as essential as possible, both in terms of imagery and color rendering: I basically use four colors, white for light, a brown shade for shadows, and two opposite hues, red (which in my vision is the soul, the spirit) and blue, which represents flesh, the matter.”

Discover more about the artist  SergioFiorentino 

https://sergiofiorentino.it/About

Ph. Davide Musto

The new Italian Wave: Ludovico Tersigni

Ludovico Tersigni is among the most talented actors who belong to a new Italian generation that is having great success, especially thanks to Netflix. His success is due to his participation in two of the most loved and followed series, not only by teenagers, such as Skam Italia and Summertime. Very shy and not inclined to social media, we met him in Rome, where, exclusively for MANINTOWN, he dressed as a dandy, the protagonist of a Roman night in the 30’s in this special service you will discover here.  



How was your passion for cinema born?

The passion for theatre and music (I love playing the guitar) was born first while the one for cinema came later. I started when I was in primary school with my first performances and then I kept on cultivating this passion at an amateur level in middle and high school.

When did you tell yourself “I want to be an actor”?

I haven’t said it yet! It was a very smooth thing and I tried to seize all the opportunities. I made my first movie, Arance e Martello (Oranges and Hammer), with Diego Bianchi and that audition was my chance. I was selected to play a role and then the movies went to Venice, where I met Vittorio Pistoia, who asked me if I wanted to be part of his agency to give it a try, and I accepted, even if I still had to graduate.

Nobody has seen my degree since but, on the other hand, I did many things, many auditions and I kept on playing very formative roles in the following years. It has been a difficult journey, for example the movie called “Slam. Tutto per una ragazza” with Andrea Modaioli. I needed to train because the protagonist was a skater and I had to reach a good level in a very short time. It’s a risky sport that can cause many injuries. Therefore, performing with the idea that I shouldn’t hurt myself has been a great challenge.



You love challenges…

Not only in the cinema, but also in sports, such as climbing, where risk is more controlled; you know your level when you approach a wall and you know you are safe.  

According to you, why did Skam Italia have an incredible success?

Skam Italia is the loyal portrait of today’s reality. The success is due to this loyalty. The producers, directors and actors don’t want to provide a model, but an idea of ​​what high school is for us today. In addition, they want to underline the complex issues that everyone has to face in the age of the constitution of our personality, memories that will stay with us forever. In my opinion, this is the strongest point of Skam: its non-belligerence towards young people. It is a declaration of alliance, “we are by your side”. It is also a question: “we believe that these things exist, have they ever happened to you?”. The best thing is that they answer, empathize, and talk about them. Moreover, the series has been able to involve different generations.



In the series, your character evolves and grows. How much of you is there in Giovanni, your character?

In Giovanni there is perhaps a part of me that I have left aside. Nobody would like to grow up. As Caparezza says: “I have a project in my mind, to be a teenager forever”. Giovanni is like the sum of the experiences that I had in high school and that remained unexpressed.

Did you watch the other version of Skam?

Yes, but after season 1. I watched the first episode before starting to shoot and something of Skam France and it was interesting to see different interpretations and themes in each country. I think that Skam is one of the best projects I have ever participated in.  



Did Summertime arrive after Skam? How did you experience it?

It’s definitely an entertaining series and its goal is to be more welcoming, aiming at a wider audience. On a social level, Skam is a mine because it opens up spaces. On the other hand, Summertime welcomes and they cannot be compared.

According to you, why are we experiencing a wave of teen-genre TV series?

I think that it’s due to the age of the audience that today it is very young. For example, when I was in middle school, I used to go to the cinema with my friends at the weekend. It was a habit and we used to fight even over the choice of the movie. It’s a completely different method of use. I am sorry to see that young people are very “addicted” to screens; if there were more balance, they probably would choose to do other activities too.



Today the youngs are also very linked to social media. You are a slightly different example…

Time management is very delicate. You risk spending one or two hours in front of your mobile and then you haven’t done anything. You saw some of your friends’ photos and what they did in their IG stories, you “joined” their lives, but in a virtual way. Therefore, my question is: are we still able to stay together in real time, to go out, organize, leave and do things in order to meet? Or is talking on the phone enough to have that relationship? This is why I am trying to invest my time also in other things that are not only virtual.



What passions do you cultivate in your free time?

In the last few years, I had a manual crisis; I realized I wasn’t able to do many things by hand and I started a journey that touched many fields, from restoration (I attended a luthier academy) to creating an acoustic guitar. I realized how manual work helps to free the mind because concentration makes you forget what you are thinking about and, therefore, thoughts clear up. Doing something by hand, focusing on something and then seeing the work finished is not just a great satisfaction, but it’s also a sort of therapy. Now, I am attending a clay sculpture course and I have recently finished my first Venus and I am also building a very difficult horse bust. It takes me a lot of time, but my teacher is happy.



What projects do you have for this summer 2020?

We are working on the second season of Summertime and we are leaving all together for Ravenna soon. In the new series, there will be interesting developments and growth in the characters, who met last year… stay tuned!



