Fashion Talk

Salvatore Piccione

Label - Salvatore Piccione

The aesthetic of my collection is very feminine and somewhat seductive

Salvatore Piccione, founder of his eponymous label, is known for his designs that encapsulate the simple vitality, joy, and passion of youth, where enchanting prints in silk and cotton and hand embroidery speak to a world of whimsey, magic, and fairy tales. Designs from his collections have been worn by many renowned celebrities. In an interview with Fibre2Fashion, the designer reveals his journey, inspirations, and accomplishments.

Fibre2Fashion: What intrigued you towards the fashion industry and how would you illustrate your journey?

Salvatore Piccione:

Fashion has always been my dream and aspiration since a very early age, and as a child I was always drawing and creating constantly, both in my head and on paper. By nature, I am a very visual person, so I was often attracted by the mix of colours that designers used, the relationship between clothes and the body, but also seeing the body like living art, like a ‘painting in motion’, where the same garment can change through the person who is wearing it.

My own journey has been both exhilarating and quite challenging, but I have loved every minute of it so far. I left Donnalucata, a small seaside village in the south of Sicily to study in Rome when I was not quite 18. After graduating, I moved to Milan where I started my first internship, which at the time seemed like a dream come true. However, there were so many surprising experiences ahead that I could never have imagined. I think my favourite experiences at that time were when I moved to London, where I was working for Mary Katrantzou on some amazing projects, for Celine as a freelance print designer and for Hobbs as an embroidery designer. These experiences and knowledge gave me the confidence and courage to launch my own label and company in 2012, which was both exciting and daunting for a boy from a small village.

After launching my own company, I achieved quite a few personal and professional goals, winning some important contests such as the prestigious fashion talent-scouting competition “Who Is On Next?”, co-sponsored by Vogue Italia and Rome’s haute couture show AltaRoma, and receiving a number of coveted awards around the country, also showing my collections during the official calendar in Milan. At the same time, I had the opportunity to collaborate on some special projects with leading brands in their industries. I always believed in myself and my own vision, but this recognition really confirmed that my childhood dreams were now a reality.

I also believe that I am only part of the way along this journey. I believe I still have so many chapters to write. Even when I am achieving goals, I still think it is not enough. All of us have much more potential than we use, and I feel like I have only just begun.


F2F: How would you define the aesthetic and vibe of your collections?


The aesthetic of my collections is very feminine and somewhat seductive, but it is also underpinned by an energy and a vibrancy, and it always has a sense of fun and vitality. My collections emphasise the power of the female form, with narrow waists, plunging necklines, flowing lines, with some surprises or dramatic contrasts, like puffy shoulders on very short mini dresses. The recent collections are more structural compared to my previous work since I decided to work more on the seams of the pattern, and using solid colours compared to the past when the shape was simpler because I was focused on the power of the graphics I had created.

F2F: What inspires you to create such elegant and intricate designs & prints?


I am inspired by beauty in general, but like all of us, I am also product of my childhood. Growing up in the south of Sicily, I was surrounded by the grandeur, drama, curvaceousness, and an often-dizzying array of rich bright colours and vividly painted ceilings of its Baroque architecture. I was also constantly surrounded by the light, colour and vibrancy of the Mediterranean world. All of these elements influenced who I am and what I have created. But I am also attracted by very simple things…a flower, an animal, a tree, even a cake, that I love to replicate as a layer, creating a story on its own.

My creations often depict the refined external expression of my internal mental chaos. Things that don’t naturally go together often take on a beautiful form in my mind. I love to bring together various elements that belong to the natural world mixed with delicate geometry. I think my skill is my ability to connect all these different worlds and influences together, finding the right balance and, building a beautiful visual narrative that is both sophisticated and intricate.

Taking these designs and prints, I always keep in mind that I design for real women who want their clothes to look beautiful and flattering with a twist of creativity and a sense of uniqueness. I design bold shapes and graphics always with the intention to create my own vision of beauty with a deep respect for the female body.

