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Searching for a silhouette that combines art and fashion while staying functional is the key to Sylvio Giardina’s success. The designer and visual artist launched his own label after working for Gattinoni and co-creating the brand Grimaldi Giardina. Today he tells us about his approach and his journey in the creative world, where fashion and art are indispensable to one another.

You were born in Paris and raised in Rome… tell us the steps you took to get where you are now.
My work as a designer represents the fulfillment of a passion that I have always had. I don’t think I remember an exact beginning or time. I always used to draw as a child, and later I attended classes held at the Rome Costume and Fashion Academy – and after that, it became my job. I learnt the techniques of haute couture tailoring and over time, also influenced by contemporary art, I started my research for new shapes and silhouettes.
We know that you are also a great art fan; how do you combine your two passions?
As I often state, to me art is the inspiration, and fashion is the tool. They are not two separate entities, but they complement each other, as they incessantly contaminate themselves, thus blurring any boundaries between them.
What is your most cherished memory while working for Rome’s maison Gattinoni?
When Mrs. Fernanda Gattinoni, a woman of another era, and I, after intense working days, were left in the atelier with a few other people, I remember her going from one room to the other collecting pins. It was her enjoyable pastime...

"To me art is the inspiration, and fashion is the tool."
And what about your work with Antonio Grimaldi and your common brand, Grimaldi Giardina?
A Haute Couture project that brought us to show in Paris and lasted more than ten years. It kept growing over the years until we got to a point where we lost dialogue, harmony and serenity and… it just ended!
When did you first think about creating your own brand?
When I left the Grimaldi Giardina brand.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I believe that the world and society –without trivializing it– do constitute my main source of inspiration. Everything can suggest me an image to be reinterpreted and transformed, from music and architecture, to cinema, dance and theatre.
What is creativity to you?
Creativity is freedom. You must always be aware of your resources, your skills and your limits. You should cherish your lifestyle and avoid being absorbed by the processes demanded by the economic market.
The clothes –though experimental– don’t lose sight of the main purpose they have to fulfill, that is to be wearable clothes, which also represents the starting point for trying to achieve a balance between creativity and production.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
I especially love the research and design processes, where I am constantly stimulated in terms of mind and soul. I experience a sense of freedom in creating my projects; each step is a new discovery. Every time is a new experience, a new challenge to add to my aesthetic vocabulary.
And which one do you enjoy the least?
The making: it becomes a practical exercise of the design and it feels a little boring to me.
What are your future goals for your brand and yourself?
For the brand, opening my first flagship store. For myself, getting married.
What would your life motto be?
Live and let live.

Words
Ella Koppensteiner

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