Manintown x Gucci

Photography: Manuel Scrima @manuelscrima

Video: Marlon Rueberg @marlonrueberg

Camera operator: Jacopo Lupinella @jacopolupinellaph

Talent: Ludovico Tersigni @ludovicotersigni

Art Direction & Styling: Giorgia Cantarini @giorgiacantarini

Styling Assistant: Giorgia Musci @mushiland

Grooming: Francesca Bova @francesca_bova_

Location: Hotel Valadier – Roma  @hotel.valadier

Production: Manintown @manintownofficial

Theme SHIFT#4 BY XU & TIM ROWE from BLUESHIFT

Special thanks: Sonia Rondini e Lapalumbo comunicazione

Special Thanks: Sonia Rondini @sonia_rondini

New frontiers of well-being: SHA Wellness Clinic celebrates its 12th anniversary

A life-changing experience” boasts SHA Wellness Clinic, an internationally recognised holistic wellness resort, celebrating 12 years in business this year.  At SHA, health is viewed as the optimal state of physical, mental and spiritual well-being, providing each guest a newfound vitality in harmony with the environment.  Therefore, it’s no coincidence that the facility is located in a true natural oasis, a marine reserve of extraordinary beauty perched between the mountains and the water near the bay of Altea (in the Valencia region of Spain, near Alicante) overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and the Sierra Helada Natural Park.



The SHA method is a synthesis between Eastern ancient medicinal disciplines such as acupuncture, and Western technology including bioenergetic medicine, and the latest, most innovative discoveries of regenerative and anti-aging treatments.  The state-of-the-art therapy combines advanced tools for diagnosis and bioenergetic measurement in order to understand and prevent the body’s natural mechanisms of aging.  Beginning from lifestyle and nutrition, the SHA method integrates the most effective natural therapies including a highly therapeutic diet and incorporating the latest advances in Western medicine, in particular genetic and preventative medicine in order to shape each customer’s optimal health and well-being.  Additionally, a strong point of SHA is its team of specialists in a variety of disciplines who look at each guest in a holistic and non-specialist way.  The coordinated and controlled fusion of these disciplines significantly increases the positive impact that any of them would have individually. 

To guarantee the best results for each guest, SHA develops a personalised treatment plan that includes natural and medical therapies, together with a menu designed ad hoc by the resort’s restaurant, SHAMADI.  There are 14 health programmes available, each of which is meant to meet the needs and personal goals of the individual client who can experience services such as shiatsu, acupuncture, reflexology and cryotherapy, which reactivates metabolism and the immune system.  Practices of mindfulness and pranayama can be followed by a session of neuro-feedback and cognitive stimulation using futuristic machinery that helps rejuvenate the mind, created thanks to research by Harvard University.  Clinicians at SHA analyse stress level, cognitive ability, memory, and the capacity to manage anxiety, providing related exercises to improve each area. Here, guests rediscover the connection between the body and the mind in an effort to improve quality of life. Furthermore, they are taught how to bring this newfound knowledge back into their daily lives once returned home. 



SHA’s philosophy is to transforms people’s lives.  In fact, this concept was the starting point for SHA’s founder Alfredo Bataller Parietti, who himself suffered from health problems.  After receiving a worrisome diagnosis, he had the good fortune of meeting a doctor experienced in nutrition and natural therapies who instructed him on how to regain his health through the power of a balanced diet combined with natural therapies.  He decided to share this precious knowledge, and together with his family, began the unique project that today is SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain, with openings planned in Mexico and the United Arab Emirates.

From the founder’s own personal health battle, the SHA method was born, blending ancient disciplines with the most recent discoveries of Western medicine, thanks to the supervision of internationally renowned experts like Michio Kushi, considered the father of macrobiotics, who was appointed President of the World Organization of Natural Medicine in 1995.  Bataller Parietti, President and Founder of SHA explains, “I decided to utilise the most effective Eastern and Western therapies combined with a special diet of healthy and energy-rich foods, offered within a sustainable and comfortable environment.  I also managed to incorporate the most recent medical discoveries as part of the treatment.  This utopia is our SHA Wellness Clinic, which has not only received over 60 prestigious awards thanks to an incredible team of professionals, but above all, it has changed the lives of over 50,000 people so far.”



The SHA method is based on 8 main areas:  healthy eating, natural therapies, preventive and regenerative medicine, advanced dermo-aesthetics, cognitive stimulation and emotional health, well-being and inner balance, fitness and learning new healthy habits through the Healthy Living Academy.  Combined, these factors improve and increase physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing through a holistic and integrative approach.  

The detoxifying diet begins with food curated by the SHAMADI restaurant inside SHA and the Chef’s Studio, where chefs create gourmet dishes that eliminate refined carbohydrates and sugars, animal protein and dairy products in favour of seasonal and organic ingredients, such as unrefined grains (oats, millet, brown rice) legumes, soybeans, tofu and vegetables.  In addition, the menu incorporates several types of seaweed including blue, brown and red seaweed originating from Japan and the North Seas, a frontier in vegetable protein, as well as the subject of a nutrigenomics study of foods that promote longevity.  SHAMADI offers fusion cuisine balanced between Mediterranean and oriental traditions.  A personalised plan is also created based on each guest’s medical screening and the goals he or she is hoping to achieve.  The objective is for guests to not only acquire new nutritional habits, but also to fully and consciously learn to enjoy food in order to continue this lifestyle once back home.

Presently, conversation about curing illnesses is abundant.  Since its inception, SHA aims to take care of its clients’ health through prevention, researching medicinal practices and focusing its efforts on finding the best technologies and therapies to strengthen the immune system.  A strong immune system is essential for fighting viral infections.  As a result, SHA has created a specific program focused on strengthening the immunity to restore and stimulate the body’s natural defences, promoting it to effectively fight any external aggression.  In the same vein, the Healthy Aging & Preventive Medicine programme helps slow down the process of cellular degeneration and reignites the potential of each person to restore his or her health.

