The last thing I did before leaving Florence was an interview of Michele Chiocciolini! I’ve posted several times about him but this time is different. There are many news since my last visit at his atelier back in July!
So I went by his atelier and we had breakfast and a long chat about everything! Francesca, his sister, was also there never leaving his side! So the great news is that he participates in a new talent show called Fashion Style and he arrived at the final! Don’t miss today’s episode people!!
When you were little , what you were saying that you want to be when you grow up?
From an early age the thing I wanted to do more was maybe connected to a total look that could be both clothing as well as décor, in any case, little things, bringing things together. I enjoyed doing this at home with objects, clothes matching things, create eccentric outfits. Bringing together stuff in such a way that would create something new. In the end this is what I ended up doing, here you can find everything, plenty of things that somehow coexist in a funny way and perhaps is what I mainly wanted my work to be, something that I liked so much to enjoy myself!
The fact that you grew up in Florence helped you on this thing?
Yes I think it was crucial, I remember when I was little going out, I wasn’t so much into sports, more than anything I had no interest in the things you make usually on weekends, I liked special things, to go in the antique shops in the center of Florence. It was always a game going to the shops. Discovering markets, from the toy soldiers to Mickey Mouse, not that I would buy a mirror, maybe I was trying to find something peculiar! In Florence I had this opportunity, even now, to discover new things.
And your studies in architecture?
A friend of my mother had in fact influenced me. I was always visiting her, I remember she always drew perspectives and I was sitting next to her and and in a way trying to do the same things with her! My grandmother was saying “You’re in love with Deanna”, she was the mother of my friend imagine! I liked architecture from an internal point of view above all, more than the outside I was more curious about the inside, just the room, the apartment, the shop, what’s in there. Usually you enter, this thing in Florence happens a lot and it’s tremendous, you enter a ‘400 building and is a disappointment. And this also happens in contemporary architecture, a beautiful wrap with a very ugly, anonymous inerior, I prefer a box, a cube that somehow inside is magnificent, the surprise I think is the best thing in architecture. The same thing is a bit of what i’ve done here, i’ve tried to persuade people if I can, after all to arrive somewhere and wonder how it can exist in an unknown street like this. You arrive here and as long as you’re not in front you can’t see, then you’re in front and you see and once you enter you see even more, the surprise is interesting!
What about this place? How long you had been thinking of doing it? It was difficult?
Always! I always used to draw these figures and then it became a thing of trying to do just clothing. And now also to sew, to understand how it works, then all these have inevitably combined the 2 things cause all the things I have around inspire me! It wasn’t easy but when I saw it I immediately thought of it’s potentials, basically did all by myself and it came easily, it was difficult as a concept but once I was inside it happened naturally.
You take part in Fashion Style, a program raising new designers. How did it begin and how did you feel?
One day in July, I received a phone call from Milan, I did a first casting, a 15 minute test where they wanted a draping test on mannequin and then wanted to see if you know how to sketch, then a long conversation where they asked about everything!
I’m always stressed before, until I enter, then you just do it! It’s a bit like the exams you know. The day before I went, after doing 3 tests then there was the first episode and I started saying at Francesca “I’m not going”…. Then there was Marco and Lucia saying “We won’t say anything but you’ll regret it, go!” It was fun anyway! Most of all I started sewing, I sewed day and night to improve to the fullest.
The people you met there?
Entertaining! A glimpse of Italy and beyond, people who live in Italy but who, like you, come from all over the world, so piece together all this stuff here and you learn so many fun things you didn’t know. Then they all luckily had their own experience in fashion, maybe in a different way. Therefore you amplify your knowledge. It was a good experience!
How do you feel now that you’ve arrived at the final?
Happy very happy! But in the end, overcoming the shock of the first episode, even if I had done just that it was worth it. Then it was worth bringing a little of this world here, I will not say on television, but let people know what you are doing because it is not easy to describe. I brought a portfolio, but if you take look at this you’ll say he is nuts is this a portfolio…?!? In my opinion they have been intrigued by this thing here. The problem was if this thing could be understood or not, however there is also the timing on television, but in the end they understood and appreciated it!
What is your opinion about bloggers?
For me they are essential, I find them an interesting figure. Certain people say “Today everyone wants to be one…”. Ok, this might be true, but in the end everyone wanted to be an architect, lawyer, etc. It’s like when they tell me “That guy opened that store next to you and does the same things with you”, everyone is free to do whatever he wants, he ‘ll never do what I do, as I ‘ll never do what he does. I find bloggers an important figure, there is who is doing it well, as in all activities. Then there is who takes advantage of the situation, and those are the worst ones, doing it for work and not for passion. I put a lot of trust in people, so I think that things are understood and if you do it for publicity and money it won’t last, as in every activity. Then if you actually like it like me, I can’t think that this place could close for example, and this could happen in Italy today, for me there will always be either here or in a different place but will always be in my head!
What is your opinion about the political situation?
I’m not dealing with it, but not out of ignorance. I’m trying to keep myself informed and I realize, from the small things most, that the things aren’t going well. What’s important is not repeating the same mistakes, I really hope that this situation can change. I sometimes say, I know that you can’t do that, but I would go to dinner with some people staying there a while and then say ok I want to vote him!
Is there a designer that inspired you at the start of your career?
As an architect, I am bound to the work done among 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Therefore I like Mendini, hi also named his studio Atelier! Same for Andrea Branzi and Castiglioni. Also the idea of Fabio Novembre related to fashion. On the other hand, Paul Smith, his patterns, his photography, his shops are a mix of situations. Then Marras, he also has his way of working, his spaces are very personal, his research is really interesting. As well Maurizio Galante, also an architect.
What to expect in the future from Michele Chiocciolini?
I’d like to work in a company, if I find a way, because it is a piece missing that i’ve never tried. I would like to relationship with something where “Michele be quiet… You have to do this…!”
What if you win Fashion Style? Do you think it will change you?
Let’s hope! I don’t know, I suppose it may add to my confidence. Then at a professional level this does not depend very much on the victory but how you are a person who can give something. I’ve got a great desire to continue this work in the best way and I hope to make it. Today, as we said earlier of politics, money, etc. is not easy, but in my opinion if one has his feet on the ground things can also work, you have to have your feet on the ground and do it not because you have expectations, but basically do it because you want to.
What do you want to do apart from all the things above?
Travel! I’d like to stay a month here a month there, for six months to travel, it’s a while I don’t travel and I really miss it. I even like to travel nearby! The other day I visited a friend in Pesaro, I took the train changed then in Bologna, seemed to me that I ‘ve been to Timbuktu! But even walking here!
Also for Unusual Florence right? All of the unseen places you can discover around Florence.
Exactly! Here you would never come, as well as Amblé that little corner with the wall, maybe you pass in front and you are just some steps from Ponte Vecchio!
According to you are there other places to add in the map?
I think they will! Now there is a talk of uniformity within the map so there has to be a study first, and this is what Luca does. I occasionally suggest some places, it’s not easy though, it has to be something with a common thread with the other places, otherwise there are lots of unusual places but it also has to be linked with the purchase of a certain type, perhaps not that artisan.
photos © chrysoula papagianni