F2F: Could you walk us through some of your memorable achievements and your favourite projects?


Looking back over the last decade, I feel so lucky and privileged to have had some many amazing experiences and highlights in my relatively short career, including: the opportunity to design a one-off costume as part of Vogue Italia’s Barbie Global Beauty Design, an initiative involving the new generation of designers – 10 established and 10 promising designers – in a project that sought to express the global appeal of Barbie’s beauty; participating as a special guest at the exclusive White Milano show in 2015; my two-year collaboration with global tissue brand Tempo, where I created a limited-edition box design to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Tempo tissues in Italy, with distribution extending into Spain, Italy and France and promoted during Salone del Mobile and Vogue Fashion Night Out; designing a ‘capsule’ collection for Sylvian Heach; an invitation from MyStyle events to participate in a tribute to the life and work of Gianni Versace in Warsaw; winning a coveted Chi è Chi Spring Award and also receiving three annual awards (2017, 2018 and 2019) from Taomoda, the fashion, design, art and culture events; showcasing collections for Lviv Fashion week in Ukraine in 2018 and 2019; and participating in a unique fashion show at 10,000 metres organised by easyJet in collaboration with Vogue Italia to present the Spring/Summer 2019 collection on flights.

In terms of recent collaborations, I am most proud of my partnership with Conforama, who recently made a conscious decision under their new CEO, Eric Joselzon, to repivot the brand and embrace Italian quality, design and style as central to their affordable products, and positioned my new range of soft furnishings as the launch-pad for this new direction. This collaboration also allowed me to apply my fashion and design aesthetic to a whole new world of homeware which is such an exciting opportunity.

My collaboration in 2018 with Blumarine is also standout for me personally. This was an exclusive collaboration with the iconic Italian fashion brand, who for the first time gave their label over to a chosen designer, me, to write a new page for the brand’s history. I was so humbled when they launched my two capsule collections under the name ‘We are in love with Salvatore Piccione’ which included resort 2019 and pre-fall 2020, and which were sold throughout their stores globally. I am very proud that designs from this collection have been worn by Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Taylor Swift, Kendall Jenner, Amber Heard, Daphne Groeneveld, Constance Wu and many more.

F2F: Do you follow trend reports before designing your collection or do you prefer to stick to your own niche?


I do not follow trend reports at all, and I think that especially after the last two years with the struggle of the pandemic we had to deal with and our world changing in such constantly unpredictable ways, trend reports seem even more irrelevant. My creative process is so personal and a representation of my own world view that I have always chosen to focus more deeply on my own aesthetic and the evolution of my vision. Generally, I never follow trends, and I am more interested in developing a recognisable style where the mix of colours with the development of intricate details gives a precise and unique aspect to my garments. I do not want to create something that is so ‘now’ that it is worthless tomorrow. I want my clothes from any season to still be beautiful and relevant in five, ten or twenty years from now and I am confident that’s what I create.

F2F: How would you describe your experience working with top-notch celebrities such as Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Taylor Swift, Kendall Jenner, Amber Heard, and many more? What things are to be taken care of before designing for them?


I was very glad when I saw my collection on big names as you mentioned and hopefully this will happen even more often. Rather than work with these celebrities directly though, I saw these outfits on them after I designed them, which is still an amazing feeling. Usually, it is more a job between a PR office and a stylist who love some items and they then show them to the celebrity they work with. In my case, I did not develop this connection personally, but I love the fact that these amazing talents loved what I do. As I have mentioned, I design beautiful garments for any woman who wants to feel beautiful. All of these celebrities represent such different looks and shapes and styles and yet they all felt confident and beautiful in my designs. That’s an amazing accomplishment for me personally.

F2F: How would you include sustainability in your creations?


