IN CONVERSATION

Ilenia Durazzi is an emergent Italian designer. The brand vision is get inspired by art, architecture, photography and cinema to create fashion collections.
 The horseback riding is a regular feature for the brand, it is a metaphor of the union between human being and nature. DURAZZI MILANO collections offer women's leather goods, clothing and footwear, capable of combining modern design with the uniqueness of craftsmanship; be inspired by the wool blend a line mini skirt with studs or riding shiny leather boots in black shiny leather with contrasting burgundy insert at the top to complete the look.

What is fashion for you and when did you discover it? Do you know those little girls who want to become dancers when they grow up and then they really do it? Well I also have always known that I would do this job and I succeeded not to betray the little girl I was with a good mix of commitment, wilfulness and fortune. Designing fashion is my way of reading the world and the society I live in, and of imagining the future to come.

How did you built your study path? After high school I attended the design course at Polimoda in Florence, attending at the same time evening courses in pattern making, sewing and painting. I have also catalogued vintage and made experience in tailoring, after all, in this profession it is by working that you really study.

What was your first professional experience in the sector of Fashion? My first experience was decidedly unforgettable: an internship in Paris, at Balenciaga, under the direction of Nicholas Gesquere.

Tell us about the DURAZZI MILANO project. How did it come and why? After 13 years in menswear the time to create a project that represented my imaginary had come. Durazzi Milano was born from the desire to give a shape to a style that reflects not only my taste and my aesthetic references, but above all a new way of looking at women, dressing and telling them.

Where do you find inspiration for your collections? From everything. I am very curious: I love traveling, going to exhibitions, I get excited in front of works of art, great architecture, I admire the lucidity of design and I get hypnotized by the theatre. All of that, but also the colours of nature, in which the deep love for horse riding is linked, the detail of an old photograph, a film that surprises me the second time I see it: the secret is not what you look at, but how and maybe even when.

Who is the woman of DURAZZI MILANO? Icon or muse of reference? She is an amazon, a mermaid, a very independent woman, minimal enough, who loves nature but also the thousand possibilities of a city; you can meet her on the streets, perhaps you already know her, and maybe she is the one I can consider my muse. I can’t say that I have references icons, but I think that the history of the world has also been made by many women that I would have liked to dress.

Do you work as a team or do it all by yourself? Doing this job alone is impossible! A fashion brand needs specialized people with different tasks and skills. For now Durazzi Milano has a small and talented team at its disposal which I hope to be able to implement soon with other figures, as the brand grows and takes shape.

Have you ever received a big NO and if yes, what insurmountable obstacles have you found yourself having to face up to make your dream come true? When it is said that in fashion you have to be creative, I think that people are referring not only to the creation of clothing, but also to the ability to face difficulties with imagination. Big NO? Of course! It’s part of the game, the truth is that we must always have the lucidity to look at difficulties as part of a complex process, which helps to give our ideas a solid structure.

Do you want to tell us a little about your creative process? I spent a lot of time between dresses: I try on many vintage clothes in search of the silhouette I want to achieve. For me is essential to always have a concrete reference, worn, in order not to create clothes without authenticity. I don’t like over designed clothes so I always tend to the essentials and identify a detail that makes the garment special. Materials also play an important role in my creative process: I do a lot of research on fabrics and leathers thanks to the constant contact with the craftsmen and suppliers I work with and with whom I often create special materials exclusively.

What do you think is the current situation of the fashion system and can you tell me the future trends in fashion? What I observe is that in this moment the historical brands are constantly changing direction in order to keep the level of enthusiasm and attention of the consumer high, with the result that they often loose their identity. I believe that, in such an uncertain context, working on products that combine good design with the quality of materials could be the right choice, and, in my case, it’s also a choice that I would define as identifying.

Consciousness or unconsciousness? When did you need courage and stubbornness to be able to open your brand in an already saturated market like ours? This project was born form a desire matured over the time and not without the total awareness of the difficulties I would have faced, having been in the sector for several years. It was a mix of courage, tenacity and perseverance: at the end, even if the market is saturated, no one will ever have the seme vision as another, and therefore there will always be an audience to talk to … just get there.

What did Paris teach you? Which memories/lessons learned in 10 years do you keep in your heart? Paris taught me to always find a way to be original and not homologated, and to bring out my personality at most. Paris gave me the opportunity to work for the most interesting and stimulating fashion houses: from them I learned the working method that still accompanies me today in designing my collections. When, after my experience in Balenciaga, I joined Margiela, thanks to the collective meetings of the style studio, I learned to listen to everyone’s opinion: this was the only way, all together, it was possible to build a unique version. I’ve never forgotten it.