Another highlight of the clinic is the expansive neurological initiative led by Dr. Bruno Ribeiro which works to battle even the most severe states of stress and anxiety, maximizing cognitive abilities and promoting intellectual capacity.  “We start with an initial cognitive assessment and some tests, such as neurofeedback, to understand the level of stress, the general picture and the trend of the brain waves to probe what is not working and what should be changed.  Thanks to technologies co-developed by NASA and Harvard Medical School, such as Photobiomodulation and Transcranal Current Stimulation (TCS), we are able to achieve important results both in stimulating specific areas and functions of the brain to improve physical and mental performance, as well as in alleviating diseases and pathologies, such as in the cases of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients” says neurologist Dr. Ribeiro.  

SHA is not the ordinary SPA (although it also offers numerous body, facial and beauty treatments), but rather, it is destination where guests learn how to cultivate physical and emotional health, both inside and out.

Creative Class: A Conversation with Simon Foxton

Born in 1961, Simon Foxton is considered one of the most influential, visionary stylists and creative minds on the international scene.  After graduating in 1983 from Central Saint Martins in fashion design and launching his brand Bazooka, Foxton began working for i-D magazine, where he later began a long-term collaboration with Nick Knight that eventually led Simon to become the magazine’s art director.  Foxton has succeeded in mixing together and bridging sportswear, tailoring, streetwear and fetish styles in an experimental way.  His aesthetic sense helped define the new image of modern menswear.  On the occasion of the book release in collaboration with Stone Island, we interviewed Simon about his career path and his thoughts the past and future of fashion.

Tell us about your time studying and when you discovered your passion for photography and fashion.

I was at Central Saint Martins School of Art between 1979 and 1983 and I had a fantastic time there.  That was such a wonderful time to be young, attending art school, and especially living in London!  I don’t think I was a particularly hard-working student, but I made a lot of great friends there, many of whom are still close to me even today.  There was a lot of dressing up and going out to clubs and parties.  It was pretty amazing.  I had always enjoyed consuming magazines and loved imagery but never considered actually creating any of my own.  It wasn’t until after I left college and started designing in the real world that I realised how difficult and also time-consuming it was to design.  Caryn Franklin, a friend of mine back then who was Fashion Director at i-D at the time, asked me if I’d be interested in doing some styling for the magazine.  I gave it a go and quickly realised that it felt right for me.  I liked its immediacy.  You had an idea, found the clothes, shot them, and there was the final result.  No more ordering fabrics, dealing with outworkers, delivering to shops etc.  That was such a drag.  I’ve always favoured the path of least resistance.

You are considered a leading image-maker of men’s fashion.  What changes do you see in the industry during these last years?

I’m not sure if I ever really created “fashion looks.”  I have been an image-maker for quite a while now, but that’s just because I’ve been around a long time and haven’t died yet.  I’m often asked this question and I’m never too certain how to answer it.  I guess the most fundamental change is the size and scope of the fashion industry.  Now, there is so much of it, and such enormous wealth invested in it that it has become a much more high-risk environment to work in.  When I was starting out things were much more relaxed.  When shooting for magazines, credits were more of a suggestion than a necessity.  We were very much left alone to create what we wanted, with no art directors or commercial departments interfering.  It’s only more recently that I’ve realised how fortunate we were to grow up shooting in that sort of culture.  Of course, not everything was great, and some of the work was self-indulgent, but the great thing was that we could experiment, and also fail.  Failure is a crucial part of the creative process.  Sadly, that is not allowed now in the high-budget, tense, corporate world that fashion has become.

You started with i-D magazine in 1984.  Tell us some crazy stories about your work at that time and how this experience shaped your professional and private life.

I don’t think I have any crazy stories.  I’m not a particularly crazy or dramatic person, I think the most obvious impact on both my personal and professional life comes from the people I have met through work.  From meeting and working with Nick Knight at the very start, to asking Edward Enninful to model for me and then having him become my assistant.  Likewise, street-casting Steve McQueen for an i-D shoot and us becoming very close friends.  Or meeting the photographer Jason Evans who was interning with Nick Knight; we began working together back in 1990 and have done so ever since.  Also, all the other wonderful assistants I’ve had over the years, like Jonathan Kaye (now at The Gentlewoman) or Elgar Johnson (at GQ Style), or Nick Griffiths with whom I have an ongoing creative consultancy, &SON.  Or working with the wonderful Penny Martin at SHOWstudio, who is now the editor of The Gentlewoman.  They are all still very dear friends and extremely important people in my life.

Can you please choose 5 photos from your Instagram feed that are meaningful or important for you and explain why?

Nick Knight -i-D magazine , 1986

Very memorable shoot . We shot this at night in the streets around some old warehouses next to Tower Bridge .Back then it was deserted and derelict . These days it has been made into flats and work spaces that cost millions .The fire in front of the boys is actually me walking past with a big metal rake that we wrapped in paper and set alight.

This was from a story that Jason and I shot called ’Strictly’ . We shot it all around the streets near my house in Ealing , very suburban .Edward was assisting me at the time and he helped a lot with the casting .It was a fun shoot to do and was well received .

Jason Evans , i-D magazine 1991 .  Model – Edward Enninful .
Ben Dunbar-Brunton , i-D magazine 2009 

I’ve always loved this shot I did with Ben of the stunning model Dominique Hollington .Very simple and graphic .

This is a composite from a movie that Nick and I made for Walter van Beirendock’s retrospective exhibition in Antwerp .I had access to Walter’s total archive and he allowed me to mix up his collections to create wild looks . It was really great fun .

