Cutting Edges : An Interview with Alithia Spuri-Zampetti

by jennine on August 20, 2008

Central St. Martins is one of those colleges that just continuously produce fashion royalty, making their graduate shows a wonderful place to catch a glimpse into the future of fashion. Recent graduate and winner of the 2008 L’Oréal Professionnel Award, and first place for the ITS7 award,  Alithia Spuri-Zampetti dazzles us with graphic patterns leaping out of delicately tailored attire. Upon seeing it for the first time, personally, I was throughly impressed, inspired to try to integrate cross dimensional pieces into my idea of wearability. Luckily, we were able to snag her for a little chat before she starts her new journey into the fashion world…

Just what are you obsessing over these days?

Alithia Spuri-Zampetti: Tidying up all the mess I produced during this year of ‘collection drama’ and finding a flat in Milan.

Can you tell us a little about your debut collection?

ASZ: The main inspiration behind my collection is the layout of the flower motifs in Japanese kimonos, especially in the type called Furisode. In this type of kimonos the flower designs don’t follow a repeat but are distributed in a much more interesting way. In fact areas of ‘void’ and monochrome colour are opposed to areas where all the details and the colours are fully concentrated. To translate this idea into clothing I used a 50’s silhouette where the high waisted pencil skirt is left clean and monochrome and all the details are concentrated in just some areas of the body, especially at the top. The way in which the flowers overlap in a sort of ‘collagy’ way and the presence of these empty areas gave me the idea for the cut-outs.

The material used for the cut-outs is foam, and it is all drawn and cut by hand, before being inserted in the seams. The cut-outs are combined with elements that are typical of the fifties couture, like drapes, bows, diagonal cuts, undergarments, volume on the sleeves .. and mixed with elements of sportswear, like anatomical lines, piping, thick jersey and lycra.

There are people who say some fashion isn’t meant to be ‘worn’… what do you think about that?

ASZ: This is right, sometimes fashion is created more to make a statement, rather than to be worn. In prêt-a-porter today this kind of fashion is often present in the shows for press publicity or to ‘create a story’ that will then be developed and sold in a wearable version. With this in mind when I designed my collection, I created a few pieces first of all to make an impact on the viewer and explain my concept, and secondly to drive attention also to the more wearable pieces of the collection, like the jackets, trousers, skirts and blouses, which are absolutely ready to wear. And if you don’t believe that this is true … you are all invited to see my collection in Paris at Maria Luisa’s Boutique in October !

How important is it to experiment with fashion? with personal style?

ASZ: It is very important to experiment (and to go wild!), especially as a student … Experiment makes your knowledge grow and develop. The best ideas always come from experimentation and development.

Now that you’ve graduated… what are your plans for the future?

ASZ: In two weeks I will be moving to Milan to start a new job at Valentino, which is really exiting!

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Becca August 20, 2008 at 5:49 am

wow - some amazing designs and creativity! Thanks for sharing the interview!

Sandra August 20, 2008 at 7:24 am

My eyes are dancing Jennine!

Beautiful designs. I am one of those pesky practical types, but I would wear one of these creations in a heart beat. I really wish I worked or lived in an environment where I could go wild with my wardrobe.

I especially liked the part where she talks about the 50s silhouette and how she chose to focus on the top. This is exactly my wardrobe formula since I have a pear shape - I keep the focus on my top half.

anthea August 20, 2008 at 9:56 am

Great interview :) It’s always interesting to hear the designer’s take and inspirations.

kim August 20, 2008 at 11:28 am

i really liked that collection- nice to read a little about what went into it.

Couture Carrie August 20, 2008 at 11:32 am

Incredible work; great interview - thanks!

Cammila August 20, 2008 at 8:26 pm

It’s so cool to be introduced to a designer this way — getting to see her vision and also hear the thoughts behind it.

susie_bubble August 21, 2008 at 1:49 am

Ah wow…off to Valentino eh? Was hoping she might do something of her own…glad she won a prize at ITS7 too…

Imelda Matt August 21, 2008 at 2:44 am

i was about to write the same comment as SB. I remembered her name from ITS7 and I couldn’t be happier that she’s scored a job with Valentino.

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