I graduated from a French high school in 1997. My dad was not around in those days and I was living with my Mom and my grandma. My family from my mom’s side is from the south of Italy. They are very conservative and extremely religious. They were against me becoming an Artist, they thought I was a fool and I would never make enough money for my living. Their core belief was “If you go to college you must choose an important subject matter and find yourself a steady and high paid job”. Honestly, I couldn’t care less about being a lawyer or an engineer. I wanted to be an Artist and I wanted to inspire people through my Art. At that time though, I didn’t really have a clear vision yet of how I could make that work. My biggest passions were Fashion and Films and I had experienced all those years in school where I was considered an Outsider because I was not dressing like everybody else. Starting a career in Fashion & Costume Design sounded like a good idea. I had inherited good taste and style from my Mom and my Grandma who always had impeccable outfits so I thought that in some ways, even though my family didn’t agree with my choice, I could still make them proud.
Soon after I applied for a job as a sales assistant in one of Gucci’s stores in Milan. It was a perfect fit, I could study Fashion and at the same time begin taking my first steps into one of the most important companies in the industry. I got the job and after receiving my first pay I signed up for a scholarship in Fashion and Costume Design at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan. It was a challenging and fascinating time of my life. In the morning I’d go to class to take my courses, in the afternoon and the weekends I’d work at the store and at night I’d work on my homework and my projects. I invested most of my paycheck into my tuition and Art materials. I didn’t have much free time left to hang out with my friends, but I was really Happy! In that era, Gucci was one of the major brands in the fashion world. Tom Ford was the creative director, his collections were revolutionary, spectacular and they were selling out of the stores worldwide. Every day I met new and interesting people, most of them were incredibly rich and would spend a fortune on clothing. I loved taking care of them, listening to their stories and I would style them in a way that would make them feel Beautiful and Special. Most of my clients adored me and would come back over and over to be pampered and Styled.
In my pocket, I always had a small sketchbook on which I’d take notes and draw ideas. I’ve always believed that Fashion has to begin with a dialogue with people. In my book, I’d write what people liked, how they felt, what they were looking for and I’d sketch things that would match those desires as if I were Cinderella’s fairy God Mother inventing for them that perfect outfit that could make them feel loved and have success. I was eager to create those outfits for them, so I knocked – over and over and over and over again – at Gucci’s Design Office door until I finally managed to land an internship in the women’s ready to wear department. This is how I moved my first baby steps into the great world of Fashion.
’til the next one!