Nick Knight / Walter van Beirendonck – Showstudio 2011
Arena Homme Plus 2009

This was a kind of backstage shot that I took on the set of a shoot that Nick Knight and I did called Frillaz !I dressed these tough looking guys in some incredibly frilly frocks that I found online from an adult baby fetish site .I had pre-warned them before the shoot of what I intended to do but still felt a bit nervous about how they would reactbut they were all great about it . The whole shoot was a joy 

You worked with truly creative mind like Nick Knight. Who are the photographers/creative people more inspiring for you?

Nick Knight inspiring.  He is constantly creative and a very exciting person to work with; you always feel you’re in safe hands working with Nick.  In a different way, Jason Evans is an extremely inspiring photographer because he questions things and makes you question yourself.  Not in an undermining way, but more as a method of creating something totally new.  I’ve also always admired the work of Jean-Paul Goude.  I love his creations.

How was working at the exhibition When You’re a Boy?

Well, that was Penny Martin’s idea.  She curated it and did all the hard work of putting the show together.  It was very exciting to have an exhibition dedicated solely to my work at The Photographer’s Gallery.  I didn’t enjoy being the centre of attention on the opening night etc.  I’m pretty useless at all that stuff and prefer to stay more in the background.  But once the show was up and running, I did enjoy viewing it dispassionately, almost as if I was looking at someone else’s work.

How has your work changed during this global pandemic?

I continue to work with Stone Island, but since I am considered to be in a “high risk” category I have been fairly strictly self-isolating so have been doing my consulting via Zoom, which has been a godsend.  I gave up shooting editorials and my teaching work last year.

What kind of relationship do you have with social networks?

I’m on Facebook quite a lot just seeing what friends are doing or watching mindless videos.  It seems that Facebook is now just used by old codgers like me; I don’t think anyone young uses it anymore.  Instagram is fun, but again pretty mindless.  I enjoy posting pictures that I take when I see something noteworthy or beautiful, otherwise I don’t bother.  All those pictures of food, or children, give me a break!  I used Tumblr for years and absolutely loved it but then they spoiled it with their puritanical anti-porn stance that edited out anything even vaguely salacious.  I closed down my account and haven’t used it since.  I transferred a few images to my Instagram account @foxtonscrapbooks, but it’s not the same, to be honest.  Twitter, I use for news that’s it.  I don’t Tweet- never got to grips with it, really.  Any of the others I just assume are for kids and don’t bother with them.

What was the process of working on the Stone Island book?  And what was the biggest challenge in creating the book?

Myself and my business partner Nick Griffiths have worked with Stone Island for the last 12 or 13 years.  We art direct, cast and shoot all the campaigns and photo-based imagery.  Nick makes a lot of the moving image pieces for their online platforms.  We also consult with the design team there to give input on the collections, and we are involved in many other facets of the brand.  Sabina Rivetti from Stone Island approached me a couple of years ago with the idea of doing a book.  I think she already had the editor Eugene Rabkin in place at that time, as well as Rizzoli as the publisher.  My role as Art Director was really to steer the ship and make sure that it remained true to Stone Island’s “language,” i.e.  it must be modern, factual and almost industrial in feel.  Nothing too flashy or over designed.  I chose Rory McCartney as designer for the book as we had worked with him on the last one, Stone Island, Archivio and therefore he understood the aesthetic well.  We spent a long time trawling through masses of imagery looking for photos that were hopefully interesting and informative but that also hadn’t already been used in other publications.  For this, we had the assistance from a wonderful image researcher, Sarah Cleaver, who did an amazing job.  I think the main challenge was retaining the clean, dispassionate visual language of the brand but still producing a book that was interesting to see.  Hopefully we succeeded.

What are some of your future plans…do you still enjoy working in fashion?

At the moment with the way the world is, I haven’t made any major plans.  I take each day as it comes.  I still very much enjoy working with Stone Island, they are a fantastic company to work for.  But to be honest, I’ve rather fallen out of love with fashion and magazines.  I have stopped shooting fashion editorials as I find that the parameters magazines set and the adherence to credits that they impose are too stifling.  Perhaps I am just getting too old for all of that.  We’ll see what happens!


Earth Day turns 50. Ricky A Swaczy’s special reportage

On the occasion of the Earth Day, which promotes the rise of a new environmental awareness, we thought of collecting some inspirational images. 2020 is also a special year because it celebrates 50 years of Earth Day.

The special reportage by Ricky A Swaczy (Creative director and Founder of the Wabisabi Culture) captures the essence of a magical and illusory nature, which from darkness inveils the quietness of contemplation. A frame of transitory life. The evocative power of impermanent Nature

Instagram: @wabisabiculture

Interview to the brand strategist Yossi Fisher: the fashion system after Covid-19

We have interviewed Yossi Fisher, a brand consultant and brand strategist who also in this delicate period is carrying out international projects with costumers and associations. Here some reflections related to the phase that the fashion system is going through.

You are connected with many creative people around the world. What is the general sentiment of the people about this moment?

There are a lot of emotions circulating these days, and respectfully so.  There’s no denying the uncertainty of these times. What I’m noticing is while some are seeing the troubles it’s causing in their careers or businesses, the majority of those people are using this time as a way of re-assessing what truly makes them happy, and what they want to return to – or not, when this is all over. Ultimately,  it seems to be a time of great reflection, and people are using it as a way to step back and redefine the values their careers and businesses are built on, and their progressive relevance – or lack there of, as we move towards navigating a whole new set of industry landscapes.