As someone who is inspired by the beauty of the natural world, sustainability is something that I am increasingly conscious of and passionate about, but it is more challenging for a smaller brand to make a big impact in this area. For example, larger brands have a greater influence over the environmental impact and social standards of their supply chains than a smaller company. But I believe you have to start small and think local.

Having everything made in Italy means I reduce my participation in large-scale supply chains that contribute enormous amounts of emissions into the environment. I personally love the idea of repurposing anything, from clothing and vintage fabrics to furniture. I try to reduce wastage in all aspects of my life and work, especially in the creation of my collections and garments, and I also encourage my tailors and manufacturers to be conscious of where they source materials from and under what conditions these materials are made. To me sustainability is not just about my carbon footprint but is also an awareness of how the people that make the resources I use are treated and remunerated for their work. It will be a constant work in progress for me and for the industry as a whole, which currently lacks a cohesive approach.

F2F: With so many fashion brands coming into the picture, what makes your label stand out?


For me, as I mentioned, my creations are often the external balance and order I bring from what I perceive as my own internal mental chaos. That’s right…what you see on my fabrics and prints is what it’s like in my mind at times! All of my fabrics are created from graphics and prints that I design from scratch, and because my creative process is so internalised, they are uniquely my own.

I feel like we live in a world that is full of too much of everything. We are surrounded by constant excess and wastage, where we really have more than enough, and we don’t have the capacity to fully appreciate what is truly beautiful, truly unique with so much disposable abundance. We are so overwhelmed that we sometimes stop appreciating what is simple and valuable. In addition, everything is happening so fast that there is almost not enough time to be truly creative. To compensate for this pace, I feel like the fashion industry satisfies itself by ‘reinventing’ what was already made in the past. Everything is vintage or retro and very little is truly forward thinking or even more importantly, timeless. This makes being truly unique very challenging.

In this context, what makes any label or designer stand out is not only to look outside for inspiration, but more importantly to look inside yourself, at who you are and what is your own truth. I think introspection is fundamental to any creative process and it’s something that is core to how I design.

F2F: What are the five trends to follow this year to slay in style?


As an avid avoider of trends (and trend reports) I am going to take a different approach to this question. To me, trends only help people to look alike, creating stereotypes, and we can’t really feel like we are truly representing or expressing ourselves if we simply follow what we are told. Even if an individual doesn’t closely follow any trends or is not aware about what’s ‘now’ or ‘next’, the industry is set up so that a few weeks after any important global fashion week you find items in a store that came straight from the runway, with different cheaper fabric and lower qualities of embellishments, creating a commercial version of this cult and ‘must haves’ of the following season.

I think fashion, like so many parts of our society, is increasingly becoming an individualised and personalised experience and less about trends and what others are doing. So, to ‘slay in style’ I think you need to:
  • Really know, appreciate, and embrace your body in all its beautiful forms.
  • Empower your brain – knowledge, information, and education are sexy and powerful, and this will translate into who you are and how you dress.
  • Be aligned with yourself – knowing who you are and what you represent in terms of your values will also translate into what you are comfortable in and attracted to in your clothing choices.
  • Dress the way you feel – be true to who you are, and this will shine through no matter what you wear, be it trainers and trackpants or haute couture (or a mix of both!).
  • Free yourself from external opinions – when you embrace points 1-4 you really won’t care about what others think!

F2F: What is your vision for your label for forthcoming years? Are you planning to introduce other categories?


My vision is for ‘Salvatore Piccione’ to be a leading global brand through the creation of beautiful, high-quality products across a range of fashion and lifestyle categories.

I want to continue to create uniquely beautiful fashion for women, but also for men and kids. I would love to create a line of beautiful swimwear and maybe even bespoke luggage. I also want to do more homeware, following on from amazing experience with Conforama.

In short, so many ideas but not enough time!

What is your vision for your label for forthcoming years? Are you planning to introduce other categories?

Interviewer: Kiran Sahija
Published on: 10/08/2022
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