Nicola Bacchilega SS18
Photographer Andrea Piffari
Styling Nicola Bacchilega
Makeup and hair Giulia Fregola
Model Anna Plodzisezewska
Published on 27 November 2017
Culture is a core value of Nicola Bacchilega’s collections both in it's physical dimension – connected to the technical knowledge inherent to Italian manufacturing – and in its abstract form, the world of ideas that are constantly evolving tradition, fighting for beauty, nurturing the value of uniqueness and art; creating a perfect balance for a daring woman that does not have to declined to renew herself without denying her age perfectly in harmony with everything around her: movement, colour, rhythm, curiosity, day and night appearing self-confident and unequalled. The detail meticulousness reveals a culture of material that is astounding the amount and transversality of knowledge from experimenting with both traditional and radical innovative materials giving them texture, unexpected colours and shades. Each item is designed as a natural combination of chromatic rhythms following the body in its large but graceful movements. Nicola Bacchilega’s cosmos is chaotic and soaked, wild and mocking, but also structured in it's consistency. The creative process to the fulfilment of his collections is deliberately not standardised and alternatively breaks the patterns of those collections that are unconditionally interpreted.
SS18 lookbook: Photographer Luca Anzalone Stylist Veronique et Charlotte Makeup Artist Apollonia Tolo Hair Stylist Marco Amadei Models Irene Capi Valeria Torzheskaya
How did you discover an interest in fashion design? Tell us about your creative background and story as a designer?
I was born and raised in Faenza, Italy, a town that boasts one of the world’s richest heritages in ceramics dating back to ancient Roman times. Growing up in a town that prides itself in having developed a craft into an art form, I developed a keen interest in fashion, which allows me to marry my curiosity for different design techniques with my creative vision.
I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by women, all working in creative production within the fashion industry. My mum was making my carnival costume when I was a child; I have always been fascinated by how she could transform me into my hero at the time. From the early age of 12 I started to work in a fashion studio where I got to see the creative and production process firsthand and gained insight into all the different techniques of embellishments. I also had the opportunity to visit the studio of artist Milena Altini, thanks to whom I got to learn leather-processing techniques. I decided to attend a sculpture course at the Accademy of Fine Arts in Turin, I began to notice a strong interest for the human body and how I could translate shapes through the body, and there I felt it was pretty clear to understand where my work was taking me.
Tell us about your SS18 collection, what is the key idea of it?
My latest collection “Ad Maiora” SS18 which in Latin means “towards greatest things” describe the desire of emancipation through the idea of a fictional muse ’The Golden Overwoman ' a reinterpretation of the term ‘Übermensch’, which translates from German to ‘Overman’, and refers to philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s conception of a man who surpasses the conventional human behavior and strives for values of emancipation. The golden ceramic prostheses glazed with fine gold are symbolic shields that not just protect the body, but also indeed reflects light, which represents the sun and is the origin of divinization.
The style is a combination of the transgression of the 70s and Romanesque references blended in order to deliver a contemporary collection. The colour spectrum comes from my childhood dreams and the significance of marine life.
How would you describe your overall esthetic? Who would you like to see wearing your latest collection? (type of a person or celebrity)
In few words, a contemporary interpretation of past traditions, a reverence for cultural referencing and a stylistic representation of alternative romance.
My creations are made for someone confident who hasn’t denied being him or her from any kind of background or age; I just want to make people feel stunning. I am sure one day Lady Gaga will rock my design.
Can you talk us through your design process a bit – what techniques did you use for the collection and why?