How do you think the fashion system will overcome the crisis and rethink its models?

The fashion system is now forced to take a massive step back and re-asses itself in its entirety. Everything from freelance structures to content, production to manufacturing, retail to design and all the way though to Live streaming, Fashion Weeks, PR dynamics, and digital initiatives … and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As a system all of its components effect the Fashion Economy and how the industry operates as a whole. The entire idea of Fashion will be forced to take a massive step backwards in order for it to move forward. As a collective industry we all have felt in one way or another how broken it’s all become, but there was nothing truly driving change across all of its channels until now, making this a very exciting time.

In my opinion, there’s too much romance and idealism and not enough practicality in the system. I believe this crisis will be the catalyst for healthier business practices, as well as a stimulus for mental health initiatives, especially within freelance and creative communities. Many within those circles are already rethinking why they’ve put themselves through so much financial uncertainty and lack of job stability for so long.

As they find new interests and hobbies that make them happier during this forced pause, many are questioning what exactly it is they’re going to want to do after this is all over. Regarding Businesses, they will need to humanise their practices even further, and will have to face massive questions like; whether trading off ethical values for higher margins and selling more products is emotionally or environmentally sustainable, and how their supply chains and practices will be scrutinized by their consumers as people’s values and humanities change. Many feel that sustainability will be a driving force forward, but even that has its challenges; especially how it tends to price out many consumers who share its values, but can’t afford the slow fashion price points.

As we enter a world with less people employed, and strained finances, many businesses are going to have to strategically reframe their losses if they plan on getting ahead of the curve and have a hand in redefining the industry.

How do u see the future of the retail (physical stores vs digital?)

We are very far away from a completely online world but we are evolving for sure, there’s no question. Physical and digital will both play a massive part in the future of retail, but they will both have to be much more consumer centric. Physical spaces may need to downsize, integrate more digital components, hold less stock, and treat their spaces more as experiential than just a place to shop.

Dynamic in-store brand experiences that revolve more around their culture than products will be a good way to keep consumers coming back, which will usher in the opportunity for much more dynamic collaborations. Online digital initiatives will have to become more personal as well though. Currently E-com shopping lacks personalization and engaging emotional prompts, so having brand specialists go live with scheduled showings, presentations, and collection run-throughs (one on one with VIP’s or mass sessions, where consumers can chime in with questions to better understand their purchases) will be a great way to deepen community, trust and drive D2C conversations.

We will certainly witness more confusion and market disruptions while everyone finds their bearings. Physical retail may need to scale back to invest finances deeper in to their ecosystem, while the Digital realm may require more testing investment as the depths of its foundations and structures are still being explored. I believe the brands that will win he next 6-18 months will be the ones promoting more ethically driven, consumer-centric businesses models.

You started some live conversations with designers and entrepreneurs. What did u get from these dialogues?

I have really enjoyed the IG-Live Talks & Zoom Sessions I’ve been a part of during these times. It’s allowed me to share tips, strategies, and insights with so many communities and platforms (like here on MANINTOWN). More than anything though, I’ve really been using those opportunities to really listen to the ones I’ve been engaging with and the questions I’ve been receiving from our collective followings.

Taking an empathetic approach to these conversations has allowed me to forecast what the world will need post Covid-19. One thing I’ve noticed to be a constant though is the human approach in how these LIVE Talks have been playing out. We’re all vulnerable to these massive global shifts, and it’s obvious just how interconnected we all are. Everyone needs to remember that although we are all going through our own set of challenges, we truly are all in this together. Social media and online communities are offering support in many different forms, and that has really been beautiful to see.

What is your advice for the companies and brands to restart?

EQ is now more important than IQ. The future of companies and brands won’t be products or services; it will be empathy. Leading with empathy at this time and perpetually forward will fundamentally be the most important tool at our disposal.

The humans and businesses that are going to come out of this on-top are the ones that aren’t solely focussing on their problems, but rather on how to solve the ones everyone else is facing. For example; many people have been, and unfortunately will continue to lose their jobs.

As a boutique, perhaps a good idea would be to create a campaign initiative for people that have recently found themselves unemployed, offering a complete outfit (suiting, etc.) + a CV consultation (perhaps serviced through an outsourced professional). That way when businesses open up and start hiring again, these people will be ready and well equipped to hit the market and better their lives again. Consider this a stronger shift towards a Giving Economy.

If you’re a CBD company, perhaps integrate in to your culture a meditation series, exercise video’s, journaling tips, healthy eating to promote clean bodies, etc. Look at ways to help others with their mental health right now. Provide free structured self betterment initiatives, provide resources to nurture and support people’s mental spaces. Both those ideas show that your business actually cares, and that’s what people need now more than ever.

Innovating consumer appreciation initiatives across physical and digital channels will fundamentally compound success rates over time, deepen community appreciation, and strengthen customer relations.

To offer a starting point strategy, Businesses should be asking question like; what do our consumers care about,  what would elevate their lives, and how can we express to them that our values align with theirs? How do we do it in a way that isn’t a direct sell? How we do we humanise our approach?

These are the types of healthy, empathetic actions needed not only to restore our trust in brands, but more importantly, our faith in humanity.

yossifisher.com; IG: @yossi_fisher

Photographed by nathanrichardsphoto.com; IG: @nathanrichardsphoto

Goodbye Sergio Rossi

Sergio Rossi, the founding entrepreneur of the eponymous brand, died at the age of 84 and had contracted the coronavirus. A great entrepreneur and shoe maker from the Romagna district who gave his name to one of the best known brands of made in Italy.

