From studying in London at Central Saint Martins to working in New York at The Row; from moving to Paris as a designer for Loewe to being one of the LVMH Prize’s finalists. Niccolò Pasqualetti introduces us to their S/S 2024 and RTW F/W 2024 collections and how these, despite embodying changes and enacting new proposals and combinations, represent the brand’s constant principles and recognisable signatures.
Hi Niccolò, it is a pleasure to talk with you today! How are you?
I am good thank you. Right now, I’m excited about the future. I think we are learning a lot and I am grateful that things are moving forward all the time.
Congratulations on your S/S 2024 and RTW F/W 2024! I am excited to learn more about both collections, but first, let’s talk a bit about who you are and how you got here! You launched your eponymous brand in 2021. How would you describe the last three years?
In the last three years we have been through many changes, but my principles have remained constant. Since the beginning we are trying to establish certain recognisable signatures, and each season it has been great to focus more and more on what distinguishes us. Every show is a chance for a new proposal, or a new combination.
Before starting your own brand, you worked for The Row, Alighieri, and Loewe. Was one of these brands particularly inspiring for your artistic development and influential for your creative process?
They were all very different experiences which pushed me to adapt to different contexts and people. During my studies in London at Central Saint Martins, my eyes were really opened. It was a discovery of sides of myself that I didn't know, and this awareness proved to be fundamental when I began to navigate my own path. I worked briefly in New York at The Row where I had the opportunity to experiment with a wide range of different fabrics and techniques. And then later I moved to Paris, where I worked as a designer for Loewe, which really expanded my idea of what is possible in this industry. I think in the end who I am and what I do today is the sum of all of these experiences.
Stella McCartney shaped your commitment to fashion sustainability. Can you tell us more about this, and what running an environmentally sustainable brand in 2024 is like?
We make use of a lot of deadstock fabrics, and the majority of the textiles from our collections are drawn from unused rolls from couture houses in Paris and in Italy. I think that if you’re going to create anything it should be made to last, both in terms of being timeless but also not falling apart after a few uses. I also love the idea of salvaging from the piles of donated garments you can find at any second hand store. Recently we have been going out and looking for vintage jeans and using them to create these one of a kind denim patchworks. Ultimately what we create is in small quantities, and often handmade. So the nature of our business is really aligned with sustainability from the inception.
Your early fashion career was varied and international, but so was your training: from Venice to Belgium, from London to New York, and now between Paris and Tuscany. What was it like to experience the fashion world on a globally diverse scale and what made you choose these two contrasting places as your current home?
In some ways I was lucky to be in the right places at the right times in my life. I’ve had the opportunity to see many ways of living and working, and I try to take the best parts from each place. The two places which I now split my time between, Tuscany and Paris, almost couldn’t be more different in terms of the pace of life, the available space, the weather. But I love the way they compliment each other. My region in Tuscany is somewhere with so many different kinds of artisans that it is possible to make anything there, and Paris is just so alive with things to do and to see.
You are both a fashion and jewellery designer and this comes through in your S/S 2024 collection as every piece of clothing has its matching and complementary accessory. What was the designing process like for these harmonious pairings? Do you see the two as separate arts that you then put together or is it one, throughout interconnected artistic praxis?
My first commercial collection was a jewellery collection. With jewellery you have to keep in mind the longevity, the versatility, the three-dimensionality of each piece. I think about clothes in the same way, that they’re objects that will stay with you for a long time and have to work in lots of different situations. But at the same time people don’t want to wear the same thing everyday, so the clothes need to serve the wearer on a particular day or at a particular time in their life. Functionality in that sense is key for me.
Another thing that stands out from this collection is your reference to and inspiration from nature, especially through the flowing shapes and contrasting textures of your pairings. Can you tell us more about how you include natural geometries in your work? Is there a particular element that speaks to you?
It’s about seeing things with fresh eyes, and trying to forget where they came from. It can be anything. But I love when opposites come together, like masculine and feminine, solid and fluid, or nature and culture. I am very inspired by organic sculptures, but also by bold, geometric architecture and furniture from the 20th century. Both of these elements find their way into my designs.
Looking at the S/S 2024 collection, I was starstruck by the metallic, glasses-like jewellery and its drop-like pendants as well as by the neutral palette of your sartorial designs. Do you have a favourite piece or colour from this body of work?
Those were made out of polished steel - the idea was that they could either be [worn] as a mask or a piece of jewellery. It goes back to this idea of forgetting the distinction between the two categories. There is always this idea of collage, of putting different textures from different places together in a kind of assemblage. This collection took this quite literally,  with some pieces looking like they had been cut out from construction paper, or metallic foil, or cardboard. The cotton that we used even had some paper in the composition, so it had this unique texture that was crisp to the touch, and what looked like metal was actually made out of leather. One of my favourite looks was the one in which the model wears the silver mask on her face with the oversized peacoat, and the embroidered tulle dress underneath.
Another brilliant and original characteristic of your designs is the ambivalence of its androgynous-inspired wardrobe that brings a new, refreshing concept to the Italian fashion scene. How do you work towards this disruption of the binary distinction between classic menswear and womenswear?
It’s something that happens without too much overthinking, even if it’s then designed in a very considered way.  It’s about freedom and allowing people to find themselves in the collection. The idea [is] that you can be different people at the same time but still have a certain sense of integrity. You will find classic wardrobe pieces that have twists, for instance the skirt-trousers, which speak to that: a simple cut which makes a classic tailored style something new and ambiguous.
This gender-neutral style is part of your Ready-To-Wear Fall/Winter collection too, and so are the curved and sculpture-like designs with elegant twists enacted by details like the embedded silver leather and pearls. How did you approach this new season and the design of RTW pieces?
This season was about experimenting with some codes like those of couture and combining it with those coming from very different moments in history. It was about experimenting with solid draping, with cuts and with materials to create a sense of unconventional timeless elegance, according to my idea of it. On an emotional level, it was also about a movement from something heavy to something light.
With their natural flow into one another, these 2024 collections contribute to establishing the identity of your young, yet always more defined, brand. What would you call your signature pieces or elements?
There is always this quality of abstraction, something recognisable that somehow gets transformed, but also the idea that the pieces are investments in very good materials. When I find a particular style that I want to propose again and again, sometimes in new fabrics that totally change how it falls or how it feels, that’s when it becomes a signature piece for me. I always keep in mind the idea of a classic Italian wardrobe, with jackets, skirts, dresses that are kept for years but somehow always allow for new combinations.
Once again, congratulations on your 2024 so far! Are you already working on your next collection or project? If so, can you tell us something about it?
Thank you. Yes, it never stops. I don’t want to reveal too much about it right now. But it’s about building on our foundations while always allowing room for something surprising to emerge. As I mentioned before, it’s like a collage, with familiar styles in seasonal fabrications put together with entirely new pieces to create unseen silhouettes. In this way the next season, like every other, is its own proposal for a way of dressing.