My design process is always been a bit unconventional as the way I link ideas together. My collection always relates to a personal journey that transcends beyond the mundane, into a vision of the future, where art and style move to the realms of fantasy. As a recurring homage to my tradition, my designs aspire to sculptural ideals and in the past have included self-made ceramics, but I have also branched out to explore other techniques in detail such as leather crochet, innovative knit and macramé, hand dyeing and embroidery applying self-made synthetic resin sequins.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Last year I decided to take a break and booked a ticket for Marrakesh, I literally felt in love with the atmosphere and the incredible leather craftsmanship, this is where I came up with the concept for the AW17 collection “NO ID.” which takes cultural referencing to new heights. I collaborated with craftsman for the realisation of leather corsets and a pair of horsehair leather boots. While I was there I received an invitation from Vogue Italia for a portfolio review with Senior Editor Sara Maino so I had to quickly finalise my designs I was working on in Morocco and flew to Italy where I then completed the collection. Thanks to Sara I got the chance to be featured on Vogue.it with a designer featuring of my AW17 collection.
I think if you really fight for something and you truly believe in it you eventually get rewarded. As an Italian born fashion designer I felt so proud to be supported by the most important fashion magazine we have in Italy.
What does your latest collection say about yourself, on the professional and personal level?
I always had the dream of making a total ceramic outfit, which without a shadow of a doubt represents my aesthetic, myself, my fears, my strength, the desire of perfection and emancipation. The overman is nevertheless an interpretation of who I am aspiring to be in life, a strong and confident person that needs all of those shields in order to drive towards the greatest things. The process of developing a collection is very similar to art, which for me doesn’t means only concept but also the essence of Italian culture as artisanal level of craftsmanship.
How does your workspace look like?
There are a few sculptures and paintings here and there, a basin filled with coloured water and some fabric samples on the side, sketches and fitting pictures are hanging next to a massive moodboard of references that cover almost the full length of a wall. A big ruffles skirt is hanging next to the sewing machine, a bit messy though. My archive is on a rail, as I need to always check something from my past creations. On a table an experimental synthetic resin is drying on a silk surface and each stand is filled with draped fabrics. Well, that is what it looks like in my mind at least. At the moment I’m working all over the place but luckily receive great support by few fellow artists in Italy and UK that let me work in their studio. La Vie Bohème!
Who should we be following online? Which designers or artists have been the most influential to you?
@Nicolabacchilega of course! My surrealistic creative vision is going to keep you charmed. I also felt in love with @maisonartc during a design stint in Marrakesh. I found his hidden atelier, his work very unique and the way he play with fashion is very meaningful, check him out! I personally admire the work of many artists such as Luigi Ontani, Helidon Xhixha and Anish Kapoor where I found their work to be very inspiring with their approach to sculpture and the symbology but I also contemplate the oeuvre of Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova.
Roberto Capucci and his sculptural dresses, moreover how can I forget the haute Couture of John Galliano and Alexander Mcqueen? Rai Kawakubo, which I love, and the master Cristobal Balenciaga are my main encouragements.
Who would you most like to collaborate with from within the visual art and fashion spheres?
I’m obsessed with Maria Forque which is a performance artist, her work is transgression, provocation and conceptualisation of objectification of women bodies, I believe her empowerment attitude will perfectly interpret the vision of “The Golden Overwoman”. @mariaforque1 her account had been deleted by IG with no reason but supposedly her art. I believe in the art of nudity and her work is so inspiring and I hope she will get years and years of works back. #freemariaforque1
I do hope to be involved in much collaboration in order to give life to my visions. I have a few names in mind but I can’t say anything yet! I’d love to see my work shot by Torjorn Rodland and Harley Weir. I’m also very attracted by how video can express the essence of a concept and I recently had the occasion to collaborate for my SS18 fashion film with Samuel Stephenson which is the video maker assistant of photographer Solve Sundsbo.
What can we expect from you in the future? Wha concept will you be exploring through you work next?
My work will eventually end with a provocative and activist ideals; themes such as feminism, social issues, LGBT, politics, racism and sex will be seen in my work. I truly believe fashion make statements and through wearing it you are fighting for who you are, we all should be proud of ourselves. Fashion is a form of meditation for me; it can change your life.