Its history cannot be separated from that of San Mauro Pascoli, a small town in Emilia Romagna known for the birth of Giovanni Pascoli, poet and singer of nature and everyday life. The post-war years saw the transformation of the area with its footwear vocation.

The success of the cobblers, who roamed the villages and farms, led to the change and progressive abandonment of the more traditional agriculture and livestock activities. Thanks to him, the village was transformed into a large artisan shop specializing in the production of sandals, which were then sold in small shops on the Riviera.

From this first artisan activity a flourishing industry was born and developed, which specializes in women’s high fashion footwear. Together with the shoe factories, small companies specializing in the manufacture of semi-finished products – soles, heels and bottoms – and workshops for cutting uppers by hand and machine are born and thrive in the same district of San Mauro Pascoli.

A true industrial craftsmanship that has been able to establish itself on the global market, focusing on the quality of materials and manufacturing as well as on the originality of the design. So in 1958 in San Mauro Pascoli the Mir Mar was built, the first industrial-sized shoe factory, while the nearby seaside towns such as Rimini are in full swing, then celebrated by Federico Fellini in his Amarcord.

From this cultural closeness with the great director a curious legend was born: in the masterpiece “La Dolce Vita” (1960) the décolleté worn by Anita Ekberg seem to be those of Sergio Rossi, who in those years built his fortune by focusing on footwear female.

This is the context from which the adventure of Sergio Rossi begins, who follows in the footsteps of his father, a skilled shoemaker, from whom he resumed his activity in 1956, creating the first handmade sandals.

Riccardo Sciutto, CEO of the Sergio Rossi Group, was inspired by this story of authenticity, named by Andrea Bonomi, founder and president of Investindustrial, an independent financial group that acquires 100% of the company from the Kering Group.

Sergio Rossi is back in Italian hands and thanks to Sciutto’s vision, the path to relaunching the brand begins. 2016 with the sr1 collection, inspired by the square-tipped model of the early nineties represents the new beginning, in the sign of the brand’s most genuine aesthetics. A path in which the contemporary reinterpretation of one’s legacy is central.

Sergio Rossi had declared in 1988: Since the beginning of our industrial activity we have concentrated all efforts in the search for form, an element that is of primary importance in the shoe … After the shape, the focus is on the other two elements that complete the structure of a successful shoe: style and quality.

Once the three ingredients are perfectly calibrated, success simply becomes a logical consequence ”. Today, thanks to the “Living Heritage” company museum, it is possible to relive all the salient milestones of Sergio Rossi through a selection of over 300 of the most representative and innovative wooden shapes of the brand.

From the shape of the very first “Opanca” sandal from 1966 to the large plant and low heel shapes of the seventies, to the tapered shapes of the décolleté, to the timeless pump “Godiva”: a significant representation of the history of this extraordinary artist-craftsman of form.

Even before the important photographic campaigns, Sergio Rossi entrusts his image to artists and illustrators who have created recognizable and ironic illustrations and drawings for him. Among the first could not miss the eclectic illustrator and stylist Alberto Lattuada, who with his creations and jokes has animated the world of Italian fashion for over fifty years.

Then it was the turn of Miguel Cruz, who in addition to creating some illustrations to advertise Sergio Rossi in the early 70s, is also a stylist who makes use of Sergio Rossi’s collaboration for the creation of footwear to match the looks and clothes of his collections.

Always designs of great strength and incisiveness are those made by the Swedish Mats Gustafson, a name that has become famous for his important collaborations with Hermès, Dior and Yohji Yamamoto, as well as with magazines of the caliber of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. When the brand reaches success, the moment has come to create real advertising campaigns that define the imagination and the Sergio Rossi woman.

To immortalize his shoes to make them style icons are called Italian and international photographers who made the history of photography. We pass from still life images where the product is the protagonist, to those set and more seductive thanks also to the presence of the top model.

From the great Italian masters such as, to name just a few, Piero Gemelli, Oliviero Toscani, Fabrizio Ferri, Giampaolo Barbieri, Marco Glaviano, to the most celebrated foreign talents, such as Albert Watson, Miles Aldridge, Patrick Demarchelier, Steven Meisel, Michel Comte and Peter Lindbergh.

The gotha ​​of photography with Helmut Newton in the front row makes Sergio Rossi’s modernist style immortal. With him disappears a piece of history of Made in Italy and a charismatic figure of Italian footwear.

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#WHITEINSIEMESIAMOPIÙFORTI Focus on: MARCO MELIS EYEWEAR

Your name is synonym for eyewear made, built, designed and developed in Italy: the perfect combination of heritage and handicraft, with a future-forward vision.

“Making spectacles is like making a dress; this is what I want to offer to my client – so Marco Melis – every little detail can be analysed and selected to reflect the taste and needs of those who wear them.

The custom-made glasses can be tailored in terms of shape, but also on the inside the eyewear rod, where a signature or an inscription can be etched”.  

Melis has designed glasses since 1996, starting from the encounter with the craftsmanship masters to follow all the stages of eyewear design.

This passion led to the launch of MARCO MELIS EYEWEAR, brand that designs and produces limited-edition glasses and eyewear for special sectors, such as shipyards, automotive and motorcycle manufaturers. We sat down with Marco Melis and asked him about his path.

Which are the values and the philosophy of the brand?

