Claudia Ligari, master of minimalism combined with classic and colour and cut.
Everyone’s entry into the fashion industry is different but what would you say was the pivotal moment in your career thus far that has left you where you are today?
It was when I decided to enter a competition as a designer for the first time in my life. I needed 2 collections in order to get in and I only had my graduation collection. The deadline was in 2 weeks so I made a whole collection of 10 outfits in about that time! I didn’t even pass the first selection but I got noticed from few PR agencies and without even realising it, that’s where everything started.
How would you say Italian design and style differs from that found in the United Kingdom and what drew you to the city of London?
Italy is all about tradition. England managed to break the traditions. Made in Italy or made in England are both synonymous of hand made and well made garments but in the UK people are happier to experiment, whereas in Italy the rules are so eradicated that is very difficult to come out with something new and be supported for it. Italians dress they way they live. We are surrounded by the most beautiful cities in the world, we have great food, warm weather and we make sure we enjoy every minute of our life! We love beautiful things and consequently we always look for beautiful and well-made garments, it’s very important to us. Unfortunately, most of the time, Italians love branding themselves from top to toe still thinking that brands means good quality, but that’s not always the case! My approach to fashion started from one of the fashion capitals of excellence, Milan, it’s just a shame I didn’t fit into it! My aesthetic is completely different and when I was out there I always felt out of place, especially taste wise. Not that I had a specific taste yet but I was definitely looking for something different. London has always been my dream city. Every time I was came over here for holidays I felt so comfortable and inspired. So, after graduation, I moved here and that was the moment it all came together. This is the city helped me express myself and develop my very own style and taste.
If you were to describe your design aesthetic and collections using just five words, which five would you choose and why?
Feminine, because I play with it constantly. My collections are all about showing a different kind of woman, a woman that can be sexy and feminine without revealing. Timeless, because my garments are designed with the intention to wear them throughout the years and always feel new and special. Elegant, because this is my Italian heritage! Strong, because my clothes wants to stand out but in a very elegant way and Effortless, because less is more.
Fashion is an ever-evolving industry and often what is in one minute is out the next. Throughout your collections you have developed a clear coherence and timeless appeal whilst always remaining ahead of the pack. What would you credit your inspiration for your collections to?
My guts! Haha! I don’t know what it is and I don’t know where it comes from… It’s difficult to explain. It’s a strong feeling. Not a feeling to do with how I want the shapes or the colours to be, it’s something else, and it’s a mood that always drives me to the final answer. Most of the time when I start a collection I have no idea where I am going, I let my feelings guide me! I am very glad that my collections are demonstrating coherence and timeless appeal because this is exactly my goal!
Your designs and collections carry an air of androgyny, would you ever consider creating a menswear label?
Yes! I’d love to! I’ve done couple of menswear pieces for SS13 but I would definitely love to do a menswear collection! If there are any investors up for it please hit me up! Haha!
How, amidst the brands signature androgynous feel, do you maintain an undeniable and ever appealing degree of femininity and dare I say sex appeal?
A woman can be beautiful in many different ways, and I am not talking about make up and hair. I’m talking about looking at a woman in her natural state and finding the most appealing parts of her, then finding a way to show those to other people, elegantly. As I mentioned above you don’t need to reveal to look sexy, it’s actually the opposite.
If you were to describe your perfect client how would you do so?
My client is someone with a strong personality, she knows what she wants. She’s a natural beauty; she makes the clothes alive, not the other way around. She stands out from the crowd but in a very elegant way.
Where do you envisage yourself in 5 years?
Why 5 years? Why not now? I’m working hard to get my brand established so the sooner this is happening the happier I will be. Maybe in 5 years I will also have a menswear label…
Interview by Seanan Collins