Piccione Piccione: when creativity and talent write a success story

With a style that stands out for innovative patterns and great care for detail, it took only a few years for Piccione Piccione to established itself as a top brand. Catching buyers’ eye with its very first collection, it is now sold in 250 boutiques around the world. Salvatore Piccione’s break was winning the 2014 “Who’s on Next” competition, which opened the doors for him to take part in Dubai’s Fashion Week, Alta Roma and Milan’s White, where he was a special guest. His résumé includes collaborations with Mary Katrantzou in designing collections and special projects for TopShop, Swarowsvky, Pablo Bronstein and Longchamp. In 2012, he was print designer at Céline and print & embroidery designer at Hobbs. What is the secret of this Italian fashion Wunderkind? We tried to find out during our recent interview with him…

How did your passion for fashion begin?

When I was four of five years old, just starting school, I would draw Carnival costumes for the teachers – so it’s obviously a passion I’ve always had. Later, I went to an art high school and then moved to Rome to study design with a specialization in fashion. I can say it’s something that’s always been in my blood, and that my passion has evolved and grown through education.

What was the turning point in your career?

In 2012, when I was still living in England, I launched Piccione e Piccione. Over just a few days, the products from my first season were selected by 35 beautiful stores. By 2015 I was up to 250 resellers. The turning point was winning the 2014 “Who’s on Next” with Franca Sozzani; after that, I held a show in Dubai and was included in Milan’s fashion calendar, with two seasons that I present in September and February.

You reached huge success in very little time. What was that like for you?

I focus on my work and pay very little attention to anything else. In fact, I still feel like I’m at square one and still have so much to do. When I will have my own stores or perhaps should I become creative director of some famous brand – then I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something.

Are those your dreams?

I’d say those are my goals. My dream is to create a product that is seasonal but remains true to its DNA, so it can be worn year after year. I am not interested in changing style every six months.

You mentioned you would like to be at the creative direction of a famous brand... which one?

I could design for many Italian brands that have products similar to mine and work with prints and graphics, from Cavalli to Pucci, or even Valentino – all hyper-feminine brands with a strong identity.

What inspires you?

Nature. I study plants, flowers and animals, then blend everything with objects or geometric shapes to create unexpected outcomes. My patterns are so elaborate that you have to look at them closely to really discover them – you cannot just have a look from a distance.

How would you describe your style and the woman who wears it?

My woman is a very romantic, feminine and sensual Muse. My fashion is full of details, with thoroughly researched elements – certain fabrics, particular embroidery or patterns that I design myself, so each piece can be truly different and unique.

What about silhouettes?

I prefer simple and feminine ones. Showing the best of a woman’s body is very important to me: I never exaggerate and always seek harmony with a woman’s proportions.

Do you have a Muse you would like to dress?

Any woman who enjoys feeling beautiful and taking care of herself. I’m certainly inspired by elegant and lithe types, like Kasia Smutniak.

What is your advice for young emerging fashion designers?

Work 24/7, skip the holidays. You cannot reach your goals if you don’t constantly work hard. And study, find information, keep up, go to bookstores or the library.

You worked abroad a lot. How did it impact your career?

It was hugely important for me. In the UK, I had the chance to learn from different cultures and to meet people I would have never crossed paths with in Italy. I learned a lot from the experience and the cultural background of everyone I worked with. It was very common there to sit at a table with people from ten different countries at once.

Is there someone you would like to collaborate with?

Actually I want to focus on my own brand now, because I did so many collaborations over the past few years – with Vogue, Illy (for whom I designed a coffee jar), Tempo. I even designed a new Barbie doll and a capsule collection for Silvian Heach.

What are your current projects?

From the 5th to the 19th of September, I’ll be opening a pop-up shop inside Rinascente in Milan, which should provide widespread visibility for the brand. I also have events – some cocktail parties, for example – scheduled at selected multi-brand stores that carry my products. Last but not least, in September I’ll also have my regular show in Milan: I’ll be presenting my new collection – lively, light, and inspired, as always, by nature.

Is there someone in particular you would like to thank, for teaching you something over the past few years?

There are so many people behind a project like mine, and I would want to thank each one of them: my press office, the manufacturers who make my products, the people at “Vogue” for their support, and all the agencies that helped me out. In fact, I still need a lot of help to really emerge as I want.

Interview by Barbara Palladino

©  Piccione Piccione

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