At MARCOMELIS Eyewear we start from the design concept and to move on to development in our laboratories, in which we create the prototypes of models that are intended for other brands too. By making use of pantographs from the ‘60s and relying on the adroit hands of handicraft masters from Cadore, we create our collections, thus conveying our craftsmanship and Made in Italy flair.

What are the keywords to best define MARCOMELIS Eyewear?

For sure the sartorial cut, which caters to the needs of the clients or brands, consequently we are extremely versatile in the creation of our bespoke collections, hence the selection of the lenses, the plastic and the cut, which have to be in line with the eyewear.

The detail of the eyewear rod…

Inside the rods of my spectacles there is an inscription that represents the pride of my roots: “Made by an Italian“. We make everything in Italy, unlike other producers, which, although bearing the generic title “Made in Italy”, outsource to Countries that greatly differ from us in terms of culture, ethics and manufacturing background. Made by an Italian means responsibility, knowledge handed down over time, but also research and development.
Made by an Italian, first and foremost, is the work by a craftsperson who hand-makes an object that has been fully conceived, designed and made in Italy, as quality cannot depend on the title “Made in Italy”, but on the transfer onto the product of our handicraft values, as emanation of the history, creativity and resourcefulness of our land.

How was this photography project born? 

The photo shoot arose from the need to share our everyday reality with our clients even before they received our glasses. A photography project made by Carlo Mogiani and Matteo Curti.

How do you envision the sector will change after Coronavirus?

After Covid-19 there will be a huge demand for eyewear, as well as for many other products, due to the fact that many trade fairs have been cancelled. Hopefully, and we are rather optimistic to this regard, true Italian products will be much sought-after, in Italy and across the globe.

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Celebrating the Anniversary of Portugal Fashion Week

The 46th edition of the Portugal Fashion Week held in the suggestive Alfândega do Porto Congress Center location has closed after the first day due to the risk of Covid-19. Despite this event this edition marked the 25 years of the event dedicated to Portuguese fashion set up in 1995 and the 10 years of the BLOOM, platform dedicated to upcoming fashion designers. 

Throughout these 25 years, Portugal Fashion has showcased, nationally and internationally, 1,986 collections by 171 designers (national and international, renowned and upcoming designers), and 143 brands (clothing, footwear, and jewellery). “During Portugal Fashion’s 25th anniversary celebrations, we will inevitably evoke the history of the event and its important contribution to the promotion, enhancement and international expansion of national fashion.

Susana Bettencourt
Susana Bettencourt
Susana Bettencourt
Alexandra Moura
Alexandra Moura
Alexandra Moura
Alexandra Moura
Alexandra Moura
Alexandra Moura
Alexandra Moura
Alexandra Moura
Alexandra Moura

But, above all, our purpose is to aim for the future, with a set of initiatives that highlight the potential of Portuguese fashion and show the strength of this sector as a catalyst for talent, creativity and innovation in different areas”, explained Portugal Fashion’s project director, Mónica Neto.

There are several examples of emerging designers who, after training in Bloom, have consolidated their careers and are now on the Portugal Fashion calendar, such as Estelita Mendonça, Hugo Costa, Inês Torcato, David Catalán or Susana Bettencourt. The first day of show was mostly dedicated to young BLOOM designers. On show the collection by Maria Meira, Unflower, Rita Sá, 09. 0.9 Virus, João Sousa, Carolina Sobral and ARIEIV, in addition to the 3 winners of the “Novos Criadores PFN” competition, Ana Campos, Diogo Van der Sandt and Maria Gaudêncio.

All these shows have been done with closed doors due to the threat of the spread of Covid-19. Among the designers showcasing at BLOOM, UNFLOWER showcased a collection inspired by the work of Lucian Freud who portrayed Celia Paul on canvas with great emotional power, insistently and cold-heartedly for her vulnerability.

09 Virus
09 Virus
09Virus
09 Virus
09 Virus
Arieiv
Arieiv
Carolina Sobral
Carolina Sobral
Carloina Sobral
Joao Sousa
Maria Meira
Maria Meira
Maria Meira
RitaSa
RitaSa
RitaSa
RitaSa
Unflower
Unflower
Unflower

The collection is inspire by these dynamics – strength and weakness -, alternating serge and leather parts overlaid on tight, structured knits, patched with overlapping stitching and seams, and satin showing frailty and the romantic involvement. Maria Meira collection explores the dualism of light/shadow and the creative process is revealed by the quest for possible shapes behind a projection; this generates an ambiguous vision of a universe where light and shadow become one and turn into a pictorial representation of themselves with a collection of casual dark items enlightened by touch of yellow.

Warm colors with intense shades of ocher and orange for the the men’s sports collection by Rita Rodrigues de Sá who plays with materials, colors and details, as well as in pieces divided between the right and the wrong side, which reflect a state of  a decontracted fashion easy to wear. 0.9 Virus looks at sustainability focusing on water, a finite resource – a terrible waste of the source of being – and the ability of molten magma to recover.

The collection is made of mainly organic and recyclable materials – terry cloth, serge and denim in black and shades of blue, alluding to the power and exuberance of the resources. Black prints that distinguish the oil ripples on the crystalline water.

The collection of João Sousa is a tribute to his grandmother Belmira, the name “Bellamira” analogy is Bella (recalling the fantasy and all of that imaginary things) and Mira (the nickname of the grandmother). It represents all the struggles in life of the lady from the breast cancer to the loss of both legs because of the diabetes.

David Catalan
David Catalan
David Catalan
David Catalan
David Catalan
David Catalan
David Catalan

The fabric manipulation and the asymmetries symbolize the obstacles that rise when no one is expecting. The result is a unique assemblage of items for men and women where sophiscated constuctions and references are interwoven.

