As promised, The Luxury Lifestyle Guide will be bringing you regular exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes sneak peaks into the lives of young professionals from the world over who are contributing meaningfully to the lifestyle, luxury, fashion, design and leisure industries.
Last Friday we introduced you to Parisian stylist, Philippe Uter. Today, we bring you the intimate exclusive we had with Italian fashion designer and madhatter extraordinaire, Alessandro Mengozzi.
Q1: What can you tell us about Alessandro Mengozzi?
I was born in Italy in 1986. Since early childhood, I have always been fascinated by art and so I attended the G. Ballardini Institute of Arts, in Faenza. There I had the opportunity to understood who I was and who I always wanted to be.
During that period, I attended a fashion design class with the Teacher Germano Zama: It was a really helpful experience, in that it was the catalyst for me to focus on that passion: Fashion.
After graduation, I decided to move to Milan and practice, attending a fashion course at the Marangoni Fashion Institute. At Marangoni I improved my skills and pushed my ideas into practice.
I began as a freelance fashion designer for different brands, but a significant beginning was with the launch of my own collection of elaborate-ornamental style and extravagant hats (bearing my name).
Making the fusion of my passion for arts and my personal sense of vogue, I have taken inspiration from nature, expressing everything in a dark view. This is constantly my first priority.
I set up my label I AM as well and I realized my first collection as a new young designer, showing my streetwear range for summer 2011.
Q2: How has living in one of the fashion and luxury capitals – Italy – of the world influenced you and your work?
Living in Milan, it was always a dream – where luxury, history, design and fashion are at the forefront.
Milan has influenced my point of view and completely changed my life. Studying, working and living every single aspect of this amazing and erratic town – I have found inspiration for my own creations.
Q3: What do you love most about Italy and being Italian?
Winking playfully, Alessandro replies: “Am I banal if I say Italian food?” “I’m joking.
I adore the art and culture I can breathe in every single Italian town. It’s like taking a step into the past, where history can teach you various fundamental things and at the same time you are able to take in magnificent inspiration. We (Italians) are all artists and I’m proud of it!
Italy is not a perfect country for sure, however, our sense of style is our strength. When I’m walking on a street nobody around me wears an ugly or unfashionable outfit. And for me, whose work is in this industry, this is something that makes me proud. This country gave me this gift (this sense of fashion).
Q4: What about your job do you love most?
I am a freelance designer. What I like the most is independence and the self-confidence that I possess in exercising my gift. I am a creative and eccentric person – that’s why I don’t care if somebody doesn’t understand my creativity, because I’m like my job: unique!
I’m not the sort of person who needs to take centre stage at all costs.
Q6: Tell us about your Brutto Affare project. What is it all about?
“Brutto Affare” was just my teenage nickname and it means ‘Bad situation’.
I chose to use it as my Twitter name, and it has also been my blog’s name: “BRUTTO AFFARE WORLD.
Q7: Tell us about your hat (and or headpiece) creations.
The whole thing is represented by ornamental and scenic ideas. My inspiration derives from nature, which is expressed through the use of metal, stones, papers, hair, chalk and other materials. My strong passion for art and fashion is mixed with the constant of a dark view.
Q8: Who is the one person you would like to create a hat or headpiece for the most? Why?
I would like to create an hat for Daphne Guinness, who is on the cutting edge. She never ceases to amaze me. She is one of my muses!
And… Lady Gaga, eccentric Pop Queen. I’m already creating a present for her.
Q9: Tell us about your experience with the Vogue competition.
Vogue competition was a group project with designers, stylists and famous photographers. I lent my dresses and accessorizes from one of my previous runway shows.
Q10: If you could collaborate or work with anyone, who would it be?
Versace! A brand which mingles Roman history with nowadays style. Dove traspare di continuo il connubio Art… Fashion and Contemporaneity… Genius.
As for a foreign designer, absolutely Haider Ackermann! I’m mirrored in his style, his asymmetric length and crosscuts, his upper leathers… his own creations are like poetry to me.
Q11: When you think of Giacomorelli, what comes to mind?
Giacomo Morelli is a close friend of mine, my colleague, but he’s also my rival in the fashion industry. He is talented. I like his style because he’s in the vanguard. His creations have a strong impact. I often wear Giacomorelli shoes.
Q12: Can we expect a collaboration between you and Giacomo Morelli?
We are already working together to create something really specially, however I can’t talk about it yet.
Q13: Where do you see yourself in the future?
In the near future, I would like to migrate to Paris… parce que Parìs c’est très jolie!
I go to Paris very often. First because of the Haute Couture, second to visit my friends, and last, but not the least, for the romantic Parisian atmosphere.
It is an amazing town full of amusing places – luxurious, unconventional but elegant and historical at the same time.
Q14: For those who want your hats and t-shirts, where can they buy them?
The I AM label is selling in few high-end boutiques in Italy, but very soon it will be available in its very own online store on www.alessandromengozzi.com and in greater Europe. Ultimately, the aim is for I AM to have international presence.
Q15: How aware are you of the South African fashion and luxury industry? What are your thoughts on it?
I don’t know a lot about South Africa, but thanks to The Luxury Lifestyle Guide, I’ve learnt a lot.
I was able to see a little bit of Italian style in some South African fashion: I think you have an interesting sense of vogue.
Q16: Any advice or words of wisdom for those wanting to follow a path in fashion?
For those wanting to follow a path in fashion, I suggest to ALWAYS believe in your dream and never give up. Therefore, it is fundamental to receive very good training and have perseverance.
Every single thing in this world could be an inspiration, so keep your eyes wide because even in a flower, in a raindrop or on a foggy day you can find an idea to develop into art.
Q17: When can we expect you to visit South Africa?
I hope to visit South Africa very soon, hopefully for the next fashion week.
Concluding our conversation, I promise Alessandro that when he’s ready to visit South Africa, he can be assured that The Luxury Lifestyle Guide will play the happy host.
For more information about Alessandro Mengozzi and his I AM label, visit www.alessandromengozzi.com. And keep an eye on The Luxury Lifestyle Guide when we feature his visit to South Africa in the near future.
Our next exclusive will introduce you to American model and photographer, the multitalented Michael McCloud. And, ladies, he’ll be bringing some eye-candy with him.
Live the life!
Le Marquis des Excellence