Carolina Sobral conceives a “complete wardrobe” for the modern-day woman. It consists of classic, casual and versatile lines, using timeless colours such as beige, green and black predominate, with touches of blue and yellow standing out.

While keeping to the aesthetics of label, “SHIFT” intends to present a functional, practical collection for sophisticated, contemporary women. BLOOM closes with ARIEV which has developed a series of unique and irreverent garments playing with over volumes and a punk mood for the clothing brand Lo Siento.

Among the designers to watch on the mail Potugal Fashion Calendar is the menswear line by David Catalán who revisits the universe of football casuals. Developed upon the wardrobe of the football fans of English teams, Catalan develops silhouettes that reflect the identity of the style football casuals, but with a relaxed attitude and joyful colors.

In the same urban mood is Maria Gambina who reinforces the brand identity with  graphics and materials with innovative, sustainable and recycled finishes. Bomber jacket, Trucker, Duffle coat and Trench coat are reinterpreted and deconstructed details normally used in the interiors of the pieces are highlighted and played with false pieces in unforeseen layers.

Maria Gambina
Maria Gambina
Maria Gambina
Maria Gambina
Maria Gambina
Maria Gambina
Maria Gambina

Looking at more experimental fashion is “Overload”  Susana Bettencourt’s manifesto that hrough her own material universe – Knitwear – she shows us how all the parts come together and give rise to hard shapes, a heavy structure and completely opposing universes. The designer is focusing on sustainable production and the “Overload” presentation is a way of fighting the mass, toxic production of fast fashion.

Last but not least, a name who is now also known internationally, Alexandra Moura took inspiration from the social neighbourhoods of Lisbon city. These cultural mixtures are a result of their coming to Portugal from Africa in the 70s and their adjustment to a different culture never forgetting their roots.

The collection mixes opposites, from the ” underground” with ethnical features, to the Hip-Hop with African influences. The classic of an antique generation contrasts the new generation’s streetwear, the traditional costumes to street art, creating contemporary and “retro” silhouettes.

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Shopping tips made in Italy

In a time of difficulty and isolation, we choose to support Italian craftsmanship, which is now also available online. With just a click, high-quality products made by skilled craftsmen and small art ateliers can showcase their creations.

ARTEMEST

https://artemest.com

For all lovers of home decor and interior design, your online shop not to be missed is Artemest (the name indicates the fusion of arts and crafts) which presents an extraordinary selection of furniture, lights, design objects and original gift ideas rigorously Made in Italy. Founded by the jewelry designer Ippolita Rostagno and the entrepreneur Marco Credendino, the selection includes talents and artisan shops that work different materials, from wood, Murano glass, precious metals, to marble and ceramics. A true celebration of artistic craftsmanship also thanks to the magazine, which tells and enhances realities through videos, photo reports, and interviews. The store was among the first to focus on the world of craftsmen and heritage companies to make them known to an international audience. As Marco Credendino himself explains, Artmest focuses above all on “handmade furniture products, not tied to well-known big brands. It is a very fragmented market, less ahead of distribution than fashion, where it is possible to give us greater added value, also through customization services. Thus a craftsman from the Marche conty manages to reach large customers of world luxury, perhaps based in Miami or Los Angeles, which would otherwise be impossible, and which would condemn him to sell only on a local market or at most on the Italian one “

BARROCO ITALIA

https://barrocoitalia.com/

An e-commerce that helps Italian craftsmen towards the internationalization and digitalization process by allowing sales directly from the producer to the consumer. An innovative project – born from an idea by Andrea Panarese, who comes from a background in Economics and Commerce in Cattolica and several experiences as Business Developer; Andrea has understood the potential of Made in Italy craftsmanship that thanks to new digital media can be preserved and promoted all over the world. The name of this particular online shop comes from the concept of Baroque (the art which shapes the city of Lecce, the hometown of Panarese), which in Portuguese translates into Barroco, a pun of words and a timeless concept that is renewed in different forms over time. The selection of the e-commerce features clothing and accessories for men with a wide choice of shoes (from classic to sneakers), bags and accessories, tailored trousers (among the best sellers together with shirts) up to a wide choice of jackets. Barroco also recently offers a selection for women with bags, jewelry, and small accessories. Among the news is the magazine that tells the stories of excellence of these small Made in Italy jewels. A journey into crafts in which the best traditions meet the new frontiers of digital with a very attentive customer care service.

MIRTA

https://www.mirta.com/

Focus mainly on high-quality leather goods which can be also played with surprising design. All this on Mirta, an online store that selects various firms completely made in Italy. A project founded by Martina Capriotti and Ciro Di Lanno who want to give voice and space to the small Italian artisans of luxury, especially in the fashion sector. The name evokes the rich symbolism of the myrtle plant which as the founders recall: “Myrtle is the plant dedicated to beauty. Think of Botticelli’s Venus: as soon as it emerged from the shell, the goddess covered herself with the myrtle, which then became the plant of beauty. So we liked to have this name that recalls the beauty that for us is a bit the essence of Made in Italy. It is also a word that also calls for energy, so much so that the Romans adorned their heads with myrtle plants when they went to war and returned victoriously and it is also said that Rome was born where there was a myrtle plant. ” A really rich selection especially of bags for her and him, among travel & business. Exclusive products are matched with dedicated contents to each craftsman to understand the history and the extraordinary technique that hides